T SHIRTS !!!

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NEW!!! “LOUISE” T SHIRTS, by Marushka Hand Prints.  For those of you who have suggested that we have t-shirts… we finally got around to it, and thanks to all of those who encouraged the idea!

A Smith, family owned and operated screen printing company based out of Grand Haven Michigan, got hard to work hand printing each shirt. If you contribute $40.00 to Katie and Jessie on a Boat, you will receive this superb t-shirt!!! Who doesn’t need a shirt, with two chicks on their chest, and a boat on their back? Representing the art of cruising and simplicity, combined with hard work and gratitude. If you donate at least $40.00 to helping us complete America’s Great Loop, not only will you have a shirt to change your oil in, but you will be supporting the mission of two young women, working to prove a pretty simple point. The point being… don’t let fear get in the way of moving forward with your own dreams. Don’t let yourself get stuck. And if you do get stuck, I hope it is on the ground in the new boat you just took off on.

DSC_0764 DSC_0763Contributions or no contributions, we appreciate everyone who keeps up with our story . This week, Katie and I start moving north up the East Coast. We have a 4 month trip ahead of us as we travel back to the Great Lakes. What will happen in these 4 months… I do not know. The only thing predictable in the life of Katie and Jessie is that, no matter what, things are going to go wrong. Disaster amidst the wanderlust. Ye haw. THANK YOU EVERYONE. We are so grateful for the ongoing encouragement, enthusiasm, guidance, and support.

Goodbye. Again.

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

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The List.

In my world, the creation of a list usually happens when life is about to drastically change. Decisions to up and leave may be rash, but that doesn’t mean the list of things that must be done before leaving is. Since Katie and I have a habit of packing up and running whenever we please, the list has begun. Throughout this journey, we’ve refused to find ourselves too comfortable, in fear that we would never leave that zone of comfort. We have a long road ahead, it’s time to make moves. Goodbye to the comfort of a floating dock. Goodbye air conditioning. Goodbye fridge. Goodbye beautiful laundry facility. Good bye shower. Goodbye nights well slept. Goodbye to making money. Hello to the opposite of all those categories. Hello to dirty, scared, and broke. The decision to leave has been made. But the shopping list, and projects have just begun. Hence, THE LIST:

  • hose clamps
  • white electric tape
  • oil SAE 40
  • oil filters
  • type A tranny fluid (drain/replace transmission fluid)
  • fuel filters (change fuel filter)
  • new auxiliary cord (I would prefer to hear out of both of our speakers instead of one)
  • shop rags
  • exchange broken hose (it recently blew up in Katie’s face)
  • box fan (our fan is a hot mess)
  • 12 volt thing for cockpit (Replace. Current one got wet, fried, and melted)
  • impeller (check current/buy spare)
  • alternator belt (tighten, and buy spare)
  • distilled water (top off batteries)
  • tighten loose wires on batteries
  • lithium batteries (for our Spot locator… keep our families happy)
  • two 3/4” pieces of plywood (new outboard mount)
  • fix broom handle tiller extension (surprised it’s still exists)
  • tighten stays
  • re-attach solar anchor light
  • replace rubber bootie things where stays cross over spreaders.
  • finish scraping Louise’s belly!!!
  • replace zinc

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Belly of Louise.

It is easiest to forget the unseen. There has been several occasions where particular areas, nooks, and crannies have been ignored aboard our humble abode. The reason being – fear of what lies beneath. I stated in my last post, there is not much that truly scares me. Amongst my fear of commitment, mayonnaise, and the dislocation of fingers, there are areas of Louise I can hardly bring my eyes to meet… God forbid I witness what is really there. I’m too scared.

