The last day on the Trent-Severn waterway and only one more nights’ rest before Lousie becomes a sailboat again. I can’t even call it a nights’ “sleep” because there hasn’t been too much sleeping going on these days. Just rest. I don’t know If I am nervous, or excited. What do they call that? Nervited?
Another gray day passes over, but not even dark skies can hide the superb landscape. Low stratus clouds sweep the tree tops. Leaves and branches dampen the blow so Louise can glide forward with ease through the wooded channel. Surrounded by large mossy rocks, blueberry bushes, and handcrafted cabins sitting cozily alongside trees, we wind around the channel towards the Georgian Bay. Each cabin makes me daydream of living inside one some day. The nervousness fades. A house… I wonder what that will feel like. I forget that I am shivering.
The water is deep with ambiguity, but black with clarity. The depth sounder dances over rocks and boulders far below, while cormorants are camouflaged for only moments until breaking the surface. If I focus on reading the depth sounder its inconsistency stresses me out. It reads as if we are floating over a mountain range. I remind myself to look up, focus on the channel markers. Katie and I refer to concentrating on “real life” versus “fake life”. Sometimes, like now, it is important to focus on “real life”. What can I see ahead of me? Below me? Beside me? What obstacles are visible? Other times, in a low-visibility situation or overnight passage, we rely on “fake life” AKA electronics, for navigation. Paying close attention to our Simrad chart plotter is often the only way to get from A to B safely. Most of the time, one of us pays attention to “real life” while the other monitors “fake life”. Now, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of our system considering we have run into many things, however we are still afloat.
For the first time, maybe ever, not having a shower has not been a problem. The fresh water provides us with a daily polar bear plunge. Frantically we cleanse. Surely it looks like we are swatting bees and running from a disturbed hive before one would assume “Oh, she is bathing”. Also, for the first time ever, it has been cold enough to not sweat through clothes and sheets. In fact, so cold that I think I have been wearing the same outfit for over a week. Undecided if I am impressed with my dirty laundry bag consisting of only underwear and socks, or if I am disturbed to know how infrequently I have changed my outfit. I justify this by the cold temperatures forcing me to wear everything I packed all at once.
Safety we’ve arrived in Penetanguishene just ahead of a nasty storm system that we outran by maybe an hour. After docking and heading to the nearest convenient store on foot, walking turned to sprinting as cold rain morphed into frozen pellets. It was hailing. Huh. We must be in Canada. Happy to be on land and off the boat, everything is dropping. Visibility, temperature, rain, and hail continue to fall. But not our spirits. Somehow we’re having fun, we’ve made it to the Georgian Bay. Alive.
Reuniting with fellow Loopers and waiting out atrocious weather, made it easy to put all boat projects on the back burner. Plus, Mark (Sparky) and Jo (JoJo) Simpson are not just any looper friends, they are family. Katie and I have been looking forward to this day since we said goodbye to them over a year and a half ago. Back in Fall of 2012, we met the duo at a “docktail” happy hour when Jo introduced herself as a spy, secretively revealing her gadgets one by one. A flashlight, a knife, and bottle of wine were not just items in the bottom of her purse, but tools to help her solve the latest mystery. I don’t think we even knew her name before she forever became”the Spy”. We spent a month traveling towards the Gulf of Mexico, laughing, bitching, drinking, eating, and rafted up to one another on the rivers. But mostly laughing. Katie is funny, she makes me laugh. But Jo has a way of making me laugh so hard it hurts. There is no couple on the planet comparable to Mark and Jo. It is a privilege to have friends like these.
Mark works at a marina in Penetang where we docked Louise and rented a crane to re-step the mast. When the rain decided to relax for one damn second, we hopped on the crane. With the help of Mark and Jo, we had enough limbs to handle the project ourselves. For 40 dollars, Louise became a sailboat again. A process that once had me stressed to the point of hives, was accomplished this time with grace, ease, and FUN…all adjectives I would have never deemed appropriate prior to this occasion. Gosh Louise looks beautiful. She can breath again. I can breath again.