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.

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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.

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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.

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

 

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We Did It!

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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And tomorrow? We’ll see!

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.

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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.

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

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The living room is our cockpit.

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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.

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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.

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Still Learnin’

Last week, as we were out enjoying a lovely sail, the wind began to shift and pick up. We took one sail down and the wind got stronger, so we decided it was time to head back to the marina.

As my partner reached down and over to pull the cord to start the motor, a rogue wind caught the main sail and sent the boat onto its edge. I was at the helm and the tiller flew out of my hand. I had the sudden image of my partner going headfirst into the water with me not far behind.

In my panic, I said some unprintable things very loudly, while he calmly reached over and let out the main sail. The boat righted itself with ease.

Under normal circumstances, I know to do that. But in the midst of momentary chaos, apparently my mind takes a leave of absence.

Guess I’m still learning! Aren’t we all?

And isn’t that the joy of living? So much still to learn 🙂

Sailing, sailing...

Sailing, sailing…