Where the old, weak bladder connected to our toilet wiggles underneath the couch on Katie’s side. The possibility of urine leaks where I connected the hoses. The rusty storage shed underneath Reggie’s bed… where water collects as it rains. That one Bird box (cat box) compartment on my side, where we used to keep Bird’s litter, soggy bits of litter still reside. The deep, dark bilge, reeking of diesel, oil, and dirty hair. These little nightmares, remain unkept. What you don’t know, won’t hurt you. No one wants to breathe mold, smell sewage, get an old piece of litter stuck under their fingernail, have a spider crawl up their shorts, eat an aunt, or more recently have a lizard jump at your face. Do you understand what I am saying? No need to attend to these areas. Unless it is an emergency.

Lets not forget about the entire part of our house that faces the sea floor. Louise’s belly. This large area, has been lacking attention for longer than it takes to bare a child. Sure, we were attentive to this region as we traveled the Bahamas. The water clarity was that of air. It was nothing but entertainment to keep her belly clean as we cruised from island to island. It was like we were snorkeling, working out, and making our home more efficient all at once. Win, win, win. Well, it’s been awhile since either of us have seen what it looks like down there… Why? Again – fear of what lies beneath. Recently, I insisted on facing the facts (Katie wasn’t as excited about this plan as I) With snorkel gear on, I ungracefully flopped into the marina, to witness the coral reef we dragged down from Fort Lauderdale. Let’s just say if Louise were a plane, there would be no flight.

I scrubbed, scraped, scrubbed, and scraped some more. The amount of living things I removed from Louise was slightly disturbing. The dead fish floating around me in the marina…comforting. Mini shrimpy things squirming all over my skin when I got out of the water, even more pleasing. Katie worked on the bottom of Madbob (dinghy) and Darbie (kayak) while making sure the tarpon twice my size, were not seeking me as an appetizer. A morning well spent. Minus the fact that I only finished a fraction of the job, and I suck at holding my breath. Oh well, it’s start.

Thank the lord we don’t have a bigger house. Thank you Katie for cold beer and moral support. Thank you Reggie for keeping your eyes on me at all times and protecting me from vicious sea life. Thank you George and Donna for rewarding us with delicious bbq pulled pork sandwiches.

Coast.

Coast-61“I don’t know what they do in there, but I want to be friends with them” Katie curiously states.

“Oh yeah. Those Boys. I got a ride home from one of them on a motor-bike the other day. We should definitely be friends with them” I come back.

“You got on a bike with one of them? A total stranger? Smart, Jessie. Real smart.”

“Figured it was better than walking. His name is Turner. He is from Nashville. He lives in that thing back there that looks like an ice cream truck”

Stock Island, has a reputation for not being the nicest area…the shady island… where the bums reside in the park, the trash washes ashore only to be smelled but never picked up. No place to be walking around at night. Close to Key West, but not Key West. Affordable. Kind of. A place where you can’t distinguish the homeless from the rest. Everyone weathered, heavy creases in their faces when telling stories or laughing, ripped clothing, salty, dirty fingernailed, drunk, and probably a missing tooth. We pretty much fit right in.

Katie and I have been banned from walking to and from work around here, by our co-workers who insist it’s not the smartest idea. Usually I ignore these suggestions. Not very many people or places scare me. Call me naive. Thats fine. Little does anyone know I turn into purebred ninja when in a sticky situation. That is a totally different subject. BUT because we did both walk instead of drive for some time, we discovered something beautiful along the way. A place welcoming mellow folk, like minded personalities, artists, woodworkers, sailors, and dreamers. Right there across from the trailer park, Coast Projects‘ inhabited compound, where creativity is created.

Over the days we kept meeting these guys… one at at time… each one equally handsome as they are kind. Why yes, these should be our new friends. Eventually we were introduced to this hidden studio, and it’s projects. From boat building, to jewelry making, screen printing, welding, fiberglassing, skateboard painting, music making, this bearded and rugged group is really something else. Billy Kearins, founder and creative director of Coast Projects, was equally as enthusiastic about our sailing adventure, as we were about our new friends. He asked us if we would be interested in bartending for their upcoming event. YUP.

