What a Beautiful Morning!

IMG_20180805_084205.jpgOh what a beautiful morning! I woke up to the best possible news…a child has been born. My child’s child. My grandson.

The birth of any child is a miracle. When it is within your own family, your heart expands even wider with love to welcome this newest member into the fold.

Such joy! And heartfelt thanks for the safe and healthy delivery of this precious being into the world.

And so today, I offer this blessing to my new grandchild, and all other children in the world.

“May joy and peace surround you,

Contentment latch your door,

And happiness be with you now,

And bless you ever more.”

(Irish blessing)

 

Advertisements

The Pipes, The Pipes Are Calling

Have you ever been to a Tattoo? It’s a performance of marching military pipe and drum bands and features talented musicians as well as skillful marching choreography.

Lasy night we went to the Limestone Tattoo at Fort Henry.

IMG_20180728_182640.jpg

Just walking into the Fort, past the thick walls and down the steep slope across the wooden bridge was an experience of stepping back in time.

IMG_20180728_193343.jpg

A town crier dressed in ornate red and gold robes welcomed the audience. A cannon was fired to mark the start of the evening. And then the first two bands marched solemnly in through the narrow arch.

IMG_20180728_193626.jpg

Oh the music! The haunting notes of a single bagpipe in the night air can send shivers down my spine. When there are dozens being skillfully played along with the resounding boom of the drums, I am transported to the Scottish highlands of long ago.

IMG_20180728_201050.jpg

The finale brought all the bands – pipes, drums, flutes, bugles, brass – out onto the parade grounds together. As the sound of Amazing Grace echoed across the stone walls, I looked up to see the first stars in the sky above.

What a magical evening!

 

Post Navigandum

After any big event, there’s the letdown. So much energy has gone into planning and anticipating, the experience flies by in moments, and then…?

I don’t think we realized how many major life transitions we were going through in the months prior to the sailing trip. We sold our apartment and almost all the furniture, gave away books, paintings, clothing, and dishes, we both retired, and in the midst of it all, we were planning our grand sailing expedition.

IMG_20180727_130819.jpg

The weekend before the sale of the apartment closed, we made one more trip to the new place (about 400 km or 250 miles one way), the car jammed with boxes. Then there was one more trip to drop the car at the new marina so it would be waiting for us at the end of the trip, and a train/bus ride back to the marina where we would start our travels.

So lots to organize. Lots on our minds.

Now, the sail is history, part of our personal lore. We’ve had a few days to settle in to our home. And the question that keeps coming up is “Now what?”

The reality of being retired is starting to hit. There are no deadlines, schedules or routines¬† (even on the boat we had routines). We can do what we want, when we want, and while that’s a novel experience, it is going to take some getting used to.

IMG_20180727_113809_704.jpg

Friends who have already retired warned me that it’s an adjustment. I now recognize that, in spite of all the other changes we’ve gone through in the past month, retirement may be the biggest transition yet.

So far, we’ve been doing a lot of puttering, watching waves and clouds from different vantage points, and snapping photos of birds and butterflies.

IMG_20180727_130835.jpg

Hey, maybe it won’t be so hard after all!

 

We Did It!

Yesterday around mid-day, we motored into our new home port, our sailing adventure complete…for now.

IMG_20180723_110419.jpg

It was the best sailing of the whole trip and we made the most of it. Coming across the Outer Gap near Amherst Island, the swells were 3-4  feet but the winds were strong and steady enough that our trusty boat cut through them. What a ride! It was exhilarating and the perfect way to end our 17-day adventure.

The boat is now docked at its new slip but the adventure didn’t end there.

IMG_20180723_111949.jpg

After we packed everything into our car (it had been patiently waiting for us at the new marina), we headed home…only to hear a strange sound and see a warning light on the dashboard. Flat tire. A nail had punctured it.

So instead of going home or even getting lunch, we headed for the car dealership. Luckily they had the tire in stock. Several hours and several hundred dollars later, we were finally on our way home.

