Most of us have what Jimmy Buffett calls “that one particular harbor,” a place where we go in our dreams—and where the luckiest go in reality. It might be a mooring field or marina, a remote beach on a tropical island, or a rocky gunkhole on the back side of the next point. What it looks like or how far away it is doesn’t matter; what matters is that each of our harbors provides an idyllic escape from the daily grind.

This photo was submitted by repeat HW winner Andy Tofuri, but was not included since its location (the Annapolis Naval Academy) was too obvious.

This photo was submitted by repeat HarborWatch winner Andy Tofuri. It was not run in the contest since its location (the Annapolis Naval Academy) was too obvious.

In 2010 ran 34 HarborWatch photo contests, showing off the “one particular harbor” of many of our readers. Didn’t notice? Well that probably means you’re not one of the over 250 monthly users of the Facebook page, which is where the contest runs. A harbor-specific photo is selected and posted, with hints provided if the location is not identified by the readers over the next week or so.

Choosing HarborWatch photos is a tricky balance between too obvious and not identifiable; one lone palm tree bending over a beach may make us lust for a winter escape, but without further detail it doesn’t pin down a specific location. The photo above is an example of a photo that is too obvious in location.  Fortunately contributors have been generous in providing appropriate photos from around the world, making the contest truly global.

During the past year, 22 winners have earned a spot in the Harbor Hall of Fame—a photo album on the Facebook page. (The occasional repeat winner is moved to the “cover” of the photo album.) Though hardly a cash prize, this does contribute to a member’s fifteen minutes of fame with a highlight on the Facebook page, which has had almost 10,000 impressions even in the relatively slow month of December.

As 2010 draws to a close, we currently have two very different Harbor Watch contests (#33 and #34) still pending. The first 2011 contest will be posted next week. Come visit, take a guess or two, and if you’re right we’ll add you to our Harbor Watch Hall of Fame.

You can also cruise through all the past year’s locations by browsing our Harbor Watch Locations album.

Not on Facebook?  You can still access the page and look around, though you won't be able to post any comments.

Happy New Year, and I hope to see you on the water in 2011!

Carol Cronin