Monthly Archives: June 2011

Moving Forward

We received a lot of feedback from our last post.  Most of it was well intentioned and appreciated, but some was blatantly insulting, profane, superior, and judgmental.  Apparently our decisions, way of life, and story are quite an affront!

We have decided not to print those comments because they are far from respectful and considerate.  It’s not that we wouldn’t post a negative comment, but we will not post comments that attack, insult, and slander us.  Our blog is our story as we see fit to write it and not a public forum.

These people espouse the point of view that unless we have careers or doctorates we are not “grown up,” and that we do not “have a life.”  They have said that we are hypocrites, that we have never worked a day in our life, that we just use people, and that we are deluded, slanderous, and frauds.  While we could defend ourselves against these attacks point by point, we aren’t going to allow our blog to be hijacked in that way.

If you don’t like our story, then too bad! It’s our life, and we have to live with our decisions, just like everyone else in the world.  You don’t have to like us or approve of us, and we don’t really care if you do or not.  This is our blog, our story, and our opinions and thoughts.  If you don’t like them then don’t read them.

So thanks to everyone who posted a decent comment and actually had manners!  We reflected on everything and had much to think about.  Now, we are actively in process moving the yurt and selling and storing our things.  We have just one month to get everything off the land, and we are looking forward to completing this massive undertaking and turning the page into the next chapter of our story.

The unexpected cost of cruising

Here we are back on land. While many of you may be following our blog to hear of our magnificent adventures, and that has been our main purpose in writing, we decided we would also like to share with you our struggles and some of the super crappy stuff we also get to deal with. Like our current situation.

Last summer, before we launched on our big sailing adventure, we got mixed reactions from family and friends about our decision to drop everything and sail away. While most people were enthusiastic and even envious, we also were scolded by some for being “irresponsible”, and some people were concerned with our sanity and safety since at the time of our departure we barely knew how to sail. These were all normal reactions that we mostly expected. One reaction we did not expect, however. When one family member found out about our plans things changed drastically. We suddenly were no longer allowed to keep our yurt and belongings on her property (where it has been for the last four years with the understanding that it and we could stay there indefinitely). We had our wedding here, and it has been a safe and beautiful refuge for us for a long time. In fact, part of the reason we even decided that we could go on this trip at all is because we were able to keep our yurt and belongings somewhere and have them to return to when we got back. Our trip was viewed as abusing our privilege of being able to use the land. In hindsight if we had given her lots of money before we left, we probably wouldn’t have been kicked off, but honestly who knows. There of course were other complex factors at hand, but this is the simplest explanation.

The cost of our trip in U.S. dollars is one thing, but the loss of family land and a family relationship is incalculable. The price of our trip turns out to be much higher than ever expected.

So now we are coming back to a very difficult situation. The disappointment and shock of this loss is beyond words, and the complication and magnitude of moving not only our stuff but also several buildings is daunting.

The two main options we have at this point are to sell the yurt and most of the rest of our belongings and reinvest in a bigger boat to continue living on and cruising with, or to move the yurt and our stuff to another piece of land in Massachusetts where we have the option of living, or at least storing our yurt until we decide we want to live in it again. We are torn. Our re-entry to land has been rough and everything feels too complicated and busy compared to our life on the water. We are missing the water enormously and it just feels “wrong” to be away from the sea. We feel a bit like fish out of water here now. Even though we love our friends in New England and it is a charming, lovely place to be; now it feels extremely land locked for us salty sailors.

One thing that we have learned and are experiencing acutely right now, is that every decision is a compromise. We kept hearing people say that about boats, for example the decision to have a boat with a shallow draft has advantages but it is also a compromise in other ways, like losing performance when beating to windward. Our decision to go sailing this past year has brought us priceless experiences, and yet there is also a price to be paid for our decision. And so it goes.

– Capt’n K & Lala

On the road?!

Whew! We did it! In a frenzy of packing, sorting, and anchoring, we got Wee Happy all set to sit and wait for us in Boot Key Harbor while we go back to New England for a few months.

To get Wee Happy ready to weather any storms (it is technically hurricane season now) that might roll through while we are gone, we took everything off deck: the sails, the boom, the dodger, the bimini, etc. Stripped her down and now she looks bare naked. Captain K then divised a three anchor mooring system that involved investing in a few new big anchors and some more chain, and we spent the better part of an entire afternoon getting the anchors all set, with several hours spent talking to the various boat neighbors who stopped by to consult with us on the subject. Captain K had to dive down on the anchors to make sure they were set properly and the visibility in mucky Boot Key Harbor was about 1 foot, which means he about hit the anchor with his face before he could even see it! YUCK!

