KATIE & JESSIE on a boat

aboard lovely Louise…


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Will there be a book???

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Katie and I took on the Chicago Boat Show a few weeks back and I was blown away at the interest thats been shown in our adventure and in The Great Loop. When I was finally accepting that all of this was over… being able to do presentations and continue to talk to others about how they can do it too, reminded me that it’s not actually over at all. In fact, it’s like we are starting all over again – same subject – different classroom – kind of thing. Huge thank you to the incredible Bob Bitchin and his beautiful wife Jody of Cruising Outpost Magazine for hosting us.

To be honest, it was frustrating at first to talk non-stop about something that you did – versus something that you are doing… which sounds kind of ungrateful.  I didn’t like hearing myself talk about myself. Kind of like that drunk guy at the end of the bar rambling about something legendary he did 30 years ago, no one cares, and no ones listening. While we were traveling, in the midst of it all, talking about it was appropriate and in context; Two haggard girls pull up to a dock in a tiny sailboat with dog – easy conversation starter. People asked, we told. Two regular girls pull into the city in a Honda Accord, in clean clothes with dog – boring. But people still asked, and we still told. What I am saying is, I never expected to continue to talk about my life in past tense as often as it was talked about while it was happening. I never expected to be able to light a match under a few people’s asses hot enough to send them boat shopping and Great Loop researching. I never expected my voice to be the one speaking in a huge silent room full of people. I never expected to be capable of impacting anyone, having answers to their questions, or helping them get one step closer towards their dream. This entire time I have been looking for that impact – to be hit by a flaming meteorite revelation telling me exactly who I am and what I am supposed to do. I have been looking for answers to my own questions. I have been looking for the person who can get one step further to my goals. And for just a moment, I felt I could be to others – what I have been looking for for me. Like a stupid kitten chasing my own tail… I stopped running in circles and looked up. Am I making any sense what so ever? Sorry if this is getting confusing. What I am trying to say, is thank you. Thank you to everyone who came out to listen, to ask, to support,  and to encourage.

For months the infamous question has been “Whats next?”

Followed up by “Will there be a book?”

And for months my answer has been “I don’t know”

Followed up by “I don’t know” While I silently throw F bombs around in my brain for not having an answer.

I mean really? I’ve had over two years of sittin and thinkin on a boat and all I can come up with is “I don’t know” ?!?!?!?!?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

The answer itself has been spelled out in front of me every time I’ve read it, and I am just now seeing that it’s simply been a word puzzle. You all have just been messing with me, haven’t you?

QUESTION : “What’s next?” Will there be a book?”

ANSWER : “What’s next? There will be a book!”

All I had to do was  switch around the “will” and “there” to “there” and “will” while swapping out the question mark with an exclamation point. And there ya have it, WAM BAM THANK YOU MAM.

“There will  be a book.”

Geez. My apologies for taking so long to see the writing on the wall. If you continue to be patient… and I mean really patient, there will be a book. Stubbornly I do not like asking for help, and will reroute myself in many inconvenient ways to avoid asking for it. But I’m going to suck it up – I am going to ask for help.  Because for this project I will need it. There are several things you can help Katie and me with to support us in the book publishing process:

1) Attend our next presentation – open to the public TOMORROW Feb 5th, at 7:45 at the Elks Club,625 Bay Street, Traverse City, MI 49684  (TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS)

2) Listen to our live podcast Friday, Feb 6th at 10:00 AM here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/aglca  If you miss it, listen to the recording after-the-fact at that same site, or download it from iTunes. Just search AGLCA on iTunes to find it. (TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS) 

3) BUY A T-SHIRT ALL PROCEEDS FUNDING THE PRINTING/PUBLISHING/DISTRIBUTING OF “THE BOOK” (we don’t know what it’s called yet any suggestions?) T-shirts are hand printed by Katie Smith at Michigan Rag CO. (TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS)

Your support is everything. Without it my answer remains “I don’t know” But with it I confidently say “There will be a book!!!!!!!!!”

