Author Archives: betheship

Good-bye, Virginia- Hello, North Carolina.

The last time I sat down to write for the blog, we were headed south on the Virginia side of the lower Chesapeake Bay, anchored just north of Deltaville in Little Bay. Our plan was to get to Hampton, VA on Saturday evening for one night, in order to escape the incredible business of going through Norfolk on a Saturday. Opting for the calmer waters of an early Sunday morning. That’s just what we did however; the conditions became very difficult.

We left Little Bay just before sunrise, to benefit from the tide. Unfortunately, the wind picked up out of the east and kicked our beam all the way to the inlet at Norfolk/Hampton. It was a long six hours of rocking, side to side. My giant mug of coffee may have been the make or break factor in whether or not I cried. I drank it all and I did not end up crying, but I did whine, a lot. David’s strategy for this is to pretend he is losing his hearing. Occasionally, however, he can be funny. For example, when I was whining I tried distracting myself by analyzing why there are exactly zero other boats headed to South Carolina or Florida alongside us, suffering too. This led to me draft thinking and talking about animals (not humans) that migrate south: monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, Snow Geese, Canadian Geese, and Humpback Whales. David simply responded by saying we are “Snow Whales”. I thought that was hilarious and I also loved this because whales are one of my spirit animals.

We got by the difficulties and as usual, we were better for accepting the moments just as they came to us. Anyway, I don’t really want to take sides with one kind of natural phenomena or weather over another. It is not in anyone’s best interest to wish for only sun or only rain. I suppose we are at our human best when we acknowledge all the sides of everything. Perhaps this is the root of being whole; of being one. Who wants to love with half a heart anyway? Certainly not this Snow Whale.

Sunrise over the Community Dock in downtown Hampton, VA.

Sunday morning from Hampton through Norfolk was very calm. Only a few cargo ships, Coast Guard boats, Navy ships, and one barge. We left long before the locals would be out celebrating the weekend. It is a long cruise through the city at wake speed. Many miles later, a few railroad bridges and one lock to contend with, and we made our way down the river to Chesapeake, Virginia. This river basin is a magical spot and is the last of Virginia on the North River, before Coinjock, North Carolina.

Norfolk, Virginia
Taken from The Grand Bridge in Chesapeake, VA. Irene on the free wall across from Atlantic Yacht Basin Marina.

North Carolina waters welcome you with the vast expanses of shallowness. Vaster and shallower than you have ever imagined. Sometimes, you also see past the dunes and marshes, all the way out to the breakers. It can be very beautiful and also challenging (which seems to be a theme in this world right now)… Because there are so many inlets, the effects of the tides are obvious with the Intracoastal Water Way in NC. Traveling this route becomes a series of steering and setting the wheel by subtle turns of the autopilot to follow the deepest tracks over the shoals, and hand steering when the current is strong. I personally find navigating shoals and shallow water fairly stressful. IRENE draws 4 feet so when I consistently see less than 6 feet I know it is time to consciously begin all my strategies to UPlift my self. If you hear me apologizing before I begin anything else, that means I chose not to whine. You’re welcome.

It has been many days of travel through North Carolina. It went like this: Hampton,VA, Downtown Municipal Docks to Chesapeake, VA. Chesapeake, VA to Coinjock, NC. Across Albemaro Sound to the Alligator River. Alligator River to the Pungo River’s Slade Creek. Slade Creek to Belhaven, NC. Belhaven across the Pamlico River to Oriental, NC. From Oriental, across the Neuse River, past Beaufort to Camp Lejeune’s Mile Hammock Bay. Mile Hammock Bay to Carolina Beach, NC. Carolina Beach to Cape Fear to Holden Beach, NC. Our next trip will lead us into South Carolina. These long trips are somewhat unavoidable as the distances between protected anchorages and affordable marinas can be quite far and we travel at less than 10 miles an hour (average 7.5 -8 Knots PH). Here are a few images from along the way-

Back in Belhaven, NC, we lost our parallel electric battery switch and consequently, our house batteries do not recharge when we are underway and we need to plug in to shore power more often then we prefer to. We had hoped to have the folks at Zimmerman Marine here in Holden Beach take a look and replace the switch asap. We returned their intake paperwork on Friday, August 26th, but they can’t see us until today, September 1st. It seems that shipyards and marinas are overwhelmed by the amount of work versus their capacity to complete it all. Stay tuned on how this fix goes for us and feel free to send positive thoughts and prayers. Better yet, encourage all the mechanically inclined people you know who are looking for a great career to find a boat technician to mentor them and join a worthy and important field. Then, send me their number. 🙏🏽

PS: writing this on my phone in the middle of a very hot and humid night…apologies for typos, spacing and lack of succinctness 🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊

PSS: have an awesome day!

Back Underway~~~

We had a beautiful breeze behind us from Saint Michaels to Solomons Island, Maryland. Leaving at high tide also meant we could ride the tide most of the way south and have a bit more speed than we would otherwise. We made it to our anchorage in Mill Creek about 7.5 hours after our departure. We had perfect conditions and smooth sailing from beginning to end.

Saw this fisherman as we departed Mill Creek in Solomons Island. Nice morning to be on the water.

