The Caribbean 1500 is probably the most expensive and exciting thing to occur on Miramar to date. We have made hundreds additions to our beloved boat that include things I didn't know even existed and a price tag I wish didn’t exist. I admit that I face the oncoming rally with a mixture of fear/unease and elation/bravado. Three years of sailing and living aboard has taught me that the perfect sailing days are glorious and the frightening ones are the ones that make you feel alive.
A year ago, we brought our boat to Deltaville,Virginia for a few "quick repairs". During a previous stay in Baltimore, junk floating in the harbor exposed some poor repairs in the hull above the waterline that had been made sometime in the nebulous past before we owned the boat. We also asked the yard to look into a leak letting water into our v-berth when sailing into the wind, which ultimately led to us getting a brand new bowsprit, custom built and replacing the old which was discovered to be rotten.
The southern flow of the Labrador Current and the northern flow of the Gulf Stream collide off of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. This disturbs the water and forms shifting shallow sandbars known as the Diamond Shoals up to 14 miles offshore that have sunk enough boats to earn the area the nickname the "Graveyard of the Atlantic". That is why we have repeatedly avoided going outside around the cape on our previous trips up and down the coast, instead favoring a three-day trip inside on "the ditch" as the Intracoastal Waterway is often referred.
After a few days cruising inside on the Intracoastal Waterway, we were excited to finally be heading outside again to the open Atlantic Ocean. The weather forecasts told us that we'd have to wait a few days in Beaufort, North Carolina for favorable conditions, including Thanksgiving Day, so we hiked to the local health food store in search of a well-raised turkey. Amazingly enough, an hour or so before closing time the night before Thanksgiving we found one previously happy turkey on the freezer shelf, and though it was spoken for, the store owner called the person who ordered it confirming they actually had ordered it for Christmas. She kindly sold it to us, ordering them another from a local farm. We carried our 15 pound bird and various other supplies Jamie needed to prepare a decadent feast for two back to the boat.
Thanksgiving Day my wife was up to start cooking by 8am, while I stared at my computer screen and caught up with work. My stomach was rumbling by noon as the boat had filled with amazingly distracting smells hinting at what was to come. We ate early, by 3pm, as I'd promised to take Jamie to see Harry Potter after the meal. When we finally sat down to eat, the food proved to be truly wonderful, and it stocked our ice box with ample (excessive even) leftovers for our upcoming trip outside, most significantly with endless bags of turkey.
The three months we planned to spend on the Oregon coast while Jamie worked at the Tillamook hospital were extended to seven months. We loved our Oceanside home and each other enough to get married there on the beach in front of family and friends. Despite the weather forecast, it turned out being a beautiful day complete with wonderful friends, tasty food and fine music. Returning to Boston, we found the boat in good shape, though looking ever more in need of love and maintenance. We were eager to head south, but had found a great home at the East Boston Shipyard and Marina where we were taken care of like family, complete with colorful and endlessly helpful neighbors also living aboard their boats.
My day job prevented us from heading south right away and forced us to make the final push through New York City, down the New Jersey coast, up the Delaware and into the Chesapeake in a last minute hurry and in less than ideal conditions. We arrived in Annapolis, Maryland a couple of days before our scheduled flight to Copenhagen for a work conference, a visit with friends in Sweden and Italy, and our honeymoon. There was a significant amount of trepidation to be had leaving our boat in the hands of people we'd only just met at the Annapolis Harbor Boatyard, and whom we didn't yet realize would become our hosts and friends for three months. The original plan was to check our rigging, paint our mast, and perform some basic maintenance before continuing on our way south, running from the cold of winter.
There was still a lot to do in our last couple days in Paris. I had arrived in France with a huge list of things to see and I was determined to do the important ones. Laura and I dragged our boys out of bed to breakfast at a restaurant nearby. Jeremy decided he would surprise me and pick up my ring at the jewelers where it was being sized to fit my finger. While we waited for our breakfast he claimed to need to use the restroom and disappeared. The whole plan began to backfire when the jewelers turned out to be really busy.
Jeremy and I had an apartment rented in Paris for the week of the conference. I admit I had been looking forward to this. It is nice to have a place to leave our bags and I had been dreaming about an actual bath tub for months. Once off the train we rushed across town to the apartment and nearly missed Fabien, who manages the rental. He was very understanding, but he was late for another meeting and gave us a very quick run through of everything. This became problematic later when I attempted to use the washer/dryer.
I have been looking forward to writing these blogs the whole time I was in France and now that I am here in front of my computer in an American coffee shop I feel a little overwhelmed. Where does one start?! From the beginning, I guess. I will split it into 3 parts in order to avoid the world's longest blogs. This blog will contain more than the usual number of photos. However, I feel the need to state that the pictures simply don't do justice to much of what we saw. France was an amazing adventure and I am glad I get to share it with you.
I really liked Block Island, but the pull to keep on moving hit. (along with the desire for a cheaper place to keep the boat). We headed out with Salem, Massachusetts in mind as a final destination. I had researched the area thoroughly when I thought I had a job opening there and it was very affordable.
We've been living aboard our sailboat now for over half a year, though for much of it the learning curve was too steep to know how to make things more comfortable. We've reached our summer destination, New England, which has allowed us to slow down a little and focus on fixing things and generally improving life aboard the boat. That said, the list of what's left may as well be endless, as the list seems to grow quicker than we can mark things off.