The ball is already rolling, but it’s heavy, and I need help pushing it.

Thank you : ) Email me with any questions… comments… complaints or whatever ya got. Jesszevalkink@gmail.com

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www.jessietakespictures.com


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PRESENTATION TIME

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PHOTOGRAPHY // ABBEY MOORE

First of all, a huge thank you for all the positive feedback we’ve received after finally posting the “homecoming” post… which clearly I had been avoiding. And I mean it when I say HUGE thank you… HUGER than the two silly words “thank” and ” you” could ever express. And yes, I know “HUGER” is not a word. But you get it.

To everyone we met along the way… to every one who leant a hand, to everyone who has shared our story with others… and to everyone who completely randomly stumbled upon this blog. Receiving emails from strangers who had never heard of “The Great Loop” and who are now interested in traveling it, is fantastic. That is my whole purpose here, re-introducing this adventure to my generation, and to those who never even knew it existed. It is possible. If Katie and I made the full circle without sinking a boat, trust me, so can you.

Second of all, I bring to you exciting news… we are doing a presentation on our adventure for the very first time Tuesday, Jan 13 at the Glen Arbor Township hall 7:00 PM !!!!(Leelanau County, MI). Condensing two years into 30-45 minutes is an adventure in itself. Quite frankly we are tempted to just tell silly stories until you are all baffled that the two of us actually came out alive. Weaved in with some of our best and worst of days, you will get a clear over-view of the logistics… with time to ask us those questions you have secretly been wanting to know. Lets go ahead and get two questions out of the way that no one ever dares to ask…

“Where did you go to the bathroom?”  –  A bucket.

“Did you ever get bored and kiss?”   –  Seriously? No.

The Glen Arbor Women’s Club is hosting us, and it would be so great if you could join. HOWEVER, if you can’t, there is yet another opportunity to listen in the following weekend at the Chicago Boat Show! Look for us at the “Cruising Outpost” booth.

CHICAGO BOAT SHOW (McCormick Place, downtown Chicago)

FRIDAY 16TH :

Cruising Outpost booth 6:00-7:00 PM

SATURDAY 17TH:

Cruising Outpost booth 1:00-2:00 PM

Seminar Room 2:15 – 3:00 PM

 

Email me with any questions jesszevalkink@gmail.com

SEE YA’LL THERE!!!!!!

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WE DID IT!!!!!!!

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Katie, Reggie, Louise and I completed America’s Great Loop on September 4th, 2014. Crossing our wake just north-east of Northport Point, my stomach was in knots as I processed that it was the last day. I didn’t write in my journal for 5 days because I was having a hard time understanding what I was actually feeling, I was drawing blanks. It’s been nearly 4 months and I am still unsure If I can find the right words, hence my reluctancy to write this post. From the moment I got home, I stopped writing, I stopped reading, I stopped looking at the clouds, I stopped appreciating where I was, and suddenly 4 months passed and I don’t think I have accomplished a thing. Today is the last day of the year, and the first day I am realizing that it is is all in the past. Mission complete : )

I thought it would be fun to reveal my very first, and last journal entries

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This photo was the morning we left Northport, fueling up and saying our goodbyes. We look like babies.

September 4th, 2012  // Leland, MI

“Sitting on the dock in Leland. Cannot figure out how to start this journal for the life of me, I’ve never been one to write. English was my least favorite class. Last Fall Katie and I decided to buy a boat, and sail it to the Bahamas. Today we left. And for some reason, I am more relaxed right now than I have been all summer. I am happy. I wonder if it will last. Reggie is eating flies. Katie is fixing our amateur dock-line situation, Ben and Tucker are grilling us a bass dinner. This is the beginning. I have zero answers to my millions of questions. I don’t know where we will end up, or if we will ever make it home. I don’t know how we are going to make money. I am impressed we even made it here today without hitting something. The only thing I know is that I have a new home now, and it sails.

