No wonder men have such a hard time understanding women.

home stretch


“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.”



“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”




“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.”


“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.”


“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?!?!?!?!”



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


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








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Chicken Noodle Naked.


A wonderful Canadian Man named Robert told us to come here. We wouldn’t have, if it weren’t for him.  On the map it looked pretty far out of the way. Katie and I are picky when we decide to go “out of the way”. PICKY is a silly thing to be when living aboard, because the whole act of cruising is choosing to go “out of the way”. Nothing is convenient and commonly the most magical places are found on the side streets. We took the side street. We found magic. And would have stayed forever if mosquitos did not drive us away from homesteading.

We have stopped caring about a lot of things that would normally be important. Like clothes for example. Besides the fact that our entire Canadian experience has been that of an Arctic exploration, any moment the temperatures are suitable for nudity, we are nude. I’ve become the designated fire starter although it is not my gift. Something about starting a fire naked feels more like a survival task than an I-am-in-Canada-on-a-cool-rock-and-there-is-a-fire-pit-right-there task. Therefor my desire for survival increases and I pretend my face is painted tribal and my warm clothes are not laying on a log behind me. Woman-make-fire-or-we-will-die. And POOF, there is a fire. In reality I am scrambling around breaking branches, swearing, and blowing on the base of the fire until I black out.

I wished the hike up to Lake Topaz was longer. Honestly I could have walked forever. Not even a mile up a muddy trail, I remembered what a good friend once told me; “There’s a difference between the ocean and the woods. The ocean doesn’t give a shit about you. It always wants to spit you out. But the woods, they care about you.  They seem to hold you in.” As I walked through the woods I thought hard about this. How being at the mercy of the ocean is first of all CRAZY, and second of all TERRIFYING. I have been on the ocean while it is literally choking on Louise like poison, without a care in the world that there are two innocent human beings aboard. When a storm comes through, nothing protects you but your own fiberglass haul.  When the ocean is angry, it is allergic to fiber-glass. I can’t say I have ever felt that in the woods. I of course have never spent time in the woods like I have on the water. However, the woods feel warm, like they enjoy your company. There is no anger. And when a storm comes, you feel protected, you are provided with resources for shelter. You could even make a tree house.

Quietly we hiked. It felt so good to get off the boat and be in a different kind of wilderness. In my mind I was thanking Katie for teaching me to appreciate nature like she always had. I have always thought it was beautiful, and loved being surrounded by it. But not until recently did I start thinking about my footsteps, making a point to avoid disrupting anything on the ground when it did nothing to disrupt me. Remembering not to pull leaves off trees or flowers off stems in the same way I walk through a department store and touch every item just to see how the fabric feels. Katie can walk through woods identifying trees, plants, insects, and birds. She could easily survive in the woods and probably should have been the designated fire-starter. But simply enjoying nature myself,  has done nothing to further educated me. Unsure if I could survive in the woods, but certain that I would like to learn how.

When we reached Lake Topaz there was a large banner stretching across the water that said “Skinny Dipping Only”

We must have come to the right place.

The cloudy turquoise water felt like swimming on a different planet. A Canadian planet I suppose. We were the only ones there stirring up the rested pollen at the surface, listening to Reggie bark at his own echo. It didn’t matter that it was cold. It wanted to stay. I wanted to portage Louise up to this little lake and let her float around like a rubber ducky, in her element but protected by the woods. I wanted to build a tree house. The lake my bath tub. Louise my lake house. The woods my neighborhood and the creatures my foreign friends. Over time we would all speak the same language.

Thanks Robert (Ursa Major II) for telling us about this place. Thanks Dave Welch for making me think differently about the woods. Thanks Katie for teaching me to truly appreciate nature. Thank you Reggie for always knowing which path to take. Thank you Louise for taking me places I never would have come. And thank you Trader Joe’s for your fabulous Chicken Noodle Soup.





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If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.