It was the most fun money we have ever made. Surrounded by live music, the scent of Jamaican jerk chicken, cute little kids running around in suspenders, friendly dogs and a bright blue parrot. Not to mention bread pudding to die for, and even more creative/out there people. Thank you Billy, for inviting us. Take the time to check out their website and current projects. Buy a shirt while your at it. These guys are cool.

SIDE NOTES:

If you live on a small Island, people talk. People talk everywhere, but tend to talk more when your stuck on a rock. Here are the current rumors; Katie and jessie on a boat is a lesbian pornography site. Katie is sleeping with our French Canadian neighbor. Since I’m the one without a boyfriend, I am secretly in love with Katie and am jealous. Our daddies bought our boat for us and are paying for us to be on this trip. Oh, and we don’t have any electronics aboard Louise and we navigated by the stars. Gotta love small towns. These people must really be bored.

On St. Patty’s day, we went to a bar called “Garden of Eden” where clothing is optional. I had not had nearly enough drinks to witness the body parts I did. Welcome to Key West, eh?

We set a date to leave this here rock. I am not going to tell you when that is, but its soon. Can’t get too comfortable. Plus, I don’t know how many more rumors we can handle.

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Routine.

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Interesting how easy it is to fall into some kind of routine. Whatever we are doing, wherever we are, routine always finds a way to sneak in. Typically, I am not one for “routine.” In fact I am pretty certain  I have lived my life on the opposite side of the spectrum… let’s go ahead and call it… unconventional. What I am finding, is that naturally, I am very routine.

Here in the Marina, if I did not make it clear in my recent posts… we are very comfortable. Happy. Pleased. More smiles than frowns. There is really nothing to complain about. But if there was something to complain about, it is how far we have to walk to go to the bathroom of course. I don’t really know where I am going with this story, except that when I was walking to the bathroom this morning, the thought of “routine” came to me. Yes, we all go to the little girl’s room or the little boy’s room regularly, and often the sign on the door doesn’t matter if you are desperate. At this marina, we have so many lovely neighbors and friends, that it can be challenging to make it all the way to the little girl’s room without getting yourself into 7 conversations before arriving. As sweet as it is that everyone is chipper and chatty, we have discovered that if you walk the sidewalk on the opposite side of the walkway, you are less likely to get stopped. So here we have created a system… walking the sidewalk near the boats says “I have time to chat” and walking the sidewalk on the opposite side says “Please don’t talk to me, I am secretly galloping to the toilet”

Lady like, I know. But there you have it, a new routine. That was all really random. I think there is more to this post than bathroom talk. Katie is gone all week, visiting her family in Fort Myers Beach. It’s just me and Reg. At first, I was really looking forward to a week alone. Katie and I have a lonnnnng way to go still, so any chance we get to do things on our own is healthy. Right? Well, it’s been a couple of days, and it’s so quiet around this house it’s creeping me out. I think I have said this before, and I will say it again… it’s typical that Katie and I don’t really talk much during the day, we just do our own thing. But by the time we are done with work, or just relaxing on the boat after dark, by routine we talk each other’s ear off. Sometimes I just listen, sometimes I talk, but whatever it may be, Katie’s voice is very much part of my day. This house ain’t the same without ya, Katie girl. Not gonna lie, I’m pretty bored.

This week I am conciously altering my routines. I am Reggie’s mother till Monday. That means, I have to think like Katie, which also means, I have to think like a dog. I have never tried to think like a dog before, this is a new concept for me. When I eat, that means Reggie should eat to. When I pee, he probably has to as well. When I am sweating… time to plug in that new AC unit. When I want a piece of chocolate, Reggie gets a lamb lung. I must admit, I am super awkward in dog parks. I feel like I am sitting at a playground with a bunch of mothers who are watching their children swing on monkey bars and fly down slides. Then I really had a brilliant idea, why don’t parents put leashes on their kids when they misbehave in the park too? Hahaha wish me luck with parenthood, my friends. But honestly, I am not a mother, and I have never been a dog owner, so to sit in a dog park with other “dog mommies and daddies” makes me slightly uncomfortable. Mostly, I want to just sit on the bench and watch the dogs, save myself from awkward dog talk. So If anyone asks, I just tell everybody that Reggie is a Dalmatian. Then they think I have something wrong with me – conversation done. This morning however, I sat on the bench and had an amazing conversation with my neighbor Chris. It was therapeutic. An hour went by and I was still sitting there. Thankful for a new friend. Thankful for the dog park.