When we rounded Northport point and I took the last look at my little town, the only thing clear was that I haven’t a clue what I am doing. But I am okay with it. I know we will be okay. I know we will mess up. But it’s okay. In two days we will be in Muskegon to un-step our mast and cross to Chicago. As much as I am looking forward to Katie and I being on our own, and figuring things out together, I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to Ben – who will be getting off the boat in Muskegon. I don’t know when I will see him again. I don’t expect him to wait. If I linger on the subject it makes me queasy.

Quickly we are becoming resourceful. Peeing off the stern to save room in our holding tank, and trapping bugs by duct taping them to the ceiling.  The return fuel line even popped off and diesel was everywhere in the engine room. Ben fixed it before I even registered what the problem was and when he asked me what I would have done if he wasn’t there I said ‘ Shit. I don’t know.’

This is fun. I wonder whats next.”

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Angry skies on our last leg home.

September 2nd,  2014 // Sturgeon Bay, MI

“I’ll never forget this day.  I have given up. I’m crumbling like a stale muffin. Screaming like a boiling tea pot. Mother nature does NOT want us to make it home, she has dictated every decision we have made as incorrect. With 34 miles to travel from Mackinac to Beaver, we left the harbor knowing it wasn’t going to be a pleasant ride. At this point home is around the corner, if something goes wrong – I can call the wizard, even though he probably wouldn’t answer the phone. Every degree we turn the wind follows, every tack we make is pushing us backwards. In 8 hours, the Mackinac Bridge is the exact same distance behind us. When we passed underneath the structure, it was magnificent. Now I just want it to go away. By 7 pm we give up, darkness is closing in, Beaver Island is too far. A mushroom cloud is taking over half of the sky. Its been creeping on us all afternoon and at this point we are being stalked. The wind continues to increase nearly stopping us in our tracks. We divert to “Sturgeon Cove”.  The change of course lays Louise on her side and we fly forward moving the same speed as the storm clouds. We can’t outrun them anymore. The sky has turned Mammatus, my favorite of all clouds, although it represents nastiness. We set anchor in the cove, which is not at all a cove, exposed in every direction but one. In the cockpit I am stiff, perplexed – I am done. Spending the a few days with our Mothers on Mackinaw was so comforting, I could taste home, making these last 3 days unbearable. I just want to be there. Right now is the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen, which is kind of making me angry. The sky has been raping us all day, and suddenly it wants to cuddle.”

I really had myself convinced I was over it, ready to be home, ready to move on. Over the last 4 months, it is clear to me that my frustrations were mistaken. I was only hating that it was all coming to an end. I spent two years figuring out my role on the water, and suddenly I had to do it all over again on land. I didn’t want to start over. I spent all my time thinking about what my life on land would be like once I got home, and now here I am spending all my time thinking about what my life would be like if I never came home. Reading back on this now makes me laugh. Sometimes things only make sense in retrospect.

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Two days later, we round Northport Point on a cloudy day wearing nothing but smiles. Well not really, we had clothes on. We knew the “dad’s” would be zooming our direction in the Pantera at any moment and kept a close eye on the horizon.  Katie’s phone rung, it was her Dad, “Hey girls, we broke down we gotta hop on the Mastercraft, but keep on coming.”  We found this hilarious and envisioned throwing a line to the broke down “Pantera” and towing them back to the marina for our grand finale. I mean what are the chances that the dads break down on their way to welcome home their daughters? Silly question. The chances are good, very good.

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In no time, we spot 4 jackasses ( I say that with love ) hooting and hollering like teenage boys. My dad was driving the Master-craft at what looked like full throttle. We immediately start laughing so hard we’re crying. They keep coming towards us, and my Dad circles around so close to the cockpit he drenches us with spray. They were just as excited as we were, if not more. They were proud. We were proud. The moment was better than the one I had dreamt up in my head since day one, instantly erasing any negative I had ever felt. We did it.

WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We did it.

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To my readers… thank you for coming back time and again. You are the our greatest source of encouragement.

There is so much more I have to say.

So many people to thank.

This blog is not over yet.