Over a stifling hot plate of sausage, eggs, and greasy hash browns we ate breakfast on a raining morning in Killarney. Next to us sat a man named Scott. A soft-spoken sailor, paramedic, and introspective man who knew how to have a good conversation. By the last bites of breakfast we were already discussing dinner.

Later that day the three of us sat in the cockpit of his sailboat “Juxtaposition”,  grilling green beans, pork, and peaches as we deeply discussed the idea of “spirit-birds”. It’s rare when a near stranger is capable of telling you what kind of person you are after a single conversation. We all live in our own worlds and sometimes it takes someone living in a different one to make you aware of personality traits you weren’t aware of to begin with.

Here is the theory – There are four spirit birds and every human represents one. You may represent a fraction of one, and a fraction of another but no matter what, you will always represent one more specifically. You are either a dove, a peacock, an owl, or an eagle. 

We discussed our lives, these four birds and which one we may represent. It didn’t take long for Scott to label me as an owl, and Katie a dove. This theory has stuck with me, and I firmly believe our friend to be right. I am and owl. Katie is a dove.



“The Dove encourages you to let go of your emotional baggage, so that true healing can take place. It’s time to forgive, make peace, release and move forward, enjoying a re-birth. And know that healing Dove is flying right beside you.”

A Dove could be letting you know that you need to simply stop and take a few deep breaths. Let go of the turmoil that is currently surrounding you and find peace within you. Know that what you see right now is reality shifting in ways you never thought possible and that what you are truly looking for is just around the corner. The most chaos happens just before your dreams come true.”

“She aids in tapping our creative energies and stirring up emotions.  Dove shows us how to walk between the physical and spiritual world.”

  • messenger
  • nurturer
  • intuitive
  • communication between two worlds
  • highly developed sense of sense of presence
  • intimately aware of environment



“The owl is a strong spirit guide for discernment and making decisions based on solid foundations. Call on the owl when you have to assess a situation or are going through confusing times.”

If an owl has silently glided into your life, she is asking you to face your fears and to listen to the messages being sent you. The owls power is nocturnal – year round”

“She teaches the power of silence and contemplation and the balance of waiting and acting.”

  • ability to see what others do not see
  • the presence of the owl announces change, or life transition.
  • capacity to see beyond deceit and masks
  • wisdom
  • power to extract secrets



 You are a person who always comes from a place of honor and integrity. You stand up for your beliefs and you live by them. You have a tendency towards flamboyance at times and enjoy showing your true colors to all those around you. “

“You are always willing to walk your talk. You revel in being the center of attention. Peacock attunes us to see the entire moment with no past or future and instills confidence and dignity”

  • all aspects of beauty
  • immortality
  • foundation of structure, and endurance of spirit
  • allows greater wisdom to be seen
  • rising out of the ashes with self-confidence



“Your light will shine if you only let it. Know that your higher self will only give you straight forward, positive and encouraging support.”

“Eagle people are seen as visionaries, those who are seekers and who are willing to push the limits of self-discovery and personal freedom. The eagle person is a born leader and may become impatient with those who cannot fly as high or as fast. Despite the fact that eagle will hold aloof or retreat to the skies, people will naturally gravitate to them. “

  • grace achieved by knowledge and hard work
  • knowledge of magic
  • strong and quick in action
  • ability to see hidden spiritual truths




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“Like two old men – We drank. We ate. We sat on the pot. We fell asleep.”

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Minutes have a way of warping themselves into hours when in an uncomfortable situation. Like silly putty, minutes are malleable. Time stretch is mental, but it can be so incredibly real that we can not fix it, leaving you to believe that yes in fact – the nipple hardening, and terrifying 20 miles through an angry woman eating lake took days – if not months. (It took 4 hours)

Waves crashed over the bow when they got bored trying to knock us sideways. Strong westerly winds had us horizontal in the small craft channel winding through rocks with teeth. The depth sounder was chucking random and inconsistent numbers at me. You know what they say about pods of dolphins? For every one that comes up, there are ten underneath. I believed this theory to be true with every exposed rock we flew by. And I’m serious when I say “flew”. Louise was flying at boeing 747 speeds (6 knots) through the most inappropriate and shallow, rock maze (Georgian Bay small craft channel). It was a disastrous scene, but Katie and I were so cold and wet, we just kept on flying.