On one of our last days there we finally saw our first manatee in Florida! it was right by the dinghy dock, and was so friendly we could pet it. They are super weird looking.

We pulled out of Marathon yesterday in our spiffy rental car filled with stuff we are taking back, including our two cats. Our cats are SO good about travelling, and we are so proud of them. No meowing or whining, they just sit quietly and cuddle. It will probably be even weirder for them than us to be back on land, as they havent been off the boat in 8 months, except for Mojo, who was lost for 2 weeks back in October.

So we are getting our land legs back, and are currently speeding down Interstate 95, covering more miles in just a few hours of car travel than we could do in days of travel in Wee Happy. It’s mind blowing to be going this fast after so many months of slow travel.

We decided to drive straight through, and just make it back in 30 hours. Somehow we made it through the night, and our big stop has been to have breakfast “South of the Border”, which is an uber cheesy, gigantic tourist trap complex that is the size of a small town. It is in South Carolina just south of the border of North Carolina. This place rivals Wall Drug in its use of thousands of stupid billboards for at least 100 miles before the exit, and by the time we finally reached the stupid place, we just had to stop and check it out.

Also known as Pedroland, it features a hilarious number of concrete statues of Mexicans wearing ridiculously large sombreros, among other things. We had a terrible but cheap breakfast and went on our way. I would have taken better photos but my camera seems to be unhappy being away from the marine environment and is on the fritz again.

So far everything looks the same as anywhere else in America along the interstate with the chain stores, but it is shockingly green and lush here in the Carolinas. Wish we had tome to stop and enjoy it a bit but we have work and stuff we have to get back to up north.

Stay tuned, however, as the adventure is far from over.

– Capt’n K & Lala

The Marathon to Marathon

We are sailing our way down to Marathon in the final leg of this portion of Wee Happy’s journey. In fact today is probably our last day of sailing her for awhile. We have had perfect sailing weather too, what a blessing. East-northeast winds at around 15 knots has made for some awesome days of broad reaching. We have been cruising down Hawk Channel, which is wonderfully free of crab pots this time of year. We are about the only boat out on the water, too, except for the Customs and Border Patrol boat that stopped us yesterday to make sure we had cleared in with Customs when we returned from the Bahamas. (I guess somebody IS watching! good thing we went to all that trouble to check in!)
There aren’t too many anchorages along this part of the Keys that dont require long detours over to the Gulf side, and last night we ended up anchoring near John Pennecamp state park in the mangroves, where the mosquitoes came out at night to devour us. It was a long bloody battle in the cabin of Wee Happy last night. We got up at first light and enjoyed a spectacular sunrise as we were setting out for the day.

And so here we are, sailing along towards Marathon, where we will arrive this afternoon, just in time for a happy hour drink with our friends who are waiting for us there.
I am having a lot of mixed feelings about the end of our trip. I know that the journey continues always and other adventures await. We have been so blessed with a wonderful cruise! We have learned so much and grown so much by traveling this way together, and it will be interesting to see how this experience continues to work its changes in us as we move back to land, if only temporarily. We both would like to keep cruising, and we have both fallen in love with the “salt life”. Indeed, we have actually become salty sailors now. Before, I only superficially understood what it meant to be “salty”. Now I am starting to understand. This may sound strange, but I actually feel that the experience of literally being covered in salt for weeks on end has transformed us inside and outside. And I like how it feels. Aside from our back and neck pain from being cramped in this uncomfortably small boat, both of us have noticed that we feel better than ever since we have been living on the sea. Captain K’s chronic sinus problems have vanished, and some mysterious vague health issues I had been having are also gone. It will be interesting to see if or how quickly they return back in New England. The thought of living away from the salt air and the blue horizon makes me want to cry, and I know I am going to miss this as soon as we leave.
Not that we are leaving this forever. Although our plans are still very unknown and we have a remarkable number of unanswered questions about what exactly comes next for us, we have decided that we want to continue cruising. Whether we will do it in Wee Happy or another boat, and whether we will be able to pull it off soon or in a year or two is undecided, but neither of us can really imagine just going back to land and living a so-called normal life.
A “normal” life does sound pretty good, too. After 8 months of living in a space the size of some people’s walk in closet, it will be a delight to do some “normal” things. Like cook in a kitchen that is bigger than 2 square feet, and not rocking from side to side. It will be great to have clothes hanging in a closet, and a real bathroom with a mirror bigger than 4 inches.
We are particularly looking forward to the huge king sized bed we have in New England. Aaahhh, the simple things…..
I have been writing some lengthy posts lately, so I better let you all get back to work.
Until later,
– Capt’n K & Lala

P.S. this is what our cat Mojo has been up to lately: