Coast-34The feeling I get when leaving, is starting to become dangerous. By dangerous I mean great. I get so excited. Thrilled by uncertainty. A sense of awareness, verifying the control I have over my life. I am free. The satisfaction of putting plans into action when no one really believes you… better yet, never really telling anyone the plan and just quietly slipping away. I remained unattached, to everything in life but Louise. On this occasion (sailing away from Key West), I assure you, Katie and I both felt a heightened freedom. We didn’t need to talk about it, but we were both happy. The problem here is that “leaving” always feels right, it never feels wrong.  Will it ever go away? Will either of us ever stop?

Again, we fall into our roles. Katie and Reggie kayak to shore, she hauls up the anchor, she eats her cookies, gets out the books, the highlighters, and the trip advisor is in action. I check the oil, and start the engine. Followed by placing everything in the cockpit that I will need for the day. French press, water, ginger chews, sunscreen, sunglasses, a white shirt to cover the areas of skin I feel burning, hat, chap stick, a banana (bad luck on a boat, oops). I create a comfy spot on my new folding West Marine chair (Thank you Ellen!) and spend the day keeping us on course. Suddenly 10 hours have passed. We still haven’t changed out of our bra and underwear. We listen to the same playlist over and over. (We call this game, “Have you ever heard this song?”). We crank up the volume and obnoxiously singing louder with each round.  Katie has figured out our plan for the day/night, as well as having Reggie completely groomed. I am still glued in my chair, making sure I deliver us to the day’s destination without running aground.

We spent 40 miles sailing on the outside (Atlantic side) to Marathon. What? Yes. SAILING. Those of you who have kept up with our adventure know that we are not die-hard sailors. We are die-hard motor-sailors. We get shit for this. Neither of us care. We have our own way of doing things. You have yours. Don’t worry about ours. Sorry, I may have some pent-up aggression on this subject. Anyway… we were more than happy to have such an incredible sailing day. A consistent 17 knots, gusts up to 22, (Thank you Dave and Renee for our new hand-held, mechanical wind reader, we are obsessed with it. Life changing!) had us sideways for nearly 8 hours. The engine in “off” mode is a beautiful thing, and you could tell Louise was smiling, she was in her groove. Katie and I were even smiling as well, but it did reinforce our reasons for not being die-hard sailors.

It took every muscle in our bodies to keep pressure on the tiller, propping our bodies in a sturdy place to stay on course. Whoever wasn’t steering, was also using all muscles to keep themselves in one location. Louise is little, she is light, she gets pushed and shoved by the wind and waves forcing you to put up a fight. Normally, I have no problem driving 6  to 8 hours straight. On this day, Katie and I had to switch every hour. I can’t work out for that long. There was no chance of us going down below. Neither of us ate the entire day. Going to the bathroom off the stern was a challenge. Reggie was stressed out. Our rub rail fell off on the leeward side from being dragged in the water all day.  Everything that was “stowed away” was no longer stowed away. Our home now looked like it had barely survived a tornado. By the time we dropped the hook, we were exhausted. You get the point here. Don’t get me wrong, we were thankful mother nature provided us with a great sail. But when we laid down that night, we agreed that we would renin mostly vertical during tomorrow’s 50 mile day.

Part of Katie’s journey entails something mine does not. Taking care of a living being besides herself. Keeping Reggie healthy and happy. Meaning multiple times a day, no matter where we are, she somehow has to get him to land. For those of you who are new to this blog, Reggie is Katie’s dog of 7 years, and he refuses to go to the bathroom on the boat. I have seen this girl kayak Reggie to land in high winds, heavy rain, frost-bit mornings, and pitch black nights. She never once has asked me for help. No matter what kind of land mass or terrain, (even when it looks impossible) she finds a way to make it possible. After anchoring in Boot Key harbor, the three of us mounted our single person kayak,”Darbie”. It was after this long day of sailing… we were hot, hungry, and tired, and rather far from land. In search of an abandoned yard to let Reggie use as facilities, the three of us inefficiently headed for the shore.