Surrounded by white water, the waves crashed on nearby rocks when they weren’t crashing over us. The rain fell sideways – which doesn’t actually make any sense if you ask me.  How does rain fall sideways anyways? Oh yes, wind. Catastrophic scenes played in my head – The king sheet (genoa) ripping in half. The engine quitting and not starting. The rudder snapping. The tiller cracking. The keel bashing. You name it, I was thinking it. This was when minutes began warping themselves into hours. I knew it was a mind game, and I wanted to win. I wiggled my toes in my boots to stay warm. I did “high-knees” in-between waves to keep my blood flowing. We turned the music up louder, and watched the birds ride the gusts.

I swear we were in Alaska. My bones rattled. My eyeballs frozen still in their sockets. My hands purple.  Soaking wet and over it… one thing stayed on the top of our priority list… “Henrys Fish Camp” A famous fish and chip restaurant in the Georgian Bay only accessible by boat or plane. Turns out we happen to live on a boat. A tank in fact, that was charging towards fried fish on this glorious Canadian summer day. We arrived at Henrys’ to find out that most people don’t choose to go flying or boating in minor squalls and that we would be drinking a well deserved cocktail – alone.

Like two old men – We drank. We ate. We sat on the pot. We fell asleep. And thats what life’s all about.

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Sparky and JoJo

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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.

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big chute

I grew up going to Michigan’s Adventure, an amusement park in Muskegon, MI.  My memories of the park are vague, I don’t recall having any feelings towards my experience there.  No excitement, no fear, just ridiculously long lines for ridiculously short rides. EXCEPT, for one ride…. it was called the “Log Ride”.  I’ve never forgotten the “Log Ride” for it was the only one at the park worth the wait. Buckled into a piece of plastic shaped like a log, a water slide/roller-coaster combination had you cranking up steep tracks so slowly that you completely forget you are sitting in a plastic log. Once you reach the peak, and are pissed off because it took so long, you launch forward down an enormous water slide screaming as your stomach tries to jump out of your mouth. I remember leaving the park thinking how cool it was to have rocketed down a mountain in a log. Whoever designed that ride, really had it figure out… or had me figured out at least. Since then, I’ve been convinced there is no ride in existence that could top the “log ride”. Until, I found myself on the Trent-Severn waterway at lock number 44. Also known as the “Big Chute”.

The “Big Chute” is the only one of it’s kind in the world. The guide books have pages upon pages describing how it works and preparing you on how to enter the chamber. We have traveled through over 100 locks, but I admit to being slightly nervous about this one. I was hoping to watch several boats lock through first. Turns out, we were amongst a few of the first to arrive that morning. Louise was called over the loudspeaker to enter the chamber front and center. Slow enough to avoid damage, but fast enough to overpower the current, I stopped Louise as directed in the middle of large straps that wrapped around her belly for support. Resting on solely on the keel, and supported by straps, the carriage begins to move up the tracks, and out of the water. Four, 200 hp electric motors provide traction on a cable, delivering you from one body of water to another. The men operating the lock were as fascinated by our enthusiasm as we were by their jobs after asking if they were hiring. I suddenly remembered exactly what it was like to be on the “log ride”. Smiling ear to ear, Katie and I felt like little kids. We wanted to ride on the “big chute” over, and over, and over again and seriously considered asking the employees if we could just stay parked where we were. It was kind of… well.. amazing.

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Razor Throat


Just a few miles shy of the town of Trenton, in Lake Ontario, Louise was pushing forward bucking bronco style head into wind chopped waves. With the mast on the deck, I was completely focused on holding it in place with my eye balls. I swore with some kind of hocus-pocus my concentration would prevent the mast from flying off the deck. Pretty sure it was working. But with my focus on the mast, and no where else, Katie was driving and she pointed out that suddenly… we weren’t moving forward any more. We had been holding a steady 3.5 knots throughout these final nasty miles. I looked down at our speed and surely, we were at a standstill. We had become a rocking horse sitting outside of Walmart, someone was feeding us pennies and we weren’t going anywhere.

We couldn’t put the sails up, because obviously, we were not a sailboat at the time. I could see our destination in the distance, but it sure as hell wasn’t getting any closer. The engine sounded fine.  Nothing else sounded weird. Nothing felt weird. I had flash backs to the time we lost our transmission in the Bahamas. I was swearing a lot in my head. Those words don’t need to be relayed to express my concern. We turned around surfed the waves instead of fighting them, as we messed with the throttle and shifter to figure things out. Some masts were hiding behind trees not far from us, we pointed Louise in that direction hoping to get somewhere protected. It is not easy to dissect an issue when you are violently bobbling around. Louise only moved at 1 knot. Luckily, we were able to throw our lines to a nice young man at the Trenton Yacht Club. I got in the water to look at the propeller. Where was the propeller? I only saw weeds. I began hacking away. A bundle of weeds was so tautly wrapped around the the shaft and prop I was actually impressed nothing snapped in two. Poor little Louise just had her panties in a twist. Problem solved.

The next morning Katie woke up sick. She referred to her sickness as “razor throat” explaining in detail what it felt like to swallow razors. I was not envious of Razor Throat, and did my best to stay on “my side” of the boat that day. However, when one of us is sick, its like both of us are sick, so it didn’t matter. Because she felt like crap, I did too. The day was young, and we had plenty of time to turn our frowns upside down. We fired up the engine and pulled some enthusiasm out of our behinds to enter the Trent-Severn waterway.  The Trent-Severn waterway is made up of 210 miles, and 44 locks, of intertwining lakes and rivers. This protected, shallow, and narrow waterway zig zags you from the town of Trenton, on Lake Ontario, up to Port Severn in the Georgian Bay.

The engine puttered out just as we were about to release the dock lines. Damnit. I crawled into the basement, and bled air our of the lines as Razor Throat cranked it over. With more air bubbles in the system than normal, we didn’t have enough battery to start the boat after bleeding it. The docks did not have 30 amp electric, so we could not plug into shore power to start the boat. We did not have an adapter. We found the nice young lad who worked at the yacht club to see if he had an adapter. He didn’t, but instead he removed the battery from his own boat and delivered it to Louise as if were as light as a bird. When he passed it to me, I pretended that I too, thought it was light as a bird. In reality, the battery pulled me into the basement head first. We jumped Louise and had smiles on our faces once again. Why thank you for your battery young lad.

Not even a mile into the Trent- Severn, I was playing “chicken” with a small fishing skiff. There was a fork in the river. One way leading to our first lock, and the other leading towards a rushing damn. The skiff was in the center of the fork, slowing reeling in lines as they saw us approach. When I got closer and saw their lines were not reeled in completely, I chose to loop around the right side (the side leading to the rushing damn) in hopes to leave them with more time to reel in their lines that were drifting in the path I was supposed to take (the side leading to the lock.) CRRRRRUUUUUNNNNCH. I had run Louise up a mountain and parked on the highest rock. I swear I could hear fiberglass crushing beneath us. It was an awful sound that I wish upon no boater. I looked in the bilge, we weren’t sinking. It took several attempts to get off the mountain until we had to ask the two men in the skiff for help. We had an audience of fisherman on nearby banks.

