There was a plan. The plan was to buy a boat, spend some time sailing her, and then head off for adventures unknown while we circumnavigated the globe.
That was the plan.
How hard could that possibly be? Okay, yes. Challenging. We knew it would be challenging. At times, heart-breakingly maddening, some times boring, most times mentally and physically debilitating, certain times trying our patience, and all the time crazily expensive. We had read books, followed blogs, watched videos, taken courses, and gotten our hands “dirty” doing a DIY refitting and outfitting of our 45 foot classic sailboat. Oh, and sailed. We did actually sail.
It was October (2017), and after a summer of us working on the house, the tenants, the boat, and my now-in-stasis-business, John was ready for me to join him for liveaboard life, and we were almost ready to ship off. Well, let me rephrase that. We were far from “ready”. There were still lots of things to be done. But it was October and we got as much completed as we possibly could and figured we could do the rest while underway. We would manage.
And then the transmission blew.
“Michelle and I were getting too complacent, with everything going reasonably smooth as our departure window loomed. But worry not friends, as the transmission had our backs, committing ritual suicide after a Friday evening sail, resulting in Cirque du Soleil docking maneuvers. My morning coffee drinking team (Marina mechanics) shared a moment of laughter and chagrin then somehow found me a rebuilt replacement in short order. it should arrive Thursday. And the peasants rejoice.” – John’s message via our FB page – October 2nd, 2017.
Okay. New transmission installed over thanksgiving weekend with the speedy expertise of competent mechanics. With the engine sounding less like a chronic asthmatic smoker on crutches than it ever had before, I piled my carefully chosen and sorted belongings into my brother’s mini-van, left my mom to an empty house after a seven month long visit (sorry, mom) and moved down to the boat. It was the eve of October 9th. We planned to depart that Friday. October 13th. Friday October 13th. Yeah, I know.
The next morning we ran errands, had lunch, ran more errands. I was on the phone once again trying to get a hold of the new insurance broker that was recommended to us, and whom I’d been in talks with for months. He still didn’t have insurance for us south of the 40th parallel. With the crazy hurricanes that had hit the Caribbean and Southern US the season prior (Harvey, Maria, Irma) causing billions of dollars in damage, most insurance underwriters didn’t want to take on new boats. But not to worry he said, they would figure something out before we got there. But time and trust were two things that I didn’t have much of any more.
The following morning we spent a frustrating time traipsing around Toronto attempting to find parts to properly hook up our propane tanks so we could have an operating stove and oven in our galley. We took a break for a late breakfast in a somewhat awful little diner that was suggested to us (I really have to stop following other people’s recommendations) when I habitually flipped on my phone while waiting for our order to arrive. I had a Facebook comment waiting for me from a fellow sailor on a recent post. It basically read, “Have you left yet? We just got through the canal system and they closed it right behind us. It’s early… I’m not sure why they would do that so early.”
(I know it says it was posted by me but it was written by John… I’m not the one likely to use the phrase “randy caribou” though I’m appreciative that he does.)
We made phone calls. This time it wasn’t to insurance agents and data phone companies, it was to my mother. “So… how do you feel about possibly me coming back? With John? For the winter?”
Let me just say that I’m incredibly happy that my mother and I are very, VERY, close. And were about to be closer. Again.
So we drove back to mom’s farm. We made decisions, we made arrangements, and slept in what would be our home for another seven months.
October 14th, 2017. It was moving day. The weather imitated our mood.
We made our way over to Hamilton Harbour from Jordan Station. As much as we liked being at Beacon Harbourside, they didn’t have the best facilities for working on the boat over the winter. We were tired. We were resigned. We rationalized that we made the best decision. Now all that was left was to play chicken with the Burlington Canal Lift Bridge (which we did, unsuccessfully, several times) and find our new home at the Harbour West Marina Boat Yard.