We anticipated a moderate breeze overnight however; it was completely calm and 66 degrees. In other words, perfect sleeping conditions. No need to worry too much about the anchor holding and a great temperature as well. An early morning rain rinsed IRENE down a bit, I made coffee to go, and we pulled the anchor up for another full day underway to our next anchorage. We weren’t sure if the conditions would hold so we had plan A and plan B. It turned out to be a wonderful day to be on the move and we made it to an anchorage just north of Deltaville, Virginia on the Chesapeake’s west shore in Little Bay (just inside the bigger Fleet Bay). Approaching the channel from the north was so much more direct than the last time we stayed here when we were heading north and had to go a few miles out around the point. Two days of perfect conditions for traveling. We could not ask for more, but we we did get more. We had an unplanned day on our anchor in Little Bay. Turned out to be productive and as my friend Zac would say, “a day up, not off”. A day up is for doing things that elevate your spirits and your body. So there’s time for tasks, rest, reading, making things, boat maintenance, writing, organizing, all the things you do, when you do what you do.

Plan B. Little Bay anchorage. High tide over the little island beach (taken from our cockpit).

As I was doing my today things, I was reflecting on the physical aspects of living on a boat. You may be surprised to learn that living on a boat requires a lot of movement. Even when you are standing at the wheel you are balancing your body and kind of moving with the movement of the boat. David calls it “isometrics”. Today, in addition to “isometrics”, my movements included: washing windows (inside and out), emptying and reorganizing my personal cupboard (it’s home to my books, writing and art materials, technology things, cards, papers, and a collecting basket). I cleaned fruit, scrambled eggs, made coffee, and sat down to type a few words here. Now it is afternoon and I have been swimming and have been making tiny sketches in my journal inspired by the Shanty exhibit at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum & Marina. I am still moved by that little ark.

From where we sit now, we are about 50 miles from Norfolk. Norfolk is the busiest harbor on the east coast. It’s also enormous. The plan is to stop on the north side in Hampton, VA. Then, get through Norfolk early the next morning to make it to Chesapeake, VA, where we can stay on a free wall for a couple of nights before beginning the next big leg south. Through the eastern rivers and across some big bodies of water between Virginia and Florida.

Our next extended stop is in Charleston sometime in mid-September. We will visit Jay and his family, see their new house, and support them any way we can. I will be flying out for 4 days while we are there to visit friends in South Dakota for a brief retreat for body, mind and soul. I am looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I am trying to reconnect with the enthusiasm I had for the children’s book I have drafted and take the next steps towards publication. Or, maybe I won’t. I have dozens of passion projects brewing most days and prioritizing any one of them over the other will likely be based on which one has the most natural momentum. Project roulette.

Family Postcards

Hollis and Xander in the backyard at the new house in Charleston. Let the adventures continue…
Ronin and Leda are on a roadtrip with their parents, exploring the west. Camping in the Badlands in South Dakota this week. That’s a powerful place.
Gus (2007 – 2022) left his earthly body last week. His spirit is everywhere. If you had the pleasure of meeting Gus, you know he was a very happy gentleman who loved unconditionally. He ate with abandon and enjoyed his walks to the park. Emma took care of him for the past year and half and she gave him extra life. Fly high sweet Gussy. You have been a great friend and teacher. Until we meet again, Godspeed you home.
On August 16, 2022, Miss Isla Ray Yesh turned 3.

Saint Michaels, Maryland

Sunrise at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum & Marina.

We took a long pause in Saint Michaels. One of those pauses that is evidence of time being a construct created solely for the matrix. We took a deep pause anchored by a long strand of “now moments” that ask you to be fully present to appreciate them in their timelessness. We took a deep pause expressed as energy that spins super-fast, all while staying in one place. We paused deeply while surrounded by the pace of people and their land activities; as frequencies of that energy that rarely seemed to pause. And those 10 days on the earth plane passed in the blink of an eye. A quantum blink.

From our arrival at David’s sister Kathie and husband Dan’s home on Pintail Point, until the last ride back to IRENE, we were treated to an abundance of generosity, beauty and love. I won’t attempt to chronicle the fullness of our experiences but I will list a few that standout, in no particular order:

  • We had our own little guest cottage to retreat to (which David did daily for naps and to nurse an ear infection).
  • Each morning we were served the most delicious coffee (dispensed from some contraption that would take up almost all of Irene’s kitchen shelf), served with Vermont maple syrup and cream.
  • Kathie prepared and served up the freshest meals made with the best ingredients.
  • We visited the Amish Market and the Easton Farmer’s Market and procured many of those ingredients from their neighbors.
  • Got to cook on their fabulous AGA stove that is always on always hot and just an amazing piece of cast iron work. What a delight.
  • One day I told Kathie about a new movie that I wished to see and that evening, she walked into the cottage and bought that movie “on demand”, just for me. White wine, a cozy couch and Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris on a big screen. It was lovely.
  • We were treated to an amazing meal at our favorite St. Michaels restaurant, Limoncella.
  • And one night, we all piled into Dan’s fancy electric car and went to Justine’s to eat the best ice cream ever.
  • Kathie took me shopping with her and gifted me with the softest sea-green sweater you can imagine.
  • Kathie and Dan also welcomed David’s son Jay and his family and two dogs for two nights on their journey to Charleston, as they embark on a new life in a new city and in a new home. (They even took them to the Watermen’s Celebration the Maritime Museum and served up crab cakes afterwards!)
  • They welcomed my dear friend, Wendy, too. It is always UPlifting for me to be in her brilliant presence.
  • Mornings and evenings, we sat on the deck overlooking the Miles River and enjoyed the company of one another while feasting on senses on the robust beauty of the natural world. Inside and out, this home, like the meals and the company, is a treat to be savored.