Outwardly I was smiling, and even laughing (laughing?!?!) with the two fisherman who were about to pull us off the mountain. At the time, making light of the situation was the only way I could handle it. When actually, I felt like a complete asshole who clearly chose the wrong side of the path, who could have potentially sunk our house, and who wanted to crawl into the v-berth and not come out until next spring. The men on the skiff cleated off a line, and pulled us down from the mountain as we listened Louise rearrange the rocks under her keel. Razor Throat was on the bow the entire time, silent, her eyes piercing through me with. Not frustrated that I had hit rocks, but that I hit rocks and was pretending that it was totally fine.

Adrift at last, we were thankful for the fisherman who ruined and saved our lives in a matter of minutes… I continued towards the correct spoke of the fork.  But it wasn’t over yet. We throttled up, and just like the day before we weren’t going anywhere. Weeds. Damnit. Voluntarily I stripped down, threw on my goggles, and got in the water to remove the weeds from the prop. I was the one who got us into the situation in the first place. I felt it was my job to have to plunge into the icy waters at 10 am. With our Canadian riverbank audience watching the whole thing, I was slightly embarrassed of our American flag.

Like our moods, the sky remained gray. I spent the remainder of the day wondering If there was a hole in the boat. After a few locks, the sky had reached it’s saturation and overflowed with sheets of rain. Which was exactly what we needed, pouring rain to raise the morale. We parked at the next lock, safely connected to the wall that time, not the ground.  I went below and pulled out a moldy tortilla, and cut in half a brown avocado and ate it in my wet clothes. It was not our day. We called it quits at 2 o clock, and agreed to try again tomorrow. Hoping that Razor Throat would feel better, and that I could make a come back after my horrendous grounding.

That night, we became friends with a girl named Sari, a lock operator who was so enthusiastic about our trip and wanted to know more. We invited Sari aboard that evening. After whining and bitching to her about our day, we were all laughing. Comparing the problems Razor Throat and I face every day, to the ones of your typical 25 year old female, is in fact a laughing matter. She distracted us with great conversation and in a matter of hours, she kind of felt like a sister. Sari probably had no idea she had turned our frustrating day into one worth having. Yet again, a reminder that we are always rewarded with good people in the end. Always. An unexpected constant that keeps us going. We put the day to bed, and started over the next morning.





Coolest water elevator EVER. We were lifted 65 feet in 90 seconds.




At the top of Peterborough lock, we met a man who gifted us this wooden instrument handcrafted by his grandfather. It’s used as a reminder to indicate which side the bouys to go on. One of my favorite gifts to this day.

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In lovesick lock we met an amazing and entertaining family… we let the girls go wild with sharpies on our ceiling. I told them to write their favorite quotes. We could have hung out with these 13 year old girls for days. They were smart, and asked us questions most boaters don’t even think to ask.

“Everyone has a place to fit in, you just have to find out where it is” – Breann

“The wind can you anywhere, you just have to guide it.” – Tay-dog

The next morning, they left us this note… Thanks girls : )


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Mommy hair cut

First off, I would like to dedicate this post to my sister, Alex. It is her 28th birthday today. As children we shared connecting rooms, yet somehow managed to live completely separate lives. Mine involving dolls, playing house, wearing pink, dancing around in leotards playing “boyfriend/girlfriend” with all my friends. While Alex galloped on all four’s playing animals when she wasn’t digging into my dads tools, getting dirty, or inventing something brilliant. Naturally an artist and an engineer, she taught me how creativity, brains, and curiosity, are what makes someone beautiful. As her little sister, I was jealous of her inventions, her brains, her solitude, and imagination. I made up for this by being a socialite and pretending I didn’t have a brain. It wasn’t until we were adults, that my sister helped me find these traits I had been hiding all along. Thanks sis, Happy Birthday.

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Lake Oneida is hot dog shaped, and shallow. We were aware of it’s shallow depths before crossing it, but having family in the area steered us towards a lake front property where Joe, a friends of my cousin Erin lived. Joe offered us his dock space in which there was of course, no turning down. When I asked if there was enough depth at the dock, Joe said “Well, I’m just over 6 feet tall and the water’s up to my chest… so I think you’ll be all right.”