We have several presentations coming up this month, and I will keep you updated on the when & where.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

 

WE DID ITTTTTTTTTTT!!!!

 


22 Comments

No wonder men have such a hard time understanding women.

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 FOX ISLAND // AUGUST 26

“My Imagination doesn’t run wild like It used to. Last time I was here I pretended this rock was my castle, and when I got bored of that I played “animals” with my sister. Now, I’m laying here with my headphones in, feeling like this is completely normal – as if it were my own back yard. Mostly trying to understand how it took us nearly two years to get here.”

“I couldn’t sleep last night because I lay in bed writing a book in my head until it kept me awake so long I had to pick up a real one.”

“I’ve noticed I avoid putting extremely honest words on paper. If I don’t write them – I don’t feel them.”

“There are only three boats anchored here. OH, probably because the wind is hauling ass out of the one direction the books specifically advise you NOT to anchor here in. If sketchy, rocky, windy, and rough channels don’t scare us anymore, I am unsure what does. Not even the spiders we share this house with, the snakes we share our bath with, or the poison ivy we share the woods with.”

“Going home. That’s what scares me.”

 

ENROUTE TO BLIND RIVER // AUGUST 27

“Pissed. I have never been so cold. Neither of us have any more layers to put on. I can’t wait to crawl into a warm home. 2.5 knots into a 15 knot head wind. Why are we even trying? We should turn around. But the thought of backtracking drives me insane. Bad attitude today.”

“We spend the morning whining and bitching, which ultimately made it hilarious because we both know that we don’t have a damn thing to actually whine or bitch about.”

“We tacked back and fourth until were got so frustrated we full throttled dead into the wind and waves to make it to Blind River. We are so stupid.”

“My face is burning. My finger and toes and are in the de-numbing tingling phase. I am done.”

“Katie got so pissed at me when we walked into the town of Blind River. She is scary when she is pissed, and not worth arguing with. It all had to do with “who had the right directions to get into town.” She thought she was right, I thought I was right, and when I was trying to make light of the situation she said she didn’t want to talk about it anymore. But the way in which the words came out of her mouth, “I don’t want to talk about it anymore” was like a gun shot to the chest. We can’t get along all the time. This is the final stretch. We are bound to break at some point”

 

AUGUST 28 // EN-ROUTE TO AMERICA – CROSSING THE NORTH CHANNEL

“TODAY. IS. A. NEW. DAY. LETS. START. OVER.”

“The sky is icy blue, not a cloud in it. The breeze is on the nose again but no stronger than I could push air out of my own lungs. We are both dressed like we are about to go flying down a ski hill. If I close me eyes I am on a chairlift, but I left my mittens at home.”

“We don’t sleep anymore. We have become goo brains whose minds are running marathons through deserts, mountains, and valleys and apparently Great Lakes.”

“Only a matter of hours until we cross the imaginary line that separates two countries.”

Patrick is driving today. I am so cozy in the cockpit after bringing my entire bed outside. Both of us have a book in hand, and feel the need to be nowhere else. If I am not okay with anything, it is that I have spent my last days unable to talk myself out of a crappy attitude. Look at where I am.”

“I think every day that I write I contradict myself. I make no sense. No wonder men have such a hard time understanding women.”

AUGUST 29 // DRUMMOND ISLAND

“The customs man showed up in his combat boots and gun on his hip. If not for his costume he would come across as a very nice man, but the suit beefs him up to be a tough action figure. He didn’t go anywhere besides the cockpit. I was nervous he was going to inspect the plumbing. It’s been broken for some time. If we were to get hit with a ticket for that, it’s on me because I am technically the plumber in this here house.”

AUGUST 30 // DE-TOUR, MICHIGAN

“Less than 100 miles from crossing our wake and we are stuck in a town called DeTour, Michigan. How Ironic” – Katie

“Lake Huron was not welcoming this morning. The waves grew larger. The rain fell harder. The wind wanted us to stay in Canada. We were in no mood to experiment.”

