If the toque and fleece jacket that I just hauled out of the bottom of the locker weren’t enough of a clue, the “S” pattern of our route as we dodge lobster buoys should be more than enough: we’re in Maine!
We left Georgia three weeks and 1200 miles ago.
We made the trips in a series of overnight hops — 8 nights in total to get here — starting with a 2-night passage (Brunswick, GA to Carolina Beach, NC), a 3-night jump (Carolina Beach, NC to Cape May, NJ), and then a series of single night hops (Cape May to Sandy Hook after our starter went up in a poof of smoke off Long Island, then Sandy Hook to the Cape Cod Canal where we stopped to change fuel filters — again! — and get some sleep, and finally Cape Cod to Maine).
We’d originally conspired to try doing it in one single-week-long passage, but life had other plans. We’ve at least made it in August 🙂
Jon and I joked that while the majority of cruisers are leaving Maine over Labor Day weekend, here we are just arriving! Nothing like shoulder season cruising to guarantee empty anchorages (and many layers of fleece) in our future!
Zephyr has been a champion through all of this. It does seem that he gets a little green on the first day of passages, especially if it’s not just completely flat, but he bounced back remarkably quickly each time.
Oh and when I say “bounced back”, I mean it quite literally. He’s discovered that he can use the momentum of the waves to propel his little body hurling across the settees, using the handrail to get a flying start as he leaps from one side of the boat to the other.
It’s a built in jungle gym and while I’m pretty sure my parents NEVER let us jump around on the settees when we were kids, it’s one way to burn some of his little body’s energy off!
We had a few “exciting” moments along the way — the first day out of Georgia being the absolute worst, but the starter smoke show, the persistent fuel issues (which caused the engine to either die or hunt RPMs — a sound that strikes terror in my feeble heart, especially knowing we had some serious current passes to navigate, like the Cape Cod Canal), and leerily watching Hurricane Henri come for us also make the list.
These were balanced by some of the magical moments — spinnaker sailing around Hatteras and actually again on three other days, watching a whale put on an incredible splash show at 2am (okay that was half in the anxiety category too haha), spotting three 5-foot sharks checking out the surface off Long Island, and even seeing a good-sized tuna leap right out of the ocean (maybe related to those sharks???) which neither of us remember seeing on this coast.
And now we’re here! Brio II has never been to Maine — at least not with us — and we haven’t sailed in Maine since we left with a 6-month old baby in 2018 — so it feels pretty damn wonderful to be here.
You know, before all this — when we were still sitting on the edge, debating the merits of keeping a full-time paycheque vs quitting my job and giving cruising a real go again — I told a friend that I just wanted to feel alive again. The juggle was catching up to me, and it felt like we were doing the work of boat life without the benefit.
I listened to Enya’s “Wild Child” on repeat, holding on to that opening verse for all its worth —
“Ever close your eyes
Ever stop and listen
Ever feel alive
Like there’s nothing missing?”
And then my friend reminded me of something critical: feeling alive doesn’t mean feeling happy 100% of the time. Part of being alive is that there’s a 50/50 of ups and downs, and that’s a good thing — cuz if you were just 100% happy all the time what would be the point of any of of it?!?
We need the hard times, the sad times, the challenging I-want-a-condo-in-Colorado-times to remind us of just how special the sunrises and spinnaker sails really are.
Three weeks in, I can confidently say the Brio trio are feeling very ALIVE these days
Bring on the pumpkin spice and toques 🙂