Mid-life couple simplifies their lives, and moves onto a sailboat for some adventure. We did it! “Where’s all my stuff?!”
What started out as a beautiful sunny day to sail, ended up being a storm tossed Inland Sea trying it’s best to give me a heart attack. We couldn’t ask for a better day to start, but half way from Toronto Canada to Sodus Point New York, Lake Ontario turned angry. With a tight grip on the wheel and my wife Debra tucked in behind the canvas we rode the ten foot waves as best we could, hoping nothing would break, or God forbid the weather got worse. Our boat rolled and surfed and hissed through the dark blue foamy waters of the Lake and we raced toward our destination. Many times we thought we should bail out to a safe port, but we pressed on, neither of us saying much to each other, with the exception of Deb shouting “Big wave, Big wave!” as the monster hit us from behind and lifted the stern of the boat, pushing her down another wave. After ten hours of this we neared Sodus Point and the waves grew taller as the Sun got lower. At one point I could see the brown of the sand at the base of the wave. Oh no. If I slowed the boat down we wouldn’t make it by nightfall and if I continued this way we could slide beam to the waves which would roll us. With shaking knees I called the Coast Guard to let them know our situation and they maintained radio contact with us the rest of the way. I basically did this so that if we broke up they would be able to identify our remains. Kidding; I actually thought that we might possibly get into a bad situation and I wanted them to know our position. Just in case.
We angled toward the inlet and safety of Sodus Bay and prayed the waves were not at a right angle to us. It turned out the waves kicked us in the butt and through the inlet and we cheered with relief as we raced through the inlet to a dark and lonely Bay. We dropped our sails and motored quietly into the safety of our slip. Debra tied off the boat and walked around on dry land for a while getting her composure, as I secured the deck, waiting for the strength to come back to my legs. I know at some point in that whole scenario I asked myself just what the hell we thought we were doing out here. We were scared, we were wet, and we were tired. Mostly though, we were alive! I mean we felt alive. We felt energized. It’s hard to explain, but we felt like we just had one great adventure and lived to tell about it. Sure it was scary, but it’s an awesome feeling. You look back at what you just did; you look at each other; you hug, and then you laugh. “And we want to do this full time!”
How did we get here?
One day at the office I was day dreaming about anything but work. I wandered off in thought, holding a pencil to paper making it look like I was working (there was no internet back then). I was thinking that there has to be something more to life than engineering, minivans, soccer, hockey, yard work and weekend BBQ. On that paper I was doodling on, I listed all the things I would rather be doing right now other than working.
I always wanted to learn how to sail. I like the water. What the hell, let’s do it. That’s right. Right out of nowhere I was going to become a seafaring dude with a beard and one of those woolly navy caps…and a pipe.
Deb was kind of shocked. It wasn’t the first time I had a crazy idea that sounded ridiculous at first, but ending up being relatively harmless. There was ice hockey in a beer league. Huge fun that was, until stuff started breaking. Not my sticks, my legs. Then there was the hang gliding interest. I only crashed the glider once, and it was in water thank God. If something is going to break on a glider, you want it to happen at thirty feet or less, not two thousand. I finally realized I loved life too much to hang glide. I’m sure Deb was thinking this sailing interest would also turn into just another temporary distraction, or something she wouldn’t have to get involved with.