When nearing Joe’s property we bumped bottom a boats length from the dock. With some tiller thrusting, throttle wiggling, and ballast readjusting we were afloat again. In a field of weeds my height, the depth sounder was picking up the dancing plants instead of the ground, leaving me with inaccurate readings. Time and time again we tried different ways to approach the dock, but we never made it those last 30 feet without the earth blocking our way. Finally we said, “Okay, this is fine then.” Dropped the hook right there, and ran a line to the dock so we wouldn’t swing circles into what could have been even more shallow. Gently Louise snuggled the lake floor as mini wind-waves rose her up and back down again kissing her keel.

After two days visiting with family and new friends in Lake Oneida, we excavated Louise off the ground and passed through the remainder of the lake until being funneled into the Oswego canal. The Oswego canal held the last series of locks before entering Lake Ontario. Just a few days from being able to dive into the Great Lakes once again.

In between Oneida and Ontario we found ourselves oddly entertained. Lock walls to tie to every night for free. Fresh water to bath in. Peculiar towns that fed my ravenous appetite for ice cream. We found trees to climb and trails to walk. As well as an exceptional hike through mossy forests and ancient rocks crafted by glaciers. When running out of entertainment, I let Katie cut off my ponytail. My hair met my chin, and I spent days mocking myself for having a “mom” haircut. Katie kept reassuring me that I did not look like a mom. I think it was because she was the one who gave me my new “do”, and was proud of her hair cutting ability. In a weird way, I was too, she actually did pretty good. However, when I saw the reflection in our standard paper sized mirror that cuts me off at my chest, I only saw one thing – my mother.

Not a day later we were tied to a lock wall in an odd upstate NY town with plans to walk 3 miles to Walmart purely for amusement. A tattered woman walked by with a grocery cart, and looked to Katie who was standing on the bow, “Honey, do you have any empty cans? I am collecting cans.”

“We don’t, Im sorry. Check back later, we might have some” she responded knowing the day would most likely end with beers. The woman continued to push her cart in my direction. This time she looked to me, smiled, and said

“If it’s okay, I am going to check back later to see if you have any empty cans. I just asked your daughter, and she said you don’t have any now.”

I smiled back, and in my most motherly voice I responded “Of course it’s okay.”

Katie and I died laughing. She thought I was Katie’s mom. Later that day, I got my mommy-hack-job hair do, trimmed up by a gal at Walmart who did not have the most fabulous hack job herself.


Reaching the Great Lakes…

In the center of Lake Ontario…possibly overflowing with pride knowing how far we have come. It was nearly two years ago we waved goodbye to these lakes. And now here we are re-entering them as different people. As women who confidently move forward aware of consequences, with a full understanding of what we have left behind and what could lie ahead. Without words Katie and I operate. Without questions we carry on. Without answers we are eager.

We could not have chosen a better day to cross this lake. The mast still lays on the deck. It wouldn’t take much to stir up this massive body of water and test the durability of the cradle holding it in place. Instead, we are drifting over a sheet of glass that only presents itself as a body of water based on the ripples Louise leaves behind. I can barely find the seam where the water meets the sky. If I didn’t know any better, I would assume we were on a different planet. One where horizons do not exist.

Multiple species of bugs, have hitched a ride in the cockpit since sunrise. They don’t look to be making moves any time soon. Like me, they look in every direction and see nothing. A different planet. Why would they leave? Everything we need to live is right here. At first I was perturbed by these bugs, but then my mom haircut helped me understand that all the little bug children just needed a place to rest. I could hear them crying at me in octaves higher than a human can even register “Can we stay? Please? Mommm, is it okay if we stay? We have no where else to go.” And then silently, I responded in my motherly voice “Of course it’s okay.” I suppose we can all check into Canada together.


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