FIRST . VIDEO . EVER . And possibly the last.

HEY THERE.  So here’s the deal, I made this video as a surprise for Luke Yeates at our wedding. We had a lot of footage from our Atlantic crossing, and passage from England to Portugal. He had been asking me to string it together all year, and I was avoiding it cause I was overwhelmed by the amount of (crap) footage.

Those of you who have been keeping up with us for a few years, know that I’ve never made a video like this and am a highly unqualified videographer. I put this together as a comedic take on our dynamics aboard S/V Desireé, to share with friends and family at our very small wedding in Scotland. It is unfiltered. I swear a lot. I had no intentions of sharing this publicly. I was back and fourth for the last few months on wanting to re-edit, cutting out the things I wasn’t comfortable sharing. F-bombs. A cigarette. Getting knocked down off of Portugal. The grumpy and irritable version of myself at sea. But I eventually concluded, who cares.

This is how it was, and a re-edit would be unfair. 

The brief back-story is as follows – When we got engaged, we decided we should attempt to sail across an ocean together, if we made it to the other side and still liked each other, then we would plan a wedding. And so we sailed, from Michigan to England, aboard my fathers 1962 Pearson Invicta 37′. It was my first ocean crossing. If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would have never imagined myself crossing an ocean, the answer would have been “absolutely not.”

This is A whopping 16 minute insight of our North Atlantic passage, where we crossed from Newfoundland to England summer of 2017, and England to Portugal, spring of 2018. I have not shared much information about our passage to Portugal, as it was in my opinion, much more challenging than crossing the ocean.  I haven’t quite worked out a way to put it all down. Please know, that I will eventually share it all with you. I promise. I am a retrospect kind of gal. I need time to process.

Desireé is currently on the hard, waiting for us in Portugal. We will return in November to prep her for Atlantic crossing no. 2. We promised my dad we would return his boat back to Michigan. Our tentative route home is loose. Sail south until the butter melts… and then hook a right. During the very long way home, we will be in search of “the next boat”. Our own boat. The boat that might possibly become our home until the end of time. Please send any good leads or suggestions our way, as we will be looking in the Caribbean, and along the East Coast.

At this very moment, Luke and I are at our home base in Michigan… just over here doing my thing at www.jzevalkink.com, while Luke works diligintly in the yard fixing up an old 18 foot catamaran. My head is down and I am in work mode until the fall. Come November, you can count on having us back. I miss writing. I miss being terrified on my night watches. I miss sweaty boatyard life. Friendly marina life. Exotic sea life. I never thought I’d see myself type this, but I MISS BLOGGING.

To be continued.

The truth about d o u b l e – h a n d i n g :

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En route to ILE DE LA MADELEINE // JUNE 3

6:42 am // My hair is mopped under a winter hat and explodes out the bottom, it wraps around my neck like a fur scarf. I look like a lion. People pay a lot of money for these kinds of things. It attaches itself to the velcro on my jacket. A few strands secure themselves to my bottom lip. I am on the morning shift. I’ve cracked a beer-mosa (Budweiser topped off with orange juice) and am dodging lobster pots. Out of character for me to crack a beer this time of day. But there is something about wherever I am, doing whatever I am doing, that qualifies this as an appropriate moment. Miranda Lambert is singing to me and she typically only does this when Luke is asleep. I drop the back of my Gill trousers and sit indian style off the stern, holding onto the backstay. This is my new bathroom. It’s more relaxing than any other box I’ve ever sat in to do the very same thing.

Lobster pots appear out of the fog and I miss them by meters. Feeling more and more British speaking in meters not feet. I see fishing boats displayed on the B&G AIS overlay. I do not see them in real life. In fact I can see nothing in real life until it is a Desirée’s length away.  I sit in the fog. We move forward under engine over a sheet of mercury. There is no wind. Not even a breath. The circle of visibility in which we sit in the center of, is 1/8th of a mile at best. It’s thick. In every direction I see a block of the same color. White. As if I was staring at a mountain of snow. The sun penetrates just enough to assist my body in heating up. The condensation drips from every surface facing downward. It rolls off of the boom and onto my head. I type words but do not look at the computer screen. Women are so great at multi-tasking. Pardon any typos.

I day-dream of what I will make for breakfast when Luke wakes. I only have one hour left of my four, but I am perfectly happy and wouldn’t mind sitting here for longer than required. A McGriddle. That’s what I will make. Mcdonalds at sea. I do feel the need to step up my game. Luke has prepared the most impressive boat meals I have ever tasted. I have been eating like a queen. He’s prepared Tournedos Rossini, Croque Monsieur, and Scallop Mac’n cheese. I place my breakfast ingredients on the counter in my head, and I like how they look. Pumpkin spice pancakes, with grilled ham and and a fried egg. Christmas at sea. Any diet I have ever considered is completely gone – out the window. My body is changing I can feel it. I don’t care. I am in survival mode. Give my carbs. Give me sugar. Give me a beer for breakfast. What my body wants is what I will give it.

33 miles ahead is  Ile De La Madeleine, an island situated on it’s own in between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. 130 miles behind sits Gaspe, Quebec, the mainland that we have finally left behind. People say Ile De Le Madelaine is where people eat lobster, make babies, and never leave. I’m not opposed to the trio. I’d happily take the first and the last, the second might not be the wisest of decisions. We are just miles away from reaching the Atlantic Ocean now. Sometimes I just want to scream, to shout, the celebrate “Do you have any idea how long it has taken me to get here?”

The fog lifts and I can finally separate sea from sky. There is no land in sight. The idea of being completely alone out here does not scare me. I know that people are out there, they are everywhere, everywhere but here. We have found a place where they do not go. Most of them not a clue we are here. Some of them anxiously awaiting our safe arrival. But right now there is no one. Just the birds. They fly parallel Desirée with curiosity. My curiosity is stronger than their’s because they move on too quickly, while I sit here wishing I could keep up.  Their company alone is almost enough. I know that disconnecting from people for a short while is okay. I know it is important. I know that in my normal land life, I am connected beyond explanation. I do find safety in people. It would be nice to find safety in solitude, but it’s not easiest of tasks.

The truth I have learned about double-handing, is that you are alone more often then not. I sleep. You sleep. I am on watch for 4 hours. You are on watch for 4 hours. I sleep. You sleep.  And so it goes. We do our best to cook and enjoy meals together, and when we do get to hang out for an hour it becomes the quickest hour of the day. The rest of the time we chit-chat in passing.  We speak in wind speeds and headings. I count down 240 minutes until I can wake him up.

We might be only 6 feet apart, which is mutually preferred over an ocean apart. But the word “solitude” continues to cliff note our current state of existence. Do not let this take away from the opposite, in which teamwork is every reason we are able to carry on. But this kind of teamwork requires one to be working while the other recovers.  You never want to wake the other up, even when you feel desperate. You understand how important it is for the other to rest. You understand how important it is to maintain your watch. It is in fact, exhausting and quite lonely.  And being the incredibly social person that I am, this is difficult. When I see something – anything – a bird, a seal, a dolphin, a bug, a fishing boat… I am instantly comforted by the existence of something else. These little things have become my greatest joy. I have become an emotional old lady, hunched over in her chair, who writes letters and waits for visitors.

Grandma over and out – onwards to Ile de la Madelaine.

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