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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!!!!