Sunday, November 25, 2007

Life Doesn't Always Go As Planned

Winds weren't favorable and charts were scarce for heading up the Delaware Bay, so we decided to head offshore and go direct to Norfolk, Virginia. Justine (Ed's sister) joined us in Cape May, arriving late in the evening but ahead of schedule, not knowing where to find the boat. Of the many docks and marinas, she asked the cab driver to drop her off at the one across the street from where we were moored. I just happened to be on a payphone at that other marina, and after only a few weeks in the States, it's pretty easy to spot a Canadian. We had never met, neither of us knew what the other looked like, and she walked right up and interrupted my call with, "Are you Laura?! Oh thank God!"

We met a lovely Canadian couple in a neighbouring boat, with whom we shared a couple of great evenings, cooking dinner for each other, and sharing stories of our journeys thus far. Before leaving Cape May, we arrived back at the boat after an afternoon ashore, and the entire starboard side of the boat was loaded with groceries. We know who the culprits were. (Thank-you Mike, Jan, and Beauty! We never got to say goodbye, perhaps see you down the road again one day soon!)

It was miserable weather when we left New Jersey; rainy and windy and cold. Once outside the breakwater, we could add 'bumpy' to that list. It was great wind for making some good distance, but it was not so easy on our stomachs. I commend Justine for not 'swallowing the anchor' after that first passage with us. It was as bad as any hazing ritual one could imagine, but she's still here, and the beckon of Cuba is allowing us to overcome the current temporary discomforts.
Ed decided to head home to Scotia after arriving in Norfolk. I understand his reasons and am very appreciative of the fact that he was so open with me about his intentions and that he made sure he wasn't leaving me in a lurch. We didn't know each other very well when he joined the boat in Surrette's Island, and I was relying on the recommendation of a couple of friends that he would be excellent crew. He had so much initiative when it came to taking care of the boat and getting things done, and was very attentive, responsible, and reliable with navigation. He was absolutely everything that Dave and Logan said he would be, and I will miss him.

It was his wish to be rowed across to the other wharf for a final voyage in the dingy, even though we were actually dockside at the time. Justine and I said our goodbyes and got back in the dingy. I think it was probably due to my knot-job when we got back to the mothership that night, but when we awoke in the morning, the dingy was gone. As much as I complained about how ugly it was, and how it was next-to-impossible to row in a straight line, it was actually a convenient thing to have! Justine and I borrowed a dingy and did an extensive search down the eastern branch of the river where the north winds of the last few days would have likely carried it, but we returned empty handed. We need to find another one soon, as we will be anchoring more and more as we head further south.

In preparation for warmer weather, we have begun painting the boat white. It will take quite a few coats and a bit getting used to, but it's standard practise when a boat is going to be exposed to the hot tropical sun.

Today, Justine and I are going to tear ourselves away from this lovely cafe we've enjoyed in Portsmouth for the last few days since we crossed the river from Norfolk. We are bound for a dock just north of the Great Bridge Lock, where we are going to see my friend Ben this evening, an old shipmate from the 130ft brigantine Eye of the Wind. We sailed together for 8 months about four years ago, travelling from the Caribbean to Denmark together and I haven't seen him since we said goodbye somewhere near Copenhagen. There's nothing quite like seeing old friends !