The Seven Month Separation

June 11, 2018

When we bought the boat, John and I made a deal.  He would let his massage therapy practice go so he could do all the packing and renovations on the house to prep it for renting and do the primary renovations and research on the boat to prep for our trip while I continued working.  It was a good deal.  I was admittedly already geared to work crazy hours and in the long run, the money I made went further as he was doing the majority of the work.  Over the winter, which was my slow season in wedding and portrait photography, I picked up extra jobs.  I worked far too early hours at our farmers market for a local butcher. I became an assistant baker for a friend’s catering company over Christmas and found myself a niche in icing hundreds of snowflake cookies. I ran a workshop in phone photography for a cake decorating school.  Anything to get us to the end goal.

By March, John was working on moving out all the furniture and refinishing all of the floors.  I was just about to leave for a destination wedding in Mexico and suggested that I just move in with my mom after my return.  That way I’d be out of his way, and I could work on editing the photos from the wedding without being surrounded by construction.  We figured it would take him a month or two to complete everything and then we would be able to move on to the boat together for the summer.

We’ve learned however, nothing tends to go to plan.

As John worked on the house, another issue would pop up.  He found old knob and tube wiring (our house was built in 1925) still in the walls and ceiling that the previous owners never removed when they upgraded the electrical.  It would all have to come out.  He would be working on that and then find a new leak… or have some issue with another part of our almost-century home.  The house took precedence and the boat renovations waited.  I on the other hand had gone from having four photographers that were supposed to keep my business functional while we were gone, to one… which wouldn’t work with the way we had set everything up.  No hard feelings to any of them, life happens, I totally understand. But now I had to find a way to put my business into stasis while socially supporting the one photographer that we had all inadvertently abandoned.  (So sorry, Crystal!)  Our goal date of June 1st turned into July 1st and then turned into August 1st.

Our new tenants moved in in August, only a handful of hours after John had moved out.  He went to the boat and refocused.

I stayed at mom’s.  It was more convenient than trying to be on the boat while Jon attempted to work on it.  I mostly concentrated on sewing the sail covers, and making our new beds and cushions for both the salon and cockpit.  Where John was the planner, the architect, the labour, I was the administration: working on getting our radio licences and trying to make sense of the ludicrous world of boat insurance.  I dealt with all the money and paperwork headaches; he dealt with the engineering, mechanics, and blood-letting.

The bimini and dodger were made.  Solar panels, batteries, and lazy jacks added.  A new stove and fridge were installed to the galley that John had basically stripped down to nothing and rebuilt from scratch.  The composting head replaced the old head and tank. A million other things I’ll probably never know about were done.  But the most impactful moment was when John finally took down our boat’s old name and graced our Bayfield with her new name: Outlandish

We met up only on decent weather days to take the boat out on the lake, to honestly do nothing but remind ourselves why we were slogging through all of this.  Some friends and family came out from time to time for a sail or to offer a hand but despite the moments of enjoying our boat on the water, we consistently had it in the back of our minds that summer was moving quickly and would soon be at an end.

Despite unfinished projects and some logistics that still needed to be solved – including my moving onto the boat – we still had plans on leaving in October. The plan was to make our way through the New York Canal System to the Intercostal Waterway and then down to the Caribbean.  My goal was to join John by the beginning of October which would mean that we would have been living apart for seven months… all for the greater good, right?  I suppose we would get sick of each other soon enough.  Three hundred-ish square feet of boat living space with no where to go to when life got challenging was going to be an adventure all in itself…



Michelle Kauntz
Wild Blue Yonder

Seems you've found us. I'm one half of the charming and somewhat frustrating duo that is John & Michelle. (I'm Michelle) We once had this one-day idea that we wanted to sail around the world. We made a five year plan. After ten years of talking and two years of prepping and postponing, we are finally underway. Feel free to follow us and live vicariously though our pratfalls and adventures as we take our almost-as-old-as-John Bayfield 40 Cutter Ketch out of the safety of Lake Ontario and out into the world. On a shoestring budget. With two fiercely independent people. In basically 300-ish square feet of living space and with not a heck of a lot of sailing experience (yet) ...This is going to be fun...

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