Leaving home, even if only for a year, is harder than we thought. We moved to Ottawa in 1982, settled in, made friends, raised a family and it feels like home now. This past weekend, we had our official Bon Voyage party with all our family, friends and neighbours. The absolute best part of it was that the entertainment was provided by all our talented musician friends.
I think (I hope) I talked to everyone who came; if I missed saying hi to anyone, my apologies! All night long I just kept thinking, “How great is this to have all these friends in one spot to wish us well on our travels!” The ear-to-ear grins on our faces will take a long while to fade.
Keeping us on solid ground here in Ottawa is primarily Blair’s work (he is busy til the end of May) plus some last minute things that keep cropping up. Most importantly, we want to grab some quality time with close friends and family.
We’re just starting to realize how long a year can be. Derek and Wendy helped us cut down two trees in our adjoining yards and when they said the wood would be dry enough to burn when we come back next year, I had a sudden heart clutch as to how long we will actually be gone and started thinking about what I am going to miss. Number one on my list of “will miss” is Sandy’s calm and confidence and Brooklyn’s joie de vie. When they visit us in the Bahamas, all will be right in our world.
Because we’ve been trying to tidy things up at home, Strathspey has been sitting at Trident Yacht club gathering dust (pollen) since May 12th. We’ve been moving things aboard but not doing the requisite unpacking (actually I have to confess that it is me not doing the unpacking). Last week, I moved stacks of charts and guidebooks aboard Strathspey but they didn’t get any further than the settees in the main cabin. I’m overwhelmed thinking about where to put everything we need for this next year. I don’t get any further than “where the heck are the guitar, bagpipes and violin going?” Sure, they aren’t necessary for the efficient functioning of the boat but they are good for the soul and this is what this year of cruising is aiming for.
We’ve actually not even thought about any of the usual items you’d normally pack when going on a trip so that tells you how skewed your thought processes get when going nautical. Sharon McC asked me how I was going to do laundry on the boat and although I blithely said “oh there will be laundromats in the marinas”, I have a feeling that it just isn’t that easy. To give you an idea of the space we have for clothes and personal items, there are six 12x3x12 inch drawers under our berth (enough room for six packs of printer paper if we had room for a printer, which we don’t). There is a cupboard with four shelves, 12x4x6 and one other cupboard in which we could possibly hang six shirts; shirts that need no ironing that is. So, not a lot of space…. Somehow, clothes seem to be a very minor item in our planning. We’ve spent so much time equipping Strathspey and perhaps five minutes thinking about what kind of clothes to pack. All I know for sure is that we will need polar fleece for our trip down the St Lawrence and bathing suits for the Bahamas – that conjures up a pretty odd fashion statement.
So, we’re in limbo right now; waiting for Blair to finish work, looking forward to doing our shakedown cruise in Lake Ontario to make sure everything works, wanting to hug Sandy and Brooklyn so much that they say “please … leave” and cutting our lawn one last time.
Many people have said to us “oh once you get to the Bahamas, you will just want to keep on going”. I don’t think so. We love sailing and we love the camaraderie of other boaters, seeing new places and the challenges of sailing in unfamiliar waters. But, we have a whole other life here at home that is precious, fulfilling and centers our world. We will be back next June, of that I am sure.