IRENE stayed at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in Marina in “downtown” Saint Michaels. She was tied safely to her slip on the Watermen’s Wharf (Dock W). She truly looked like she belonged there; an aspect of the mariner’s story and an artifact from the ongoing timeline. I visited IRENE on several occasions to check on her. There, I saw her through the museum visitor’s eyes and appreciated her tug boat roots alongside the many beautiful and significant boats on display. My favorite exhibit was the Fishing Shanty / Ark. A tiny floating cabin used by watermen before there were roads and fast cars, for living in while they were fishing for shad and herring on the Chesapeake Bay and far from home. They would tow the shanty behind their boat and haul it up on shore when they reached their new fishing grounds. In winter, oystermen and hunters would use them. When there were many in the same area, they’d be a “shanty town”. It reminded me of the life and art created by Harlan Hubbard back in the 1940’s, when he and his wife Anna, lived on their Shantyboat along the shores of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. I was transfixed by that little Shanty / Ark and stood there after the museum was closed just to peer through the glass like a kid in a toy store window…. imagining sitting at the little table, sleeping on the tiny bed, making tea over the burner, displaying my favorite shells and flowers on the window sill; like an alter to life on the Chesapeake.

Time spent in the company of others also makes space for talking. Stories, ideas, books, places, memories, they are all on the table. I could listen to stories and other folks wisdom for hours. One thing Kathie said in a moment around the table, is that she views our life on the water as a “spiritual journey”. David and I never discussed the idea completing the American Great Loop or living a life on the water quite this way, so this was a new paradigm for me to consider. I am so happy she shared this point of view as it has given me a lot to ponder.

David says, “Yes. He does see his life on the water through a spiritual lens” and it resonates with him. I hear that however; the way I see it, “we” are not on a “spiritual journey” per se. Rather, “we” are eternal spiritual beings on a physical journey. In this incarnation we are born into separation form source energy and this life becomes a journey where an ego emerges to keep our physical bodies safe from harm and perceived harm. A mind develops to connect us to our experiences, to our creativity, as well as other frequencies and inspirations. The ego suggests that we are on a spiritual journey because if the we wake up and remember that we are part of the divine, the ego is diminished. We would recognize that we are all connected, we are all one. We are the higher power. We are the source. We simply forgot. I believe the journey we are on is to remember.

The Shanty Exhibit 🌈

Where Did I Leave Off?

David and I have had some long-haul days since we left Point Pleasant, NJ. A full day south to Atlantic City, followed by a full day to Cape May. A New Jersey, Atlantic Ocean wrap, blessed by following seas and slow rollers. And then, surprise, the long ride up out the Cape May Canal and up the Delaware Bay, and down the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal to Chesapeake City, Maryland, was fairly uneventful. It was fast with a following tide and calm through a morning fog that burned off into an overcast afternoon. By evening we were on the community free dock in Chesapeake City, MD. We spent two nights on the that free wall. Met some lovely people and from our perch there, witnessed a lot of boat traffic on the canal and in the basin. I love that little canal town in all its quirkiness.

Once you exit the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal heading south, you are in the Chesapeake Bay. It’s not a bay in the sense you may equate with “a bay”. It’s like the way Lake Michigan is kind of a lake-ocean. The Chesapeake Bay has over 11,000 miles of shore line along six states. It’s a very big bay. Mariners take entire summers to explore the Bay’s rivers and estuaries and even then, simply could not see her entirety. We have never ventured into the two largest cities along the Chesapeake, (i.e. Baltimore and Washington, DC), but we have thoroughly enjoyed smaller communities like Annapolis, Oxford and St. Michaels. In fact, we are in St. Michaels now, enjoying a week on land at David’s sister and brother-in-laws home. IRENE is in a slip at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum in downtown St. Michaels. She looks great there all shiny after a water line cleaning while we were on our anchor in the Wye River.

IRENE and pals at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum.

I have been thinking about clearing and cleaning. I mean, we think about those things all the time when we wash the boat, clean our spaces, do laundry, unclutter and organize our environments. It expands us. It creates more space around us for getting bigger energetically. Yesterday, I went to the boat to check on her, to make sure the AC was running and pick up a few things. It felt good to be on her, largely because we left her cleared and clean. Now I am reflecting on how we (our bodies) transform our own energy, do our energetic hygiene, get unstuck like cleaning out a messy space. Expending energy to expand energy. Exercising, eating well, eating light, drinking lots of water, reading a good book, writing, appreciating the beauty of absolutely everything, forgiving the hard stuff and loving large as the Bay; these are the unlimiting things that are the bulwark of infinite gratitude. We should all be as radiant, shiny, bright, and sparkling as IRENE. So here I am, polishing up my field, expanding my energy and keeping my frequency turned up.

David is having a more difficult time being big and bright right now as he has been suffering from an enormous head and ear ache. Sometimes it’s easy to go with the flow, but sometimes, we have to go in spite of the flow. We have to grow against the flow. You see this in nature all the time; plants growing in the rivers against the current, flowers emerging between rocks, trees reborn after hurricanes, and more. Their roots hold tight. Take note people, it can be done. It has to be done because life is school and it’s not designed to be easy. So prayer warriors, send big love to David as he lays low and strong while simultaneously enjoying the puppies, appreciating the beautiful flowering trees, hearing his favorite music, eating sweet watermelon, and taking shorts walks outside in the sun and wind. Everything passes, so be present for it while it’s here. I promise, you will never be bored.

Rainbow following rain in the East Bay.
Gaia sure knows how to cleanse her field; lightening, rain, wind and some thunder for dramatic effect.