Not too far out was a concrete slab slanting into the harbor, that looked like it had street access. A perfect Reggie ramp. When we got closer we noticed an old man’s eyes glaring at us from his yard.  The distance between us and him was getting smaller, his devilish eyes growing larger. We had a bag to pick up Reggie’s business and rope on the kayak we could use as a leash. All we intended was to tie off the kayak and walk around the neighborhood with Reggie. We drift up behind some bushes…incognito… but the ornery old man knows what we are up too. Reggie hops off and excitedly starts running around. We attempt to be quiet, and respectful.

“Don’t you dare shit in my yard! I will kill you! Get your dog off my f*&$ing property! GIT!”

Katie yells for Reggie. Reggie responds to her tone of voice and jumps back on Darbie immediately. We struggle to remain stable and up right between the three of us trying to quickly paddle away aboard a kayak made for one. I take responsibility because I was encouraging this location in the first place.

“I’m sorry sir. We are just looking for street access to walk our dog. We have full intentions to take care of it”. Fearing Reg would take a crap in his yard. Secretly wishing Reg took a crap on his feet instead.

“Tourists! Are you tourists? God damn tourists. Get off my property! Where’d you come from anyway?”

” We’re on that boat out there in the anchorage, the dog has been at sea all day, this looked like our best option. We will find somewhere else.”

By this point his wife comes out of the house. Both of them pointing fingers, screaming “Tourists!!!” They were incredibly mean, cruel, and passionately angry. I was sure one of them was going to fall to their death after exerting so much intensity towards us “tourists”. It was insane. I could not believe the words that were coming out of their mouths. If it were an episode of “The Real World” the entire scene would have been bleeped out from the cursing. I responded in silence. And from the bottom of my heart, I flipped them the bird while Katie paddled us down the next canal. I’ve never flipped someone off with so much zeal. In fact, I don’t think I have ever flipped anyone off in a serious manner in my entire life (except on the toll roads in Florida… when you drive through those cameras and they take a picture of your vehicle…and then send you a bill in the mail for driving on their roads…mmmm government… those cameras may have seen my middle finger on occasion. Like every occasion.) My middle finger was standing tall, flexed, fingers tightly crunched. It stayed that way until we were out of their line of sight.

I was thankful I went with Katie and Reggie that day. She would have been the only one being yelled at. I would have assumed she was being dramatic and embellishing  the story. But it all would have really taken place. I will never forget them. And surely, they will never forget us. If you are ever in Boot Key Harbor, and have to row a dog to shore…be careful, or at least be prepared to exercise the middle finger method.

Okay, I have a lot more to write about, but that is all for now. We continue to head north. It’s looking like we are northbound for the next 2 months at least. Until we stumble upon the Hudson River… and take a left -ish. The photos below are from a day sail we took aboard our dear friend Claude’s stunning sailboat. He was a great neighbor at Stock Island Marina. I already miss everyone that entered our lives in the Keys. A day to never be forgotten. Thanks Claude! Cheers to great friends. Coast-18

Coast-2 Coast-3 Coast-4 Coast-5 Coast-6 Coast-7  Coast-9 Coast-10 Coast-11 Coast-12   Coast-15 Coast-16 Coast-17

Coast-19 Coast-20 Coast-21 Coast-22 Coast-23 Coast-24 Coast-25 Coast-26 Coast-27 Coast-28 Coast-29  Coast-31 Coast-32 Coast-33  Coast-35 Coast-36

23 thoughts on “Goodbye. Again.

  1. I honestly can’t believe when people act the way those old bags acted. There is just no excuse for it. To scream “tourists” and not let a poor dog pee. You showed more restraint than I would have by only flipping them off. I would have let my dog go, cleaned up the waste and told them off. I might even have joined my dog and relieved myself on their lawn.

    I like this post and the thoughts on leaving. Thanks for sharing it.

