How it All Began

Once upon a time I married a man with a dream. He wanted us to quit our jobs, sell our house, buy a boat and sail the Caribbean. I was young, in love, and terribly naive. I agreed to go.

My practical side said, “What about the kids?” My romantic side said, “No problem. I’ll home-school them.”

My practical boss said, “Don’t burn your bridges. I’ll give you a six-month leave of absence in case this doesn’t work out.”  My romantic side said, “There won’t be a problem. I took sailing lessons.”

We bought an old sailboat on the West Coast of Florida. While Mark had lots of sailing experience, he had very little live-aboard time and zero living aboard with kids. They teased, and bickered, and made faces—all those things siblings do. What they didn’t do is act like miniature adults and that became a problem when four people live in a  space that’s eight feet wide and 30 feet long.

We took laundry to shore in a row boat, cooked in cramped quarters, and lived without a refrigerator (we had an ice box). Mosquitoes the size of buzzards feasted on me and it rained so hard it penetrated the old teak deck and dripped right onto my head when I tried to sleep. In fact, there were so many deck leaks that nobody could sleep.

The day we finally set out our engine sputtered to a stop and was put on life support when we got towed into a marina.  No problem. We were a sailboat. We fixed the engine with duct tape and band aids, went outside the Intracoastal Waterway to the Gulf, and hoisted sails.

Blue water is good. That beautiful aqua water that I headed for when I was at the helm was a sandbar. Seven sandbars later, my six month leave ended and Mark and I decided to file away this adventure and chalk it up to “live and learn.” We sold the boat.  Mark didn’t say, “Never again.” He said, “Another day.”

That day came seven years ago with a ten-month East Coast cruise in a power boat. We bought Sea Bear, our second power boat, two years ago and did a three-month cruise in Canada and the San Juan Islands this past summer.

I’ll share some of those adventures next time.

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