Getting Ready to Get Going, Again. South from Lake Champlain to Point Pleasant, New Jersey!

IRENE, out of the water in Westport, NY. Cleaned, new bottom paint, waxed hull (thanks to Emma xo), new inverter, and more. She will be ready to go 7/20/22. Heading south!

Here we were, just over a week ago, waxing the hull at the Westport Marina in Westport, NY. The marina owner/mechanic, Larry, was finishing up his work on IRENE and we are headed back down to put her in the water when he’s done to depart. We do not have a specific schedule, since it’s always a bit weather dependent and now with hurricane season upon us, a bit more so. There are a few stops we know we will be making however for sure; New Baltimore, NY (replacing our windshield wiper motors and components there); St. Michaels, MD ( staying a bit with David’s sister, Kathie), and a couple of other places in the Chesapeake we weren’t able to stop at on our last two trips north. Stay tuned!

It is kind of ”just sinking in” that the boat is our home. It’s our ”house”. After spending the last six weeks between docks and dry land, I can safely say the thing I miss the most from the land-side of life is a full sized refrigerator. Never take that thing for granted. What a spacious invention. WhileI love my tiny boat kitchen, the tiny frig presents some big challenges. One thing that has been reinspiring me in this area has been revisiting Rachel Khoo and her “Tiny Kitchen” work. I love the way she models how to be bigger than all of your challenges and breathe life into around it so the problems and weaknesses becomes strengths that we adapt to! For now, I am GREAT at making coffee on a boat LOL. Her journals are inspiring too and I am making more of an effort to incorporate watercolor painting into my own journals. (Thank you, Rachel.) I can tell you that when you set your sites on overcoming obstacles and doing hard stuff or things you’ve never done, you gotta do the work the best you can. ”Do your best and leave the rest.” After all, I am bigger than that tiny frig and someday, my painting will be too!

Dear Journal, Gotta start somewhere.

It felt good to be moving again. Slightly bittersweet to know we only had a couple of days left on Lake Champlain. While we could have stayed longer, there are other factors that are part of the equation. We knew that the blue-green algae was beginning to bloom in the Champlain Canal locks. We knew that the lake level (and canal levels) were going down. We knew we wanted to be in St. Michaels, MD, the second week of August and in Charleston, SC, the third week of September. We know that getting in and around New Jersey can be complicated by weather and tides. So we began without regrets and fueled by gratitude for six weeks of beauty, pleasure, friends and family. Albeit, not an ordinary scenario for either. In fact, Emma has been lamenting the fact that our family is spread out, unusually so, and that we can’t physically “be there” for one another on a daily basis. It’s true, but we are an interesting family. And, love is love, wherever you are. As long as we are alive, our bodies are just a plane, train, car, bus, or boat ride away. In fact, Emma is in St. Thomas with Anna, Isla, Olive and Don, this week! Lots of photo postcards from her to share with you here.

Meanwhile, on IRENE. We spent our first night back on water (our last night on Lake Champlain) anchored at Fort Ticonderoga. It’s a stunning spot on the lake and a beautifully historic place. The wind picked up out of the west overnight and we left at the crack of dawn, headed to the Champlain Canal. Ten locks over the course of two days in front of us. Not an abundance of anchorages or free walls along the way, but a lot of nostalgia to look forward to. The Champlain Canal will be 200 years old in 2023. I find that pretty amazing and I feel so blessed to have had many opportunities to travel this particular corridor.

About midway through the Canal the waterway joins the Hudson River. At least that’s how it reads on a chart. The Hudson is my favorite river of rivers. I love them all, but this one resonates with me in so many ways. I can hear Pete Seeger’s voice. I feel the stories of my childhood; Rip Van Winkle, the Headless Horseman, Sleepy Hollow and more. I see the profoundly beautiful images of the Hudson River School Artists in my mind’s eye, and know the depth of the maritime history that the Hudson represents. The Adirondacks and the Catskills create the most stunning wilderness beyond her. An ”Ode to the Hudson” would have to include something about how this place is mirror for heaven or God even.

Heading south on the Hudson, our last swim in the river’s fresh water was at an anchorage just south of the Saratoga Battle Field at sunset. These serendipitous moments are not lost on me. I am aware of the symbolism and timing of things and our incredible fortune to be present in these moments. Around Albany, NY, we start to watch the tides and current closely. Both are huge factors in how fast we can travel and how much fuel we will burn. It’s hard to believe that the tide in the river can change over four feet and the current can effect us by several knots (miles per hour over water), but they DO. The numbers of barges increase and the river gets wider and wider as it returns to salt water. The New York Harbor is the river’s last hurrah and it doesn’t go out to sea quietly. The number of ferries, sailboats, barges, tows, waves and wakes are innumerable, but there’s only one Statue of Liberty to wave you out to the Atlantic.

The wind was light out of the south as we headed in the Atlantic to make our way 36 miles to the Mannesquan Inlet at Point Pleasant, New Jersey. The ocean was just a light chop and the swells were far apart offering us a fairly smooth ride up the coast. Of course, no day can be 100 percent easy now, can it? As we approached the inlet we hear a US Army Core of Engineer dredger announce they are in the inlet and the marina radios us that there’s a broken down boat on the fuel dock and to ”go around to the narrow slip for diesel”. Oh, and the wind has picked up considerably. I start to worry out loud about these new obstacles and David says, ”You can have all the anxiety you want but you’re not going to have any problems getting by the barge or docking her”. That was exactly what I needed to hear. Readers, it has been 15 months since we began this life on the water and while not perfect at all aspects of steering this ship, we have improved considerably. To have grown in our competence with some ease and a bit of grace, this is just cause for celebration.

