February 18, 2015


I remember when I was young waiting for my Dad to come home to give me a spanking. The torment was in the waiting. I would sit and worry. I would wonder what time he would arrive home, what his mood would be, how much it would hurt and how many spankings I would get. The torment truly was in the waiting. Once he arrived home and the spanking was getting closer, the torment would get worse. Sometimes he would wait until after dinner which just prolonged the worry. When the spanking finally happened I had already basically endured more pain through worry than the spanking could ever deliver.

I was reminded of this last night as we sailed from Nevis to Guadeloupe. It was 1:30am and I was on watch. Alex had just headed down below to bed and Graham was about to catch some sleep stretched out in the cockpit. I said to him as he was about to close his eyes …”but what about those squall clouds up ahead?” He said, “Well if there is any wind in them we will just reef.”

This brought me zero comfort. We were sailing as close to the wind as possible, with both our jib and our main all the way out and hardened as tight as possible. Salty Ginger was doing great but for my first overnight sail it was stressful. We were healed over on this point of sail as the wind pushes against the very hard sails and leans us over. I should mention that Graham and Alex have been sailing quite a bit on our friend's Tanner and Shari’s boat “Blue Peter”. Tanner max’s out Blue Peter, so they both kept saying…”this is nothing, you should see how much further we can heal.” I think they are both now use to a 70 degree heal which is NOT comfortable cruising.  It was so dark, only a sliver of the moon and there was big swell and as Salty Ginger cut through the water on her side we would sometimes pound over the waves with a crash. Graham and Alex were so calm that I didn’t want to let them down but it is so hard for me not to show my emotions. I sucked on my rescue remedy lozenges and hummed “kay-sa-rah, sa-rah, whatever will be, will be, the future’s not ours to see, kay-sa-rah, sa-rah” to myself. This did help a bit….but back to my story.

There I sat on watch with the squall clouds coming closer and Graham and Alex sleeping soundly. The waiting was torment. The winds would gust and I would wonder if it was the squall. I had my hands tightly on the main sheet ready to ease the sheet if the winds gust any higher. I could see the rain coming off the clouds, so I got out my rain jacket and stood ready with my tether on. I found that the heel was manageable if I stood in the middle of the cockpit under the dodger. When I sat on the low side it was to close to the water for me and when I sat on the high side it made me too aware of how high I was. Three hours passed as I waited in torment, playing out in my head what might happen in the darkness. Long story short…as we finally began to pass under the clouds they had moved off to the East and had begun to dissipate. They brought no wind or rain only my stomach ache. Graham woke up and my watch came to an end and Alex and Graham have been having a good laugh ever since about “Mom’s STORM clouds.” I just realized that I haven’t mention Ms. Millie. She was her normal happy sailing self, reading, watching shows and sleeping soundly. 

We arrived at a beautiful anchorage in Iles Des Saintes, Guadeloupe. Iles Des Saintes is a group of small French islands with gorgeous beaches, awesome hiking , great snorkelling spots and banquettes! We are tied up to a mooring ball and are planning to stay for a week. School and boat projects begin again tomorrow but for today we were totally tourists with the kayak’s and floaties in the water and drinks in hand.

You would think after all these years I would realize that there is some worry that serves no purpose. I am open to ideas for how not to let the anticipation of what might lay ahead not drive me crazy.

February 11, 2015

Another Adventure Begins

I am trying to remember how we arrived at this latest plan. I don’t remember one defining moment where we made the decision but I think it was last year when Alex decided he was going to take a gap year before University. We thought it might be a good time to do a “final” adventure trip with the kids before our lives begin to take us in different directions. The plan was to leave for basically one semester of Amelia’s school. The actual plan regarding where to sail has gone through many different iterations and even now that we have arrived this continues to be the topic of conversation.