    Fair winds,


  2. We just love it when we see a K&J update in our in box. Tis always a good read. Thanks!

    So, here is my view on mean or rude people. Think about what the couple who told you to “git” missed. They missed a chance to meet two people with a great adventure story. Imagine how much different their afternoon would have been if they welcomed you ashore, offered water for the dog and beer for the gals. They could have experience a story told first hand that most people can only dream about. They missed a chance to expand their own intellect with the gift of others. Now think about all of the other opportunities that passed them by in life because they have vulgar personalities. Aren’t you glad you are not them? Smile, it’s a good day to be you.


    Mark and Cindy – s/v Cream Puff

  3. That is a thankfully rare experience for cruisers to be forced to endure, and i’m glad it ended as well as it did. I sailed with some cruisers who sailed with their dog, whom they had even named their boat after, and nicknamed the ‘Admiral’. An adorable Jack Russell, whom they trained to do his business on an AstroTurf mat they put on the foredeck. They were multicurmnavigators, ocean passage makers, so it was a necessity for the dog to go on board and enroute. They can be trained, and he was no mere pup when he first set sail. Listen, if you happen to decide when you three get up this far north, to take a detour from the Hudson, and go down the East River- watch the tides carefully by Hells Gate- and into the Long Island Sound, I can promise you a much better welcome and hospitality from City Island on through all the great harbors on both sides of the Sound. Enjoy following your exploits. Sail on forever!


  4. Ahh! Great, it is going on. Don’t mind about the old people. They know that they die soon and that makes them grumpy. (I know what I am talking about) In my life i learned two things: Never trust in an old engine or in a pretty girl! While reading your blog I might change my mind about the pretty girls, but with the engine I can only whish you lots of lots of luck. 🙂 So sail on, it’s a long way to Laramie!

    1. What sailor worth his salt ne’er trusted in a pretty girl? I trust these two pretty sailor girls just from reading their blog. Sometimes, people can be pretty, inside ‘n out. Old people can get grumpier, however just like a well maintained old engine needn’t quit, they surely don’t have to be that way. You’d think those two living in the warmth of the Keys, would and could be far less curmudgeonly, inhospitable, grumpy, and idiotically nasty. Now I’m feelin’ grumpy ’bout those bastards too :). A Bronx cheer for the marathon key loony old coots.

  5. The real reason these folks are so crappy about poop, is because the old man got kicked outta’ the Walmart cuz’ his sphincter ain’t what it used to be (bad O-ring). He caused a “Code Brown” alert in the produce department when poo-balls started dropping outta’ his Bermuda shorts. Some folks pay-it-forward; this dude is just payin’ it backward because, well, he’s an Ass with O-ring issues! He’s probably Canadian.

  6. Unca Miltie, if you’ve ever been aboard a cruising sailboat from Florida through the Caribbean in winter, you’ll see the Canadian flags flying off sailboats generally outnumber any other nation by a faretheewell. And you have just offended all of ’em fer absolutely no good reason. I am sure those wizened and wrinkled, dark brown prematurely aged misanthropic canine hating malingerers in Boot Key , were not the least bit Canadian. Canadians woulda been sailing on their well appointed blue water cruisers, comfortably and happily hanging out in the southern sunshine.

      1. Eh, how was I to know. with knot a clew, eh? Thatssit. No more comment posting bout this fer me, seems I gotta apologize every time. Oops again.

  7. Hi Jess & Kate( & Reggie),
    Your conscious awareness of freedom and control over your own lives, destinations, destinies is brilliant — even though that awareness inevitably encounters reminders that not everyone thinks of life the same way. Well, too bad — you got it right!
    Uncle Jon

  8. I really enjoy reading your colorful days of adventure! Y’all are AWESOME! Stay safe, sane and have fun!

  9. Flordia is #1 in both boat registrations and the most mean-spirted in treatment of boaters. It’s a shame you had such a hassle with the hateful geezers, but be assured there are many more good folks in the ports ahead. Murph.

  10. The sense the two of you have of freedom and control over your lives is remarkable. The incident with Reggie and two crabby people was unfortunate, but it clarifies the difference between you and them: the boundaries of their lives shrunken to the piece of property they own.
    Take Care, Uncle Jon

  11. Hudson River aye? Good for you. Stock Island Marina and Key West wasn’t simply a destination but an experience. Glad we did it but glad we left when we did. Miss the Hog Fish Grill though. The INDEPENDENCE goes on the hard April 29th, not to be resurrected until November 1st. She took us 1,230 miles in her 3 months at sea and we can’t wait to go out (somewhere) again. Safe journey you two. And remember, “All who wander are not lost.”

  12. Hi Katie, Jessie (and Reg too!) I just want you to know I look forward to reading your blog every month. Even the simplest of topics ie: “Lists”, you make interesting. I also love all the pictures-which are of professional quality.
    Years ago, I lived on a 26 Pearson for a while off Captiva Island. I worked at a resort and eventually “grew up” and moved back to NJ where I obtained a great job. But I’ve always missed sailing and the “care free” lifestyle that you two seem to embrace. Keep writing and posting pics, love your blog!
    Wishing you a safe trip up the east coast!
    Bob G.

  13. I had an experience similar to you guys in Mobjack, VA, but no dog was involved. My wife and I were following instructions in an older book on cruising in the Chesapeake (Shellenberger, “Cruising the Chesapeake: A Gunkholers Guide”. There is an updated edition but we were using an older one) which suggested you could go ashore at this particular spot in Mobjack and people were super friendly. A friend of mine lived in Mobjack and we were going to surprise her with a visit. We went ashore in our little dingy but got cursed back out to the boat, in essence. I guess we were trespassers, but we didn’t know. Lucky we weren’t shot in retrospect. Anyway, don’t let it get you down, it is common.

    You guys have a lot more boat time than I, probably, but if you are feeling that much weather helm, you can probably adjust something to make the helm more neutral. You want a bit of weather helm, but if the tiller is wearing you out, you should probably adjust something. If your rudder kicks up, make sure it is full down, for starters. My boat gets impossible if the rudder inadvertently gets tipped up a bit; the center of pressure of the tiller should be (depending on your boat design) near to the pintles. If the rudder is kicked up on my boat, the center of pressure is too far back and I don’t have enough leverage. You can also adjust the centerboard (if you have a swing keel or retractable board) and the sail plan (not enough headsail will cause heavy weather helm). There are other things to adjust as well (like mast rake). Anyway, you guys probably know all this, but if not, look up “correcting weather helm”. A boat with heavy weather helm is NO FUN and would be miserable to sail for long. If you reduce this, you will enjoy sailing MUCH more. If I am being a busy-body, just ignore me.

    1. There are sail trim and other adjustments you can make to lessen weather helm, although some boats are just much more susceptible to it in a breeze than others. When I helmed a classic yacht with a tiller, it always demanded strong arms and hands on the tiller when close hauled in a stiff breeze, much more so than a wheel. If you can snuggly brace the position of your body to keep the tiller in it’s proper place, or tie it off if necessary with a quick release potential on a long tack, it may help. Or teach Reggie to learn to take a watch or two driving, he does have four paws after all. Woof. Happy sailing, a good day on the water still beats just about everything else. 🙂

      1. As I say, you would know better than I. It doesn’t make sense to me that a boat would be designed with so much weather helm. Why would that be? Just thinking out loud. Let me know if you have insight here. There is probably a good reason for it, but I don’t know it.

        I enjoy reading your blog. It is disappointing when someone is so unfriendly, but the world is full of all kinds and we are all going to meet some seriously unfriendly people eventually. Hopefully, the unfriendly people of the world don’t make it too miserable for the rest of us. Have fun.

  14. If I may, you shouldn’t have to fight that tiller so much. While it’s nice to have a little weather helm, the mention of you “using every muscle” tells me you could let out (or haul in) either the foresail or the mainsail, depending on the fight you’re experiencing.

    I enjoy reading your blog. It’s very well written and the photos are great!

    Oh, and “illegitimi non carborundum”!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s