I suppose the bottom line today is to simply remember to embody what you learn. Display it. Be it. Stay UPlifted. Keep showing up and giving it your all; even the things you don’t want to do. Show up fully. As Sylvia Earl put it so eloquently, ”Have a wild love for the world…Run toward the beauty of the world. Be enchanted by the everyday places and what greets your senses….Nourish your capacious love for this place”.
There you grow 😉

Beyond form. Rays of light on the dock in Point Pleasant.

Burlington, Vermont

Irene on the dock at the Burlington Harbor Marina. Sandwiched between the beautiful Adirondacks and the Green Mountains and surrounded by some very nice boats, people and water. Lucky us.

We could not have landed in a more beautiful spot if we had chosen it from a list of slips on the entire lake. As David’s son, Jay, was helping us get our Burlington reservation in order he asked, ”Would you rather be farther out or nearer the bathhouses”? We immediately said, ”Farther out”. When we pulled in past the marina’s breakwater, our slip was straight ahead in the second fairway. Blissfully spacious and no pelican poles! Ever grateful to Jay for his help making this stop happen and finding the most magical spot on the dock.

Beautiful docks at the Burlington Harbor Marina.

The Burlington Harbor Marina has done a phenomenal job of using high quality materials to build their docks and other structures. From the hardwood to the width, to the proper sized cleats, the docks are a dream. And it keeps getting better. We are feeling very fortunate to be here on the lake, at the gateway to the city, for a full two weeks. Far more scheduled and a lot more visitors then we have become accustomed to, but feeling very grateful for this time here, among family, friends and the beautiful natural world.

It’s been an inspiring two weeks in Burlington. We had the best visits and the best visitors. We were able to spend time with lots of family members and quite a few friends; so many of both that I’m not naming names because I might miss someone. If you’re reading this and we were able to spend time together, thank you. It was awesome and we love you.

  • A few highlights included- Going to a potluck and having a grown up overnight.
  • Hosting a little fourth of July spectacular on IRENE and watching fireworks just off her stern.
  • A friend picking us up to bring us to her home for a gourmet dinner (out of this world amazing).
  • David had a guys lunch with 8 of his high school classmates.
  • I got to go to a favorite restaurant, ate oysters and had a martini with one of the loves of my life.
  • We had a birthday celebration for three little loves who followed our adventures on the Great Loop.
  • I had the good fortune to spend time with one of the most intelligent and busy woman I know (talking ’bout you Dr. N.).
  • We had more than a few nights where we watched the sunset over the Adirondacks with a lot of our peeps.
  • All the siblings ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
    Naturally, I was so busy enjoying all the moments I mostly neglected to take my phone out. Alas, only a few images to share here now.

On Monday we moved IRENE 50 miles south to Westport, NY. The marina there is pulling her out for a power wash, fresh bottom paint, new zincs, a new inverter, and a fresh coat of wax on her hull. From there we will enjoy a few anchorages on the southern end of Lake Champlain before we begin a slow journey south. We hope to spend time exploring the Chesapeake, the Outer Banks (weather permitting), and a few stops we weren’t able to check out on the way north. There may be a road trip or two to celebrate a few big events on the family horizon. We shall see…

Currently sitting in Emma’s apartment with a view of North Hero feeling incredibly grateful that I have the privilege of learning with a certain amount of ease, grace and abundance. Not taking anything for granted. Being me, doing what I do and reminding myself that we are all right where we need to be and again and again, asking myself to reflect on ”why it’s important”.

For a little context, one morning on the dock in Burlington, I was listening to a podcast about quantum physics and how even black holes can collide and explode. That seemed kind of odd to me, that black holes act like quantum particles but, they do (and they send out some big gravitational waves). At the same time as I was listening, I had been pondering a couple of issues that I felt needed to be addressed. A couple of 7’s on the 1-10 obstacle scale. Then it “hit” me- I’m just electrons and quarks too. Maybe the best way to open a new door in reality is to crash into the obstacles? So I get to thinking, if I intentionally go toward the things that keep me awake at night and keep at it in an unrelenting, loving and intentional way, maybe I can poke holes in them and those holes will make a wave and become like portals and will open up for me to move through them. I imagine that is kind of how free will works. It alters reality.

In summary- Burlington was a blast. We are all expanding. Intentionally directing our freewill opens new doors. PS: Remember the love. PSS: Olive turned three months old. Time may have some gravity, but love sure doesn’t.

North Hero, St. Albans and Mallet’s Bay ~~~~~~~~

The past two weeks have been a mixture of time on Irene and time on land. We have seen a lot of folks and felt a lot of feels. Monday, we were back on Irene and preparing for the next two weeks at the Burlington Harbor Marina. As often as I thought to, I snapped a picture along the way and will leave quite a few here. A peculiar thing about this post. I sat down multiple times to write a draft for this leg of our time on Lake Champlain. On at least five occasions, it has deleted all updates to my first version. It is as if a force of nature was hitting delete and telling me to return to my original message. Here’s the thing- while what I originally drafted makes sense to me, I’m slightly concerned it may be less in align with most readers. Perhaps the universe and my personal guidance is suggesting that it is ok, even if it may seem a bit provocative or out there. So dear reader, ya’ll get what you get when I hit save at the end of this writing session. Writer’s roulette.