To bring you up to speed, this adventure began with us moving out of our rental mid-December. We bunked at Rob’s for a week and then flew back to Alberta for two weeks at Christmas. Packing was challenging; bags for another month of work and school, bags for Christmas, bags for the boat and bags for storage. We seem to be getting better and better though at living in chaos and prepping for departure. I remember how I use to plan and make a ton of lists. Now it just seems like second nature.
After Christmas Alex, Graham and Andrew (Alex’s friend) left the snow and cold and headed down to Salty Ginger in Antigua to get her in ship shape and positioned in St. Martin for Amelia and my arrival in early February. Their first sail was overnight to Nevis and then they island hopped to St. Kitts and finally to St. Martin. Andrew flew back home early February and Amelia and I arrived a few days later. The boys had lots of stories to share but most of them started with “…and beer was only a buck….” I get the impression they lived for happy hour every day ;-).

Arriving at the boat was surreal. I was working 10 hour days up until the day before we left and running errands in any extra time I had. The temperature was way in the negatives and snow and ice was the name of the game, making everything that much harder. Needless to say when the plane landed and Amelia and I stepped out to the top of the stairs that they had pushed up to the airplane…..we paused for a moment like diva’s with our shades on and smiled to the Caribbean sun gods.

Graham and Alex were waiting for us, all tanned and more muscles than I remembered. They grabbed our 55 lb duffle bags and whisked us off to a car they had rented. They had Salty Ginger at dock to ease our transition and to make provisioning that much easier. Needless to say I felt very spoiled with a car and a boat at dock. What had happened to “Perry Style”?

We have now fully stocked the boat. The prices in St Martin are unbelievable and the selection is unmatched in any of the other islands we have visited. We decided to get everything from a dry goods perspective that we would need for the 6 months. We have packed every nook and cranny with food and we made an inventory of where we have put everything since the first night we wanted something and we had to rip everything apart to find it.

Graham has been working to install a super duper water maker. He was hoping to have this done
before we arrived but the parts took longer than he had hoped to arrive. The boat has been in shambles with the provisioning and his installation. He is almost finished now. Today he was sawing wood to make a partition and running 15 feet of hose through the floor boards. He is in heaven. He loves this stuff. He said the water maker installation kit was like a giant Kinect kit. It isn't all fun and games though, yesterday he was deep in under the sink in the kid’s bathroom and he lost hold of his screw driver. He heard it roll all the way down under the floor boards to a hard to reach area. The next 2 hours were spent with each of us trying to reach way down this small opening to see if we could feel it, then building a noose to try and grab it and then Alex with a tiny mirror and flashlight at one side of the opening and Graham on the other side trying to noose the screw driver with Alex giving him directions.  Don’t forget to add the heat when you are imagining this. Success was sweet though. Graham says his ratcheting Snap-On screw driver is the gold star of screw drivers, so I am happy he got it.

We have also had time to have some fun. Graham turned 45 on the 7th and we headed down to the cruiser pub for a party. There was a get together planned with Bob Bitchin from the Cruising Outpost magazine. We have been reading his magazine forever so it was very cool to meet him. The afternoon didn't quite go as planned though. Our teenagers had arrived at the beach a few hours ahead of us and little did we know they had already polished off a bucket of beer for $10. When we arrived we bought everyone a round including Bob and the kids tore into it. Needless to say a valuable lesson was learned that night and we quickly realized that cruising with teens will have its own set of challenges and we need to set the rules asap. We did manage to get a nice family photo with Bob before things got too crazy.

We are now out at anchor and the car is returned and homeschooling has begun. Life is feeling much more normal. We have also all agreed on a sail plan which is shocking. We are leaving in the next few days to Grenada! We will then sail north, island hopping to St. Lucia where the kid’s friends will arrive for March break and then fingers crossed….THE GROMITS will arrive!

The Gromits are our friends from Canada who we started off on our around the world sail together in 2008. We met up with them in Panama and sailed together side by side to Tahiti. We conquered many firsts together. They continued sailing long after we had returned to Canada and soon they will make their final leg across the Atlantic to the Caribbean to the point where they will join their starting line! We are very excited to meet up with them and sail our two boat together back to the USA.

Well there you have it, you are all caught up. Hope I have a good sailing story for you next time we chat!