Monday, February 2, 2009


There she sat. Quietly, proudly, and aside for some fish carcasses left over from an osprey who had taken up residence on my mainmast, and a bit of moss and mold, she was more or less just as I had left her 6 months ago.

Leaving British Columbia was bittersweet. While very anxious to get back to Annie Laurie, I was not anxious at all to leave Squamish. Many times throughout my life, the desire to get out of town or away from certain people has dictated my mo

vement, but aside from not being on the ocean, I had no good reason to leave Squamish. Kellie and Dan were ideal roommates and are great friends, along with becoming Mary-Anne’s adoptive parents. My very brief stint with

the Squamish pipe band added another dimension to my attempted construction of a real life, and I’ll miss the socialbility of the Sunday night practices with everyone. Last but by no means least, I’ll miss Starbucks,

and most of the people I worked with. I’ve been so busy in the last 10 days preparing the boat for the Bahamas

, I’ve hardly given the place a second thought, but I do think of the people. Especially the rare moments of quiet early on Sunday mornings, when my friend Ross and I would just relax and chat about everything under the sun, and I would easily forget that I was at work, and was in fact talking with the store manager.

It’s exactly what I try not to do. Find a place I like, people I lo

ve, and begin establishing a regular way of life. There always comes the time to pull the plug, and it only makes it harder to move on. All of this compounded with the mistake of going downhill skiing for the first time on a real West Coast mountain a week before my flight. Like I needed

another reason not to leave.

So here I am, back in Florida, preparing to leave for the Bahamas. It’s just Effie and I this time around, but my apprehension about sailing to new and shallow waters by myself has been substantially alleviated by all the help I’ve received from both Bill and Shirley (my boat-sitters) as well as Don, Trish, and Cheryl, fellow Nova Scotians aboard Road to the Isles, who I sailed with in Cuba last winter. They have more collective experience with sailing and the accompanying lifestyle than I can fathom, and the necessary humor and stories to match. I’v

e spent most of my evenings aboard Road to the Isles, as well as the colder nights. I know it’s Florida, but believe me when I say, it’s cold! We’ve had a few nighttime lows that have surpassed the lows for the week in Squamish. The breeze flows freely through this wooden boat, and I wake with the cold sun earlier than I can bring myself to appreciate. If it wasn’t for Effie being a threat to Jib’s territory (Road to the Isles’ resident cat), I would probably spend all my nights in

their warm spare cabin and with their good company.

I’m not particularly looking forward to certain aspects of the upcoming voyage, especially the thoughts of being alone for extended periods of time. In anticipation of this, I decided to splurge and invest in a subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio to keep me company. I’ve had it playing in the background for 5 days now while I get the boat ready, and let me tell you, it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Having the

option of CBC while in the odd world of Fox ‘news’, not to mention a choice of music for any mood, it’s well worth the $13 a month.

I’ve completed running all my halyards and sheets, and the sails are back where they’re supposed to be. I’ve replaced my batteries, both for starting my engine, as well as supplying electricity for my lights and radios, replaced the oxidized and crumbling anchor chain with new, and have completed a thorough scrub-down of the mold-factory the boat became after sitting dormant for six months.

With just a few odds and ends to contend with, I'll be ready to head down the

Intracoastal Waterway tomorrow morning. Later in the week I will reconvene with Road to the Isles at West Palm Beach, where we'll wait for a favorable weather window to cross the Gulf Stream and the final 60 miles or so to the Bahamas.

All in all, it's good to be home.