On a different subject… I was originally thinking that the photos in this post, really have nothing to do with it’s content. Then I thought again. Being aboard a sailing/kayak/snorkel charter down here in Key West is something so new, so thrilling to everyone along for the ride aboard Danger Charters. For Katie and me, it all felt like standard procedure. Between finding the right place to sit, the right place to stow your loose belongings, how to get in the water with mask and fins, and how to mount a double kayak. All of these things, foreign to most, natural for us. We both had a moment, while on an eco kayak tour through the mangroves. We saw the excitement on everyone’s faces, the look in their eyes after seeing their first shark, the silent awe of the glassy water and setting sun. We realized that this life that is so normal to Katie and me, is a life unfamilar to most. It’s easy to forget, but we were quickly reminded by witnessing the thrill of those who are experiencing it for the first time.

Danger Charters did an excellent job. The crew was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. I recommend to anyone who wants to get out on the water in Key West..  hop on a Danger Charter for the day. Not only do you get to sail, snorkel, kayak, eat fresh fruit, and sip on wine, but you go home with new friends, and a new appreciation for this town’s history and ecology.

So here I sit. In the cockpit, with a french press at my side. The same spot that I sit every single morning.  Facing the same direction I always face. Peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwich for breakfast. Reggie laying at my feet, with his longing puppy eyes, awaiting a turkey dog. Patty Griffin sound track playing in the background. Large tarpon flopping around the marina behind me. Doing nothing but thinking and writing. My morning routine.

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The sun, it hurts.

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The sun. It hurts. My skin. It hurts. Besides the sun doing some serious damage, no matter how much you cover yourself up, I have no more complaints. Bimini’s are great and all, but we still struggled to avoid sun exposure on our way to the Keys. I  had forgotten how harsh it is to be stuck in the piercing rays for 8 to 10 hours. Well, someone had to drive. Katie and I took turns steering, so we could have each have breaks from the cancer causing star. Five days of traveling to Key West, went incredibly well. We cruised on the inside (Gulf side) up until Marathon, where we ducked under 7 mile bridge to the south side (Atlantic side) to get to Key West. I wanted to go to Cuba. Katie wouldn’t let me. Instead we ended up in Disney land, I mean Key West.

The inside ICW is shallow, and easy to find yourself in a mine-field of crab traps. Louise draws just under 4 and 1/2 feet of water. All though we never ran aground (hard), there was a half a mile where our depth sounder read 0.0 feet in the middle of the channel. We never got stuck, but we literally were driving on the ground, leaving some lovely skid-marks behind us.

It took all of one, unsuccessful night docked right in town (1/2 a mile off of downtowns main st) for us to lose our minds and backtrack 6 miles to a quieter area. We thought surely we would want to be in the thick of it, so we could walk everywhere. Between the cruise ships, commercial boats, jet skis, tourists, street performers, drunks, and feeling the wake of every boat in the main channel, we left first thing the next morning. I think we are getting old – we can’t handle that anymore.

We now are cozier than we have possibly ever been down here on Stock Island. The sense of community, and generosity we are surrounded by is incredible. But let me tell you why we actually are really cozy.  Brace yourself, your going to be impressed. Katie, ordered a little air conditioner. We turn it on while we sleep, to avoid the clammy, sweaty, buggy, sleepless nights down here in south Florida. After a year and a half of horrific sleep aboard Louise, she finally insisted on spending 150 dollars on a small AC unit. Why we never gave in earlier? Couldn’t tell you. Reggie, is a happy dog now considering he is still wearing his winter coat. More importantly, at this very moment, Katie is on the dock teaching Reggie to be like a dolphin. Oddly enough, it’s working.

Our new friends Beth and Jerry, lent us their 12 volt fridge. For the first time in our travels, I woke up and drank cold milk (we both are used to warm, powdered milk with our cereal) To wake up with chilled, dry skin, not sweaty, and proceed to open a cold box containing cold milk is FABULOUS. For the first time in a long time, we are physically comfortable.  We of course are plugged into power here at the dock, and will not be able to have these luxuries when we begin cruising again. But whatever the electric bill turns out to be at the end of the month, will be worth every penny.

Other great news – Katie and I got jobs yesterday. I am not going to say where because then you can come find us. Our purpose of being down here in the Keys, is to make enough money to allow us to complete this amazing adventure, to be surrounded by beautiful sea life, and to continue meeting people worth meeting of course. Already, this community has won my heart. There are so many people we have to thank since arriving.

Beth and Jerry – y’all are officially bas-ass after hearing your running aground/swimming with the sharks story, and your 12-volt fridge is my new best friend. Kathy Peg – you are an inspiring woman. Steve and Dawn – your enthusiasm is contagious. Steve, thanks for the great conversation, I am satisfied we both agree that tanning beds, and cemeteries are going out of style. And to your son, Jason, if it weren’t for you we never would have met your awesome parents, thanks for spreading the love. Mike, Rosie and holly – thanks for looking out for us, our E dock family. George and Donna – we barely know you, and already love you. And thanks to Chris – our next door neighbor on A dock. We have the opportunity to move closer to the bathrooms, and we turned it down because you are the best neighbor we have ever had, thanks for the sandwiches, and the deck brush I just about broke in half.

Grateful. 7 mile-2

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Strangers are your friends

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Pulling away from the dock in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday morning, had me giddy as the first day we left Michigan. Curious, and nervous, but this time there was no fear, and only comfort in our forward motion. All though I pulled into the channel, and went on the wrong side of the green channel marker, we managed not to run aground and brushed off the salt as the men in a nearby boat had “of course a woman is driving”, written all over their faces.

I love the sound of our 11hp diesel. I love how it feels under my feet. I love that both of us are so in tune to every noise that it makes, we immediately react if something changes. I love that it’s appropriately purring again, and knock on wood…  that it is running better than it has in a long while. I also love that I am not embarrassed to say that the sound of our healthy diesel, is often more comforting to me than the wind blowing in our sails. I openly admit our motoring to sailing ratio is slightly ass backwards, but I am okay with it. Everybody has their own system. Well so do we. We never said we were die-hard sailors. We are just two chicks on a boat, and fortunately our boat has two options.

Katie and I spent the day regaining our sea-legs. Six months on land created wobbly appendages, and unbalanced foot placements. The bruises are back, skin is broken, toes are stubbed, and if I had any fingernails with room for dirt, they would be filled. It didn’t take us long to get back into our roles, or our characters per-se. Shortly we became these women whom we become as we captain and co-captain. Katie gets out all the guide books and charts. With the books come high lighters and note-pads. Before I can see the next channel marker, she has written in detail the name of each bridge, what time they open, and the distance in-between each one. If you didn’t know this girl, you would assume she was a straight A book worm throughout school.

I zone out. Prop myself in a chair in-between a winch and the cabin top, within perfect distance to steer with the tiller extension. I quietly sit and drive without realizing 4 or 6 hours just went by. Katie give me the stats, and I adjust the throttle to appropriately time the bridge openings. Nine of them in-between Lauderdale and Miami. By late afternoon we pull into Coconut Grove, South Miami. We spent a week here last spring, waiting on weather to cross to the Bahamas. We drift up on our spot, the same one we dropped the hook last year. Like conservative pros, we anchored together nearly in silence for there first time since last summer.

This trip… this journey… this weird weird path we have been traveling…I must say is not about the scenery, or where we end up at the end of the day. It has completely revolved around the people we have met, and relationships we have formed. If not for this, we would have barely made it out of Michigan. Sean Moss, stranger turned friend, just became one of those people. Sean, born and raised on a sailboat in Coconut Grove, was sitting aboard his 26 foot Pierson as he watched two chicks anchor right next to him. Intrigued as he was, he rowed over to introduce himself. He was very curious. Insisted on knowing what is was that motivates us. Growing up in America’s boating mecca, he was quick to state he had never seen two women our age doing what we are. He asked all the right questions. Being a die-hard sailor himself, he dissected the fact that we are not as confident as we could or should be in the sailing department. I don’t even know how it ended up happening, but at some point, it was decided that Sean was going to be our third crew member the following day. He would row back out at 6:30 am, and head 50 miles south with us to Key Largo.

It is not often Katie and I care to have yet another body on our small boat. It is stressful enough with two bodies and a full size dog. We have our own system, our own decision making process, not to mention our own language. Throwing another human in the mix, is questionable. But for some reason, neither of us hesitated. We had a good feeling about this character, and we were right. So don’t forget, it is all about the people you meet along the way. For they are the ones, who make the story a story.

“It’s not at all about what you have. It is about what you think about what you have” – quote of the day by Sean. Nice to meet you man.sean moss-27

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Quintessentially Majestic

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Goodmorning. Happy Sunday. I would like to begin by saying that the title of this blog post makes absolutely no sense. It is an inside joke. Don’t worry about it.

You know what is neat? We have some really neat friends. So neat that when I send a text at 11am to Pat and Cindy Bonish, saying that they should meet us in Key West if they were feeling wild – that they respond thirty minutes later with “Just got plane tickets, be there Monday morning” I mean come on, how neat is that? P.S. I hate the word “neat”.

Our estimated 24 hour Keys trip, turned into nearly 5 days. After the first 48 hours, the two pairs of underwear we packed turned into one of two options… bikini bottoms or commando. I must say, this is the kind of freedom I live for. Not the going commando kind of freedom, but the kind where I can hop in my truck at any given moment, and drive to wherever the hell I want to go that day…and when I am good and buzzed up at the end of all the spontanaity, there happens to be a bed in the back of my truck. Wam bam thank you mam and goodnight.

At least once a day I wish I didn’t lead such a gypsy lifestyle, but in return, at least once day I am reminded of why I do. This Keys trip, was a quintessentail piece of our wild emotional puzzle. It was Majestic. And once we back out of this here dock in Lauderdale, to Key West we will sail…or motor…. or maybe both. At the same time. Commando.

Thank you Pat and Cindy (please check out Pat’s amazing photos from this trip)… Thank you Don and Maryanne… Thank you Rob and Shane of Mellow Ventures. And if you like my pictures as well, please view more at Jessietakespictures.com See Y’all soon. Over and out.

SIDENOTES: This morning, I was eating handfuls of cereal while boiling water for my french press. After handful number 7, I felt a slight tickle on my hand and wrist. I look down to discover my skin smothered in tiny red ants. I look inside the cereal box, to see hundreds of tiny red ants. Hmmm… how many have I eaten? I took a huge gulp of juice, and said “Nice knowing ya bitches” This was not majestic by any means. In fact it’s been hours and I am still very disturbed. I just pray that they contain some kind of nutrients.

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www.jessietakespictures.com

Oops we drove to the Keys

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Katie and I decided to drive to the keys, in search of marinas, docks, and jobs. We slept in my truck in a hotel parking lot. At 7am a man asked us to leave. We were punished for not drinking and driving? That man better get his priorities straight.

Anyone have a dock that we can pay to live at in key west? Or any of those other keys on the chain?