As I write, it’s pouring rain. Much needed given how dry everything is. Yet I marvel that, in the last two days of the trip, when thunderstorms and heavy rain were in the forecast, we sailed on, blue sky and sunshine above us the whole time.

May you find blue skies on your life’s adventures too!

IMG_20180722_171830.jpg

Decisions, Decisions

Do we or don’t we, that was the question of the day. All morning we checked the weather and debated.

We have four different weather sites that we look at. It’s rare for them all to agree. In fact, today, they were constantly conflicting. How do you make a decision when you can’t find anything factual to depend upon?

The rain started this morning, the winds were strong and gusty, and the forecast for the next three days includes thunderstorms and rain amounts between 15-30 mm per day.

We had a choice – stay put for three days, and be stuck inside a small boat while the rain pours outside, or take a chance and head to the next anchorage, halfway to our final destination.

We were stuck inside for only a few hours today and I was stir-crazy. It was hot and humid and we had to have the hatches closed because of the rain. So when the time came to make a decision this afternoon, we opted for heading out.

IMG_20180722_185731.jpg

As it turns out, the forecasted strong wind warning (winds 15-20 knots) was untrue.

The waves were minimal, and the winds were fairly gentle, dying right off by evening.

We’re anchored here tonight. In a calm cove.

IMG_20180722_194236

Tomorrow we have about 15 nautical miles to our final destination. There are storms forecast overnight and there is a brief window of clearing between 5 am and 9 am, but will we manage to wake up and get going that early?

Who knows? Tomorrow is another day!

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

This photo gives you the feeling that it’s a calm and relaxing day on the water, doesn’t it? This is a view of Picton Bay with our sailboat in the foreground. It was taken after we motored in this morning from our anchorage the previous night.

IMG_20180721_150955.jpg

What it doesn’t show is the whitecaps, strong gusts rippling across the waves, and the power of the wind sending our boat on edge even with no sails up as we made our way across the Adolphous Reach and into Picton Bay.

We decided at that point that we didn’t want to face those waves head on in the Reach to make our next planned anchorage. Instead, we have a slip here for two nights while we wait out the winds (and forecast rain and thunderstorms).

To give you a better idea of the extent of our sailing journey, here’s a chart of Lake Ontario.

IMG_20180721_181956.jpg

The pencil on the left shows where we started. The pen in the middle points to where we are now, and the pen on the right is our final destination…for now.

We’ve come a long way. And every sailor we meet is giving us new ideas for places to go, adventures to have, dreams to build upon!

Joy, Magic and Wind

Yesterday I didn’t post because so much happened. It was a fun day with much unexpected pleasure.

Belleville has an extensive bike trail system. Part of it runs along the lake and another along the Moira River, parallel to the main Street in downtown.

We followed the bike trail along the lake to the grocery store, past beautiful gardens, winding paths around lily ponds, and benches tucked under shade trees. On the way back, we stopped for ice cream.

Later in the afternoon and again in the evening for supper, we took the path along the Moira River, under overpasses, past ornamental grasses and tiger lilies, and over a cobblestone walkway into the heart of the town.

IMG_20180719_204454.jpg

Last night, we had the unexpected pleasure of being invited to sail on a dinghy – an international class 420 dinghy to be exact. It is quite a different experience from our boat. It’s small, basic in structure and very responsive to the wind. It was a lot of fun.

IMG_20180720_092057

And before bed, we were treated to an impromptu concert. One of our new sailing friends sang Celtic songs while her husband played the guitar. To hear such lilting music as against the backdrop of moon and stars was pure magic.

Today was our longest day yet – about six hours en route. The wind was strong so we did get about 3 hours of sailing in, but it was coming almost straight at us so we had to tack a lot. Tacking is like zigzagging up a bay – much slower than going in a straight line. Eventually the winds became so strong, gusty and unpredictable that we decided to take down the sails and motor in order to reach our destination for the day.