“Every once and a while we make good decisions. Like to tie up here in DeTour. A thunderstorm kept us wide-eyed and wired for 4 hours and the thought of being anywhere but here was disturbing. It’s the loudest and most intense thunder I have heard since being in the Bahamas. Thunder crackled so loud I felt like I was laying inside an egg shell that could crack open at any moment.”

“Our goal is to make it to Mackinaw Island by Monday, where we will meet our mothers who will arrive via ferry. We have two days, and it looks as though a weather window will get us there with ease. I have not seen my Mom since Christmas. Enough stuff has happened between then and now it feels like years.”

“We were on 7 & 4 news last night in Michigan !!!!! What?!?!?!?!”

 

AUGUST 31 // LES CHENEUAX ISLANDS – MICHIGAN

“Docked in Cedarville next to Uncle Dave and Aunt Connie. How wonderful it feels to reunite with these friends who helped us get ready for this trip since day one. I love them. Now I truly feel close to home.”

“Mother nature was so bi-polar yesterday. Waves. Rain. Fog. Sun. Heat. No rain. No clouds. Flat water. More rain. More waves. And then sun again. Mother Nature and I are on the same level – all over the freakin place.”

“At one point today we cruised at 6 knots, sails up, calm glassy rollers pushing us forward, warm air and sunshine. And for a moment, I never wanted it to end. I knew where I was, I knew who I was, I knew exactly what I wanted. It has been a long time since I had that feeling, I forgot it could exist.”

“The rain started falling. Hard. But it was warm rain. I turned the music up louder as the rain fell harder. I loved every drop.”

“Tomorrow, we get to see our MOMMIES !!!”

 

SEPTEMBER 1 // Mackinac Island

“We sailed into Mackinac at the exact same time our Mothers came flying in on the ferry. When we saw the ferry coming we turned around to parallel them. The moment we spotted two little ladies jumping up and down in the top deck flailing their arms, Katie and I both started jumping up and down laughing and crying at the same time. Within seconds the wake of the ferry rocked us so hard we both fell over and disappeared into the waves and laughed even harder. It never crossed my mind I might cry when seeing my Mom after all this time – but obviously her being there meant more to me than I realized. ”

“Only three days left.”

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We won a Grammy.

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HI YA’LL. Katie and I have been nominated twice for the “Liebster Award” by alwaysgoblog.com as well as sailingwanderer.com. This is an award granted to bloggers – from bloggers. A fabulous way to share stories, and get connected. Helping promote each others blogs goes to show how the cruising community extends a hand on and off of the water. Thank you to everyone who has shared our site with others. Having this blog through our travels connected us with so many people we wouldn’t have otherwise been connected with. The power of the internet is so insane it kind of creeps me out (in a good way) LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVE – spread it.

So here’s the deal. The person who nominates you asks a series of questions. In return, you nominate other bloggers and ask them a series of questions.

 

QUESTIONS from CECELIA POTTS of alwaysgoblog.com

What do you tell people when they tell you they, too, have always wanted to live on a sailboat? It’s not as charming as it seems. But I’d encourage it. I wish more people – young people – wanted to give it a try.

The one cruising memory that comes to mind when you’re looking out an airplane window is: 

What keeps you awake at night when you’re on the boat?  Well my ex-boyfriend of course. Accidentally touching feet in the v-berth. Nightmares of life on land. The halyard smacking the mast. The anchor chain. The rocking. The rotted bulkhead creaking. Water bottles rolling around by my head. The temperature anytime it’s not 72 degrees… so pretty much everything.

Dumbest thing you’ve done (or are still doing) on the boat? TRY TO BE A PLUMBERThere are honestly too many to count. I hit several rocks in Canada. I am a hot mess when it comes to fenders, throwing lines, tying knots, and righty-righty/lefty-loosy concept.

Any books or movies that one must simply binge on that highlight the cruising experience? Katie, could you please enlighten us?

Boats are small spaces. How do you you regain peace after a small battle with your crew? Hahahahaha. The answer is simple – don’t battle. Not enough space for karate. You are nothing without your crew. You need them. Compromise. Agree to disagree. If you are single handed – you are superhuman.

