Tag Archives: #ACIM

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.

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.


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.


Greetings From Mississippi

Along the Tennessee River.

This past Saturday we traveled from Clifton, Tennessee- to Iuka, Mississippi. Iuka is on the border where Mississippi meets Tennessee and Alabama. It was a long and rainy travel day with the Tennessee River current against us the entire way. After about seven hours underway, we finally reached the Pickwick Lock and Dam. The lock raises boats up 55 feet from the river into the Pickwick Dam. With a stroke of lucky timing, we drove right into the waiting lock that already had 15 boats tied up and we took the last bollard before they closed the doors! Amazing~~~ At that point we felt incredibly fortunate to be inside without waiting and subsequently, we welcomed the rain and wind as we held Irene on the wall against the forces of nature and the turbulence of the water filling the lock.

Irene is the last boat on the far back, right side as you look at the lock. This photo came from the lock’s fb page. Who knew locks had fb pages? You can see how massive the chambers are to accommodate barges and ships. You can also see that that there was a bass fishing tournament happening by the bass boats heading into the dam.

Exiting the lock, the Pickwick Dam greeted us with a gusty WNW wind and big waves. Our destination, the Safe Harbor Aqua Marina, was just over five miles from the lock. It felt longer, but once we turned off the dam into a wide creek, actually called “Pickwick Lake”, to head to the marina, the wind was somewhat blocked and the waves subsided. Another bit of luck as the dockage was tight. So tight, I actually asked to have our slip reassigned. They accommodated the request (sometimes you just have to ask for you want). Without complaining, I will say this about the slip we ended up in- We are sharing it with the biggest spiders we’ve ever seen and a large colony of turtles. I am good with one of those.

Neighboring turtle.

We took advantage of a sunny Halloween Sunday to scrub Irene and defrost the freezer. The less glamorous side of life on a boat. On the brighter side, we had dinner with Looping friends that live aboard their boat Sisu, Jim and Kristi. We had met them on our two day trip from Peoria, Beardstown, and Hardin, Illinois and then later, we docked in front of them in Paducah. We caught up and shared stories, made hopeful plans to meet again, most likely in Florida but, who knows? This kind of traveling is truly dictated by the weather and by where you can anchor, dock or tie up for the night. You just have to go with it and greet the moments as they present themselves to you.

Irene’s out there under the cover.

Irene is scheduled to be hauled out today. We’ve spent over a week communicating with the service department about the work and yet, it’s 10:44AM and we have yet to see anyone at the boat. We did walk up to the boat yard at 8AM to greet them and it was obvious that the “system” (sometimes the absence of a system is apparently the system) and the workers (gracious and calm) are a bit submerged by the backlog of boat work and promises made. There were already two folks ahead of us to greet them. I have a sinking feeling that we will be staying in Iuka longer than we anticipated or desired. One of us is taking the news and the probable waiting, a lot better than the other 😉

I recognize that waiting can be difficult. I believe the secret to successful waiting is to change the story we tell ourselves and to acknowledge that our needs will be met, in good time. If any of you dear readers need some practice at developing better waiting skills here are a few ideas. Seriously. 1) When you are in a store and heading to the check-out line, go to the longest one. 2) Practice driving more slowly and welcoming red lights. It’s an opportunity to be present. 3) Always slow down as soon as traffic lights turn to yellow. 4) When you feel yourself getting pissy, heart rate rising, maybe frustration or anger surfacing, practice “recovery breathing”. That is, breath in deeply through your nose and hold it a few seconds, then blow out your mouth. Maybe these things will help to remind you that we are not ruled by our bodies and our blood pressure. We are minds and we are spirit and we are free to choose how we respond to everything. 5) We need to tell ourselves better stories. Reframe folks. Reframe. 6) Maybe sing this little song out loud: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkYL1b7MCEw

“Data” Update: Monday, November 1st, 2021

  • We have been in 18 states
  • We’ve been traveling for 194 days
  • We have traveled approximately 4800 miles
  • We are 450 miles from Mobile, Alabama
  • From here, we will go 10 miles across the dam then turn into the long downhill of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to Demopolis, Alabama
  • We can expect a lot of current against us-
  • While I have lost count of the number of locks we have been through, I do know there are 10 locks in the Tennessee-Tom Canal
  • The average drop in the locks will be 30′ but the Jamie Whitten Lock has a whopping 84′ drop!
….and every step. Peace ya’ll. Peace.

Alton, IL to Paducah, KY: The Mississippi River to the O-Hi-O

Somewhere on the Missouri shore.

It’s been a while since I have had the disposition to sit down and compose a blog post. The energies are so BIG right now. Take all that cosmic energy coming at us and add it to an industrious extended stay in Alton, IL, followed by traveling for long hours on the enormous Mississippi River, navigating a few huge locks, and some very tedious winding segments; it’s likely I was opting for time in the sunshine, exploring, star gazing, and as always, taking care of Irene. Here’s a brief retrospective.

The view from the Alton Marina dock; a bridge to Missouri.

We were able to get a stanchion repaired in Alton for next to nothing, and we were there long enough to get things we needed mail ordered. It was one of those places that makes living aboard easy (i.e. wifi, laundry, cabs, sidewalks, delivery, kind and helpful people, great showers, and protection from the elements). After 5 nights however; we were desperate to get moving again.

We left at 7AM on Tuesday morning. Shorter days required running lights for