Since being back, I have been talking with a few of my friends in Vermont who read the Betheship blog and our conversations circled around to the interconnected ideas of upliftment, frequency, and density whichI have used in my writing as metaphors to describe living life on the water. Spoiler alert: These concepts are not original to me. I borrowed them from Science and Spirit to help describe the time and places I find myself in; between the water, the land, and the sky.

Unless you’re an extraterrestrial, you are navigating the same elements on the same planet on the same timeline(s) as I am. So, it makes perfect sense that aspects of my posts have resonated with some of you. (Though I am also 100% sure that my words are vibing with our extraterrestrial champions too.) If any of what you just read is causing you to roll your eyes or wonder WTF? I encourage you to put your screen down and stop reading this immediately, because science class is resuming in 3, 2, 1~

I have been considering the root of the theories I’ve been connecting my life with. Particularly regarding energy, and how it is transmuted through movement; and the vibration of water and the frequency it holds. Water has always resonated with me. Some of my most favorite childhood memories include going to the beaches on little lakes and ponds in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, making pot holes in the Passumpsic River, swimming in my friend’s pools, skipping stones, hiking up streams and standing under waterfalls. Guess what? Because I still hold that frequency, I share it with water, I continue to love going to the beach, making pot holes in rivers, swimming in pools, stream hiking, waterfalls, and living on water. You cannot make this up. In fact, I took the lessons from 9th grade Earth Science and 11th grade Physics and married them with what “moves” me. That’s where spirit enters. So here I am. Living a life on the water surrounded by the natural world, learning new things, meeting interesting people, making things, being outside a lot. Same me. Same life. Better vibes. Higher frequency. Not perfect, but definitely turning the dial up towards 11 (with apologies to Spinal Tap.) That is UPliftment.

More from the past two weeks in pictures before we get back to class.

The theory of Density is simply how tightly things are packed together (d=M/V). The mind body molecules can also be denser or lighter because they’re “things” too. Want to be lighter? Breath deeply and exhale well. Eat lighter, less dense food, like fresh fruit. Drink water. Spirit is the ultimate light being. The eternal light for our eternal lives. Find the things that bring you joy and align your life with them. Let the heaviness go. This is physics, not morality. This is quantifiable. Burdens bring density. Alleviate your burdens. The further we bring things down and more tightly pack them together, we increase the density. We can literally release the denser molecules that clog up our consciousness. Find your denser thoughts and limiting beliefs and release them through intent, movement, mediation, prayer, your mind; just acknowledge them, thank them for serving their purpose, and let matter go. End of class dear reader.

Just because.

Back on the lake we call home, the world seems fairly unchanged on the surface. It remains incredibly beautiful, people still run on the bike path, the ferry leaves the port on time, sailboats grace the waterfront, friends and family members stop by to say ”hello”. This place will always have our hearts and we carry it with us wherever we go. We are a new version of the old us. New old us are more peaceful, a little bit quieter and we have learned a few new moves. We have increased our knowingness and experienced freedom that one could only be imagined once the physical attachments were severed and our ”inner laboratories” significantly aired out. We got new dreams and we are following them. We wish the same for you too. As the saying goes, ”Peace, love and sandy feet”.

Tiny water lilies. Pleasure and peace xoxo.

Lake Champlain

Along the Champlain Canal.

Just like that, we floated over a year. A few hours into this particular voyage, we transitioned from the Champlain Canal into Lake Champlain. Where the lake begins to widen out in front of us, David says, “This is as beautiful as any spot we have seen in the past year”, Indeed. The lake is 12 miles wide and the mountains on both sides create a breathtaking border to the scene. Blue sky and humongous clouds are a glorious roof over us and the entire expanse is visually epic. We set the autopilot to go sit on Irene’s bow and take it all in. We gulp in the mountains and savor every detail.

The Adirondacks. A New York farm. The enormous sky.
Along the New York shoreline.

We were headed to one of the most beautiful anchorages on the entire lake, Partridge Harbor, on the New York shore. It’s a tiny natural harbor that is the perfect size for one boat and on that particular day, we were the fortunate one.

Partridge Harbor

David grew up with a west facing window, overlooking Lake Champlain, near the head of his bed. From that window he watched sunrises and the moon rises over the lake. He tells me that he especially loved to watch storms as they developed and moved across the water. As he was growing up, the lake was his families back yard. In warm weather they would walk down to the beach below their house and swim, picnic, fish from the shore, build fires, roast hotdogs and more. In the dead of winter, his father would walk across the ice, sometimes for miles, to ice fish. Always a source of joy and comfort to him as child and as a man.

In the thirty years David and I have been together, we have always had a boat on the lake. For 16 of those years, we lived on her shore. We have met (and seen on NEBO) other cruisers who are spending time this summer exploring Lake Champlain. We are excited for them. We know they will be moved by her fullness of beauty, her pristine shorelines, her swimmable water, her depths, exquisite anchorages, and her life force.

Welcome back. Quaker Smith Point, VT.

I was reading the work of a marine biologist, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, and she references a quote by an historic marine advocate, Sylvia Earle who said: ”We have been fixated on outer space” and that the oceans, the seas, the bodies of water on this planet, these are ”inner space”. It is that and much more. We need to be paying attention to our waters. We have traveled thousands upon thousands of miles, across America’s waterways. We have lived on the lake and had family living in the Caribbean for decades now. We mean it when we say, conserving our planets oceans and waterways means preserving lives and preserving cultures. The future of Earth’s water and waterways is based on what we think, do, believe, and how we act in the now moments. As Ayana Elizabeth Johnson advocates, let’s ”get it right”. Pay attention. The future is listening.

