Homecoming

ANZ632-030615-
CHESAPEAKE BAY FROM NEW POINT COMFORT TO LITTLE CREEK VA-
657 AM EDT TUE MARCH 29 2016 

E WINDS 15 KT. BECOMING S IN THE AFTERNOON...WAVES 2 to 3 FT.

Greetings from Gloucester, Virginia! We’ve been back for about 6 weeks now, and I admit dear reader, that I have been avoiding you. I’ve been avoiding writing of our homecoming, of our last days on the boat, I’ve been avoiding trying to sum up our trip. I’ve been avoiding the finality of it. So off with the band aid! We left Elizabeth City, were spoiled sequentially by the crews of “Oceanus” and “Rejoice,” we had an appropriately rainy trip up the Dismal Swamp Canal, we had a great visit with Ryan’s Uncle Brooks and Aunt Lisa in Portsmouth, and as the radio transcript above suggests, we had a bumpy ride out Hampton Roads and up the Chesapeake Bay.

Upon our return to Mobjack Bay, we had a wonderful reunion with Ryan’s family, we were spoiled by the hospitality of friends, and we were warmed by the company of all. Cause all of a sudden it got pretty damn cold. And then, I went back to work, Ryan began looking for work, we moved into a new house, we bought furniture. At times it feels like we never left. Some nights I still wake up to check the anchor. In our bed in our house. Cut the lights…

 

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South Mills Lock

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Motoring North on the Dismal Swamp Canal

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Ryan, the voice of radio “Firefly”

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“Firefly” and “Rejoice.” We were treated to a wonderful Easter meal aboard, thanks guys!

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The anchorage on the Lafayette River, Halloween 2015. Southbound

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26420388141_befb4ae2bf_c Portsmouth!

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Chesapeake Bay aftermath. Definitely should have tied that down, and that, and that…

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“Firefly’s” Old-New Home at Compass Marina! Fantastico!

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“Firefly’s” New-New Home at Mobjack Bay Marina! Inexpensive-O! (also very nice)(but not quite fantastico)

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Free Dinghy Rides!

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East River, Mobjack Bay

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Gun-shy or lazy? Finally had to shake out that 2nd reef

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Poor Bug

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But in consolation, she gets her own themed beer! Courtesy of Ryan’s dad Joe.

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Fig. 12 From the yacht “Aleutka,” photo courtesy of J from Chickadee, who shares my obsession with obscure small yachts, like “Aleutka.” Also, the real lesson of the trip, see below.

I think the lesson* of this trip has been to live in the moment. (*see Fig. 12) The process of getting ready for an adventure is one of expectation, of planning, of forethought. The process of enjoying an adventure is to discard those expectations and allow the journey to take its course. I think. The tension between mindfulness and anticipation is what makes living afloat so beguiling. I love sailing because it forces you to be in the moment, to pay attention to your environment. Meanwhile, life on the water demands forethought and preparation. As we rounded the corner out of the Lafayette River and into Hampton Roads proper, we used all the tricks we had learned these past months to keep “Firefly” moving upwind into the swell. There were several moments in the swirling confluence of the James River, Chesapeake Bay, and the wide Atlantic winds we both considered turning around and trying again another (calmer) day. But “Firefly” could take it, she had taken us this far, and the only flaws she revealed were flaws within ourselves. “Trust the boat” you hear people say. I trust “Firefly,” and at the mouth of Hampton Roads we started to get our mojo back. I trusted myself, I trusted my work on the boat. I trusted Ryan, and she trusted me.  We made our way out the shipping channel and made our turn North. With seas on the beam we rolled heavily, but the more favorable point of sail sped us on our way. By the time we were abreast the York River things were moderating, and when the light at New Point Comfort hove in sight, we were rolling downwind, giddy, unbelieving. We tied up “Firefly,” and walked to our friends Jess and Jared’s house. We had made it home.

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Hand on the tiller, eye on the wind, and mind on the horizon…

...COPY THAT (BRIDGE)(CHICKADEE)(CALISTA)(ELARA)(CORSAIR)(WHISPER)
(REJOICE)(OCEANUS)(GEMINI)(STEAMBOAT)(SKOOCH)(ATOM)(NO QUARTER)(SOULTIDE) 
MOVING BACK TO CHANNEL ONE-SIX, FIREFLY OUT. 

 

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5 thoughts on “Homecoming

  1. Well done, congratulations! So proud of you guys – you know, in that one sailor to another kind of way. Thank you for taking us on your journey. You’ve given us such a clear, direct view into every aspect of your trip, from gizmos and seamanship to emotions and friendship. Your blog is a work of art! And your journey is so inspiring.

    Do let me know how that composting potty worked out for y’all, sometime! 😉

    Let me know when you want to come out to the San Francisco Bay area; I’ll treat you to some California conditions.

    Many happy returns!

    Ernie

  2. I loved the pictures, songs and video – trust, living in the moment and family and friends – there are no greater riches to be acquired!

  3. Awesome Ariel! I had one before Dawn Treader and she was so sweet. I think she is in Carter Creek off the Rapphannock now. I really liked the lesson in our post, very true. Brian

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