IMG_20180720_154553.jpg

Tonight, we’re close to Picton, anchored off an island in a small bay.

IMG_20180720_191551.jpg

And tomorrow? We’ll see!

Brrrrr!!!!

The temperature dropped overnight to about 14C so for the first time in this sailing trip, we had to add extra layers. It’s always cooler on the water plus the wind was still strong (although it had veered to the opposite direction during the night).

Today was a motoring day because we needed to navigate buoys from Presqu’ile Bay, through the Murray Canal, into the Bay of Quinte.

IMG_20180718_103140.jpg

You need to be able to read the charts (maps) to understand which side of the buoys to avoid shallow water, rocks and weeds. You also need to know how to get safely in and out of harbours, and as you get closer to the St. Lawrence River, you need to know the direction and speed of currents and the schedule of tides.

Sailing is not just about putting up sails and heading off on the wind. There’s lots to know, always more to learn, and each day brings new challenges.

IMG_20180718_103954.jpg

One advantage to motoring is you get to enjoy the scenery. The Murray Canal is a long narrow channel with two swing bridges.

IMG_20180718_103908

We’d been told by friends that a man comes down as you pass by and collects the $5 fee by extending a basket out to the boat on a long pole. We didn’t get to see it though because the bridge is being replaced and was wide open.

IMG_20180718_105302.jpg

We followed the buoys into the Bay of Quinte, past Trenton and the airforce base, and saw the search and rescue aircraft practicing manoeuvres over the water.

Tonight we’re in Belleville and it’s another chilly one. A pleasant treat after so many sweltering days in the sun.

 

What Time Is It?

Being retired, and sailing, leaves us wondering what day it is and what time it is. Time seems to have a different meaning.

And then, at the Cobourg Marina, I saw this quote. It puts it all into perspective.

IMG_20180717_100848~2.jpg

Time is broken down into moments these days. Yesterday ended with this exquisite sunset.

IMG_20180716_204532.jpg

And today began with an early morning walk along the vast expanse of Cobourg’s beach.

IMG_20180717_083540.jpg

When we left the marina, there was a strong wind warning in effect…and no wind. After an hour of motoring, the wind changed direction, picked up and so did the waves. It was a rock and roll day with our boat hitting 7.7 knots (in the past, the fastest we’d ever gone was 6.3.) There were some edgy moments too, but we made it, as a team, and are now anchored in the shelter of a small cove for tonight.

IMG_20180717_154027.jpg

It’s never boring. Always an adventure. Even meals take on a whole new level of exploration…watermelon bruschetta!

IMG_20180717_175504.jpg

 

 

Life In A Tiny Home…On Water

Living on a boat, especially a small boat, is a lot like living in a tiny home. You learn to make do with less and everything has multiple purposes.

IMG_20180716_183926.jpg

The kitchen (called a galley) on our boat is a small L-shape. Barely enough room for one person so we take turns on cooking and dishes duty. Behind the tiny sink is the ice box (which we must continually replenish with ice and drain out the melted water). Beside that is the drying area for dishes. When not used for that purpose, the shelf comes off revealing a two-burner stove. Sailing is also a lot like camping.

IMG_20180716_184226.jpg

The dining room is a table that folds up or down as needed.

IMG_20180716_184451.jpg

The living room is our cockpit.

IMG_20180716_184409.jpg

And the bedroom is the v-berth at the bow (front) of the boat. We pull out those pillows, and the sleeping bags behind them, and there is plenty of room for two people to stretch out comfortably.

IMG_20180716_185753.jpg

The toilet is called the head, and it’s really a tiny closet with a tiny toilet and tiny sink. You don’t want to be claustrophobic…

It’s a simple life, eating light easy meals, picking up just enough groceries for a few days, doing laundry when you get to a sizeable marina.

Life is easy. Life is good.

IMG_20180716_180838_600