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?


Benjamin’s // 2003


Benjamin’s // 2003


Benjamin’s // 2003








Benjamins-6 Benjamins-7  Benjamins-9


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Benjamins-22 Benjamins-23 Benjamins-24 Benjamins-25 Benjamins-26  Benjamins-28 Benjamins-29 Benjamins-30 Benjamins-31 Benjamins-32 Benjamins-33

Fox-6  Fox-8  Fox-10  Fox-12 Fox-13

24 thoughts on “What happens when the cake is gone and everyone stops cheering?

  1. Wow Jess, that posting brought me out of the doldrums of a cold rainy day as we are driving east across Indiana.
    Yes, the Benjamin’s are a special place. I hope to be there again. Love, M&B

  2. As the mother whom you ignored in 2003 and the same who fed you sugar cubes in the Benjamins, this post makes me laugh and cry simultaneously! When the cake is finished, may you be happy… there’s lots of other sugar cubes waiting for you!

  3. Beautiful writing, again. Loving every minute of reading about your journey. I also am reluctant to have it end 😦

  4. Your writing has matured beautifully. It’s been a delight to follow you thru the journey. As for happiness, you will make it so, it is what you carry inside. You’ve had a knack for creating happiness and I’ve no doubt that it will be sugar or sugar free. Keep writing!

      1. Are you kidding? You two are amazing and your writing is a cut above. You are the 24/25 year olds I WISH I could have been. I admire you both so much, I could really go on and on and on but I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. I’m flattered that you think I am “well established” but you are most certainly selling yourself short. Yes. We should meet. I will bring wine. 😉

  5. This may be your most thoughtful and well written post yet. Having some time abroad in my late 20’s teaching English, I can relate to the sentiments you mentioned above. You hear endlessly from everyone how cool it is what you’re doing, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that cool. Sometimes it just feels like you’re wasting time. Unfortunately it gets a little worse when you get home. You’ve done and seen so much and while your network of friends, family, and acquaintances all inquire “how was it? is it good to be back?” you feel that a few simple questions don’t really capture what you’ve experienced and learned. It’s a little lonely. The world is a lot faster and you may have a hard time getting back into it. But you will. And your experience, be it a dream or memory, will never leave. You’ll draw on it forever, whether casually mentioning it a dinner party which will make you the coolest person in the room, or when you’re alone and you need some reassurance that you “can do” whatever it is that you’re facing at the time. When the cheering stops, you will be happy, I guarantee it.

    Oh, I know the Brittany from the comment above. Yes, you should meet her.

  6. Great post and pic’s. In my early 20s I was a yacht captain working for various people. I ran the ICW between NY and FLA many times and loved it. Now in my 50s I am longing to do it again but life and all the responsibilities that come with it get in the way. Both of you are smart and lucky to have done this at a young age and you will draw on it for the rest of your lives as I have.

    S/V Belles Filles

  7. Just found your blog this afternoon, a blustery grey day in the Mitten. Looking forward to reading more posts and adventures!

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