Do you have tan lines? At one point, we could both be completely naked and anyone nearby would assume we had bikinis on. Currently I am all one color – white, like, whiter than Caucasian.

What would you do if you had monkey butlers at your disposal for a day? I do, her name is Katie. Kidding. That monkey would deliver me answers every time I have a question about something… which is all day everyday. They would also be diesel mechanics.

What surprised you most about choosing this lifestyle? How little one needs to be happy.

What’s next? If I knew I probably wouldn’t tell. It’s a surprise – even for me.

 

 

QUESTIONS from BILL REGAN of sailingwanderer.com.

Why the heck do you want to live on a boat anyway? Because it’s much more challenging than living on land. When I am on land I can’t help but think about how easy everything is. Boat life toughens you up a little bit. Just getting groceries is like solving an equation, but on land – it is a brainless activity. If you abide by mother natures rules, and if you are patient, there is no greater freedom than living aboard.

What is your favorite meal onboard? Can of Trader Joe’s turkey chili with lots of srirrachaand salty tortilla chips, followed by several pieces of chocolate and a warm beer.

What is your dream location to cruise? Honestly, my back yard. The Great Lakes are amazing, and I am proud of them.

What’s been the funniest moment onboard?

If you could give one piece of advice to newbie cruisers, what would it be?  The less things you have, the less things you have to break. Don’t be scared of sharks, there are more sharks on land than there are in the sea. Make mistakes – they are the greatest part of your story. If you are the kind of person who refuses to ask for help (cough cough, calling most men) get over it – go ask for help. If you are the kind of person that has a hard time parting with all of your things (calling most women) get over it – leave it behind, it’s probably unnecessary. Oh and crying is allowed.

 

I NOMINATE the LIEBSTER AWARD to the following:

KEVIN DE REGT  thederegtory.wordpress.com – Hillarious writer. Single handed 25 year old doing America’s Great Loop before heading back to Dartmouth for his masters. Buy this kid a drink and feed him a hot meal if you meet him on his travels okay?

DAVID ADOLPHS tusitalasailing.com – An friend who made his dreams reality, and has sailed to the other side of the world. So happy for him.

AMY & MARY lakemichiganinadugout.blogspot.com/p/expedition.html- two bad ass chicks who hand made a canoe and sailed the perimeter of Lake Michigan –  I KNOW, AND YOU THOUGHT WE WERE CRAZY. http://vimeo.com/57895612 AMAZING.

 

If you weren’t on this adventure, what would you be doing?

What question do you hate answering the most?

What question do you wish more people thought to ask?

What was the dirtiest job you have been faced with?

What did you bring on your trip that you later realized was ridiculous?

Describe a moment when you wanted to quit.

Whose boat do you secretly wish you could hop on to travel with and why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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CAPTAIN KATIE

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Can we please have a round of applause for our new captain,  who is not only a deep sea fisher woman but has just completed her US COAST GUARD MASTERS CAPTAIN LICENSE ! ! ! The most common question we got traveling aboard was “Who is the captain?” In which we laughed and said both of us. Truth is that yes, I was the one driving most of the time, but when it came to decision making, problem solving, navigating, statistics, logistics, and pretty much everything required to get from A to B, Katie ran the show. The captain of a ship is not just the person at the helm, it is so much more than that – Captain Katie everyone ⚓ hire her today, or at least buy the woman a drink. Proud of ya MA.

Back in the day… before either of us knew a damn thing about captaining or plumbing… and our toilet was broken… we figured it would be a better captains chair than a toilet anyways.


24 Comments

What happens when the cake is gone and everyone stops cheering?

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The Benjamin’s // North Channel, Canada

8 . 24. 2014

Tucked into boulders of pink granite, out of the wind, out of this world.  Few boats are anchored around the corner, but here in our own natural harbor, it feels as if we are the only ones. I lie on a sprawling rock, so smooth it seems to have melted this way. I never thought I would hear myself think this but for the first time in a long time, the heat of the sun feels incredible. I myself might melt into this rock and stay here forever.  I love today equally as I loved the day we arrived in the Bahamas. The only difference are the things I have learned to love, and those I have learned to hate.

Do you ever confuse your dreams with your memories?  Sitting here right now, is real. But it’s only a matter of time until what is real becomes a memory, and not much longer after that until I’ll swear it was just a dream. The soles of my feet are torn up from running around barefoot, climbing rocks, and crouching in peculiar positions to avoid spiders. I found a beautiful black feather, a frog prince, marble sized eight legged creatures, a raspberry patch, neon green moss to sink my feet into,  an otter residency, and a water snake. A dense web stopped me dead in my tracks millimeters before my face broke through it’s camouflaged dinner plate. Quiet from the moment we anchored here, Katie and I have spent the day exploring alone.  Taking in our surroundings individually, it is this place we have looked forward to most. To think that I grew up sailing to this land with my family puzzles me. I haven’t been here since I was 14 years old. But this time I am 25, and somehow I made it here with the same friend I got in most trouble with as a kid.

All of this is almost over. If I think too hard about it I could cry. If I don’t think too hard about it I smile at the thought of the people I am going to hug, a place to do handstands, vegetables, driving around in my truck with the music turned up loud. I don’t enjoy driving Louise long hours like I used to. It wasn’t long ago I had no problem tuning out at the helm, spending hour upon hour in silence, a stream of thoughts as entertaining as watching a Netflix series. I can barely stand to sit in silence with myself at this point. I am sick of thinking about the same shit all day. The same senarios, the same conversations, asking the same questions I continue not to be able to answer. I am almost home, but with more questions now than I had two years ago. I am irritated with how hard my brain works and how little it accomplishes. Where is the “off” switch? Staring at the clouds helps. They are constantly changing. I have become obsessed with them. They are saving me.

By sunset we mounted Bill (outboard) on Bonnie (dinghy) and explored the Benjamin’s with the sexy whine of gasoline feeding into the motor. The smell of the exhaust itself is nostalgic. We turned into children after the silence of the day. Pointing out familiar rocks; ones we jumped off, ones we slept on, the place we tried to brand ourselves with a metal s’more stick, and the woods we ran around naked with nothing on but hot pink crocs. Based off old photos we haven’t changed a bit. Besides not having braces, and over plucking my eye brows, my boobs haven’t even grown. Katie still wears the same hemp bracelet she had on last time we were here. She is still the same distance taller than me, and still one of the weirdest people I know. It was temping to pierce each others ears with a safety pin just for tradition, like we once had on the bow of my fathers boat when my parents were down below taking naps. I never really listened to my dad on his boat, I didn’t care about sailing. I didn’t pay any attention to my mom. I thought my sister was weird. All I wanted at 14 years old was to vent about the boy I thought I loved who was an asshole, only to hear my best friend tell me that I deserved better. I cared only about what was going to happen on friday night, and that I was getting my braces off that year. Here I am in the same place, feeling desperate to re-live that family trip as an adult. It seems like just yesterday I was in the galley begging my Mom for a sugar-cube, staying out of my Dad’s way when something broke and he stomped around trying to fix it, hiding jealousy from my sister when she got to learn how to motor around in the dinghy first. Now here I am living in my own fiberglass hull, feeding myself sugar in the galley, stomping around when something breaks, and hiding my jealousy when Katie and Reggie go for dinghy rides without me (not really) I cherish my moments alone.

This day seems to be shoving itself in my face with satisfaction and reluctance. Satisfied with every choice made that has gotten us here. Reluctant to figure out how to live any other way.  Like a fat kid eating cake, an entire auditorium is screaming to finish every last bite. No one wants the show to be over, not even the fat kid because he doesn’t know how else to live. Love it, every last taste. What happens when the cake is gone, and everyone stops cheering? Are you fat and happy? Or just fat?

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Benjamin’s // 2003

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Benjamin’s // 2003

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Benjamin’s // 2003

 

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