Vermont Shoreline, Shelburne, VT.
6.12.22 In progress.
On the dock at Ladd’s Landing in North Hero, VT.
The Strawberry Moon.
Fishing from the dock.
Taking it in as we head up the Champlain Canal, entering the lake.

As I write this, it is one week ‘til David’s 75th birthday on June 26th. I want to thank all the Water for making this time in his life more vital, the sun for the beautiful color of his face, and time for the lines that reflect his character.

It is also Father’s Day. As we reminisce about our fathers, let’s offer an abundance of gratitude to them for everything. And, to all you dads out there, I wish you a deep appreciation for your mad and crazy ride on this planet. Sending love.


The Hudson River: 315 miles from NY Harbor to Lake Champlain

It is difficult to describe something as profoundly beautiful and grand as the Hudson River. From the time you enter the New York Harbor you are immersed in her energy. The NY Harbor is actually where she ends. The culminating point for this huge waterway originates in the Adirondack Mountains. I love this river. This would be my fifth time to sail her home. Remember in Genesis, on the fifth day God created creatures that live in the sea and creatures that fly? Hold that thought… As we entered the NY Harbor I said to David, I thought there was a submarine between the two channels (the NY City channel and the other to Sandy Hook, NJ). At that very moment, a pair of humpback whales breached the surface. They surfaced again, and we were astounded. We entered the shipping channel into NYC next to two yachts, an enormous cargo barge, and a pair of humpback whales.

No phone in hand for a photo so I found this one for you with the Empire State Building in the background. From Getty Images. Artist, Artie Raslich.

We made our way under the Varrazano Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn, past The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, along the Manhattan shoreline, and into the waters of the Hudson River. My fifth pilgrimage up the mighty Hudson River. Five, the number that represents dharma. Since I don’t believe in coincidences, this journey must indeed reflect my soul’s purpose. Not what I am, but how I am.

Writing this, I am wondering what word(s) can I use to describe NYC? I hear the word, “dense” and this works for me. It works across reasons. The obvious ones are the physical ones, like millions of people are packed together in a million buildings on both sides of this narrow section of the river. Density is also another way to describe “how we are” in these bodies we inhabit. On this particular morning, I request that we continue on our way north, and not drop our anchor behind the statue as planned. The density feels contagious and I want to lighten up. We agree to cruise on and set a course for Croton-on-the-Hudson and Half Moon Bay Marina. And it happens then that I feel immensely lighter. A planned five hour day turns to a nine hour day and a grand way to meet the Hudson River.

We were here at Half Moon Bay and it is starting to look a lot like the place we came from.

The Hudson is 315 miles long and we intended to cover them ahead of the throng of cruisers behind us. You see, there’s a legendary marina in New Baltimore, NY (Shady Harbor) that has an annual pig roast and blessing of the boats each spring. MANY boats will be there on the following Saturday. It’s ironic that we are pushing on to avoid the celebration as David would enjoy a pig roast and I love the blessing of the boats, but the pull to ease the burden of density wins out; again and again. We pass the places now familiar to us. Westpoint, the mansions and historic sites along her shores and among her hillsides, her lighthouses, her bridges, and all her creatures. Blessed by the company of eagles, osprey, sturgeons, gulls, and more. We travel on.

We spent one starry night behind Esepos Island on our anchor and then off to Shady Harbor Marina while it would be spacious and quiet. We prepare to stay three nights. One for boat maintenance, one for all the chores shore affords, and one because the wind is going to blow out of the south at 30 MPH. That windy day is a blessing. David reads, I paint birthday cards for Amanda’s twins, and friends we made in Marathon come howling up the river and adeptly bring their boat, ”Hardwork”, to the dock. We are all there to grab their lines and welcome them to this miraculous day.

Jen and Tom on Hardwork are stopping to prepare to make a loop up around Eastern Canada, around Maine, to Boston, back to NYC, and return to the Keys. I hope to see them again next winter. They remind me of our best us. I like the way they be. They are kind, they’re meticulous with their boat, they are exceedingly grateful for things, and they are expressive. A short story before signing off in images.

When we first arrived in Marathon, January 1, 2022, a couple were preparing to leave and they had purchased two bicycles at the Pawn Shop. They opted to not load them up for their trip back to New England and offered them to us. We happily accepted the bikes and I peddled like the wind around Marathon, but we also have a car there so mostly they sat on the bike rack. When Jen and Tom arrived they borrowed the bikes. They loved the bikes and praised the bikes construction and performance. We suggested they take the bikes with them. Tom cleaned up their bright yellow bodies a bit, put new tires on them and added baskets. When they took off, a month ahead of us, they loaded them on their upper deck and departed. I wasn’t around that particular morning, but Jen tried to sneak money inside a book she was returning to me, David discovered it and refused it. A gift is a gift no matter its value. SO when we were reunited in New Baltimore, Jen pulled some Shady Harbor shadiness and had wine delivered to our boat and then they left a gift bag with luscious local hemp oil for me and a beautiful card, ”We are enjoying the bikes. Thank you”! Here’s the thing. I had seen that oil in the ship store and held it in my hand. I read about the maker and the nonprofit they helped fund with their sales. I had put it back, twice. It felt like too much. It was meant for me after all. More importantly, it was meant for them to give to me. That is the incredible lightness of being. Or as Joe Henry wrote about, ”The Gospel According to Water”.

Irene and Hardwork on the dock in New Baltimore.
On the dock at lock 5 in Schylerville.
On the free wall in Whitehall.

We left Shady Harbor amid an early morning rainstorm and headed to the Champlain Canal. Eleven locks to carry us from the Hudson River into our beloved lake between the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains. Two nights on free walls in the Canal and then a glorious morning ride up the lake propelled by a lightness of being, love, and gratitude; drenched in the beautiful scent of Farmhouse Fresh Hemp Body Oil.

A Long Stretch of Good…5/26/22 – 6/4/22

Sometimes the rivers and waterways unfold in front of you like ribbons of water. Somedays, the wind is behind you, cheering you on your way. Somehow the sky and earth merge into one blessed highway to carry you from where ever you are to the place you’re meant to be. Fair winds and following seas makes for good traveling and good spirits. Dear Readers, It has been a very long stretch of all the good.

The Chesapeake Bay is big and wide. Nature puts things in perspective, by the way.

We began our ascent up the Chesapeake Bay on a sunny morning with a south wind urging and pushing us on our way. We moved everyday from Virginia and through Maryland. Night one, we anchored in Little Fleet Bay on the bay’s western shore. Night two we anchored at Solomon’s Island in Mill Creek. Night three, we tied up in the Back Creek in Annapolis at the Annapolis Landings Marina. And, on the fourth night of this long stretch, we tied up in Chesapeake City at the Chesapeake Inn and Marina.

The last leg of the Maryland journey was fueled by a fresh tank of diesel and a big heart fill-up while we were in Annapolis. David’s sister, Kathie, came to fill us up with the an enormous and delicious meal at The Boatyard Bar and Grill. Enough food for a week and a huge portion of love. For dessert, our hearts were filled by a visit from my bestie, our Dear Wendy. We sat on Irene’s top deck until dark, talking and filling, sharing and filling, feeling the wind, refilling, rediscovering, and letting some of the hard stories go with the wind. That’s it Dear Readers. Let the wind take the hard stories and carry them away. Love is the purest fuel. I mean this quite literally. The future is made by the thoughts that we have now. So please, forgive all the bad for the good. Release your grip on the words that hurt you and the people that born them. This is our practice on this side of the veil. Forgive. Move on. Visualize it. We are starlight. Take care of your light. Don’t let anyone blow it out. The world needs our light right now. We got a long way to go; forward, not back.

Sunlight burning through the fog.

From Maryland, the US waterways take you down the Chesapeake Delaware Canal and out to the mighty Delaware River and into the vast Delaware Bay. These are little oceans and the Long Stretch of Good brought the wind at our backs so we could meet the tides and the strong current with an equal dose of Mother Nature’s strength. As we neared Cape May, NJ, we did meet some wave action that pounded us around a bit. That’s New Jersey for you. Tougher than most. Nine and a half hours later we entered the Cape May Canal only to find the anchorages filled with other travelers waiting for calmer water on the North Atlantic. We were so fortunate to reach an angel at Utche’s Marina, just as they were about to close, she gave us directions to one last slip just as fog “thick as pea soup” set in. She waited there for us a half an hour after her time to go home. She waited with a dock hand named, Earl. An angel and a an Earl; divine and royal beings. Exhaustion and gratitude can only begin to describe the feelings coursing around us then. Then you know what the angel on Earth did? She handed me a bottle of home-made wine in a clear glass bottle and a key to the bath house tied to a big wooden light house. “Make yourself at home.” You see how that works? Magic.

Just after sunrise we headed out to the channel to wait with six other boats before we went out the inlet and into the Atlantic. We chatted on the radio with fishermen who were out there already. They said it was “gnarly” with big rollers coming over their bows and told us to wait. We all idled in the channel for about an hour and then jumped out. The rollers were big but the wind was with us all the way to Atlantic City. Atlantic City, who knew it could be a site for sore eyes? The casinos were flashing their big lights and the wind calmed down as soon as we were inside the jetties. Amen.

This is New Jersey. Grit, grind, and hope. Work it. That’s how they welcome you there.

On land, David and I both had a case of sea legs. Sea legs negate the idea that you can walk anywhere well. It’s the equivalent of bedspins except you’re standing up. We showered and Ubered it to a restaurant only to find it had closed BUT their was a barbershop there now and David needed a haircut and apparently, the universe agreed. Ubered it from there to Kelsey’s for some of her southern style cooking. And I kid you not, I had grits. Yup. When you’re in New Jersey and your grit level is dwindling your refill on the cheesy grits and you’re good to go. A little better for the wear.

We rose at sunrise and left at slack tide to hopefully ride the rising tide all the way to Point Pleasant Beach at the Manasquan Inlet. Only a five hour ride up the New Jersey shore. We made it there through some pretty profound fog, a lot of messaging with the boats around us to share conditions, and a lot of turn taking at the wheel. Most days we can set a course on the auto pilot and tweak our course over time however; certain conditions mean you surf the waves and for that, you hand steer. You also hope you have a partner as cool as Jesus so he can take the wheel when you throw your hands up (or whatever ;-).

Made it to Captain Bill’s Landing: ”Fuel, Bait, Ice, Supplies” and the worst fuckin’ dock ever. Four foot tide change on old pelican poles. No power or water. One last stop to test what you’re made of. Thanks, Captain Bill. Always wondered what it would feel like to walk the plank.

Oh, New Jersey, by the way, thank you for raising so many beautiful friends, their wonderful children and loving families. They endure. They’re ingenious, crafty and curious. Thank you for being home to so many brilliant artists, writers and musicians. The Garden State, where they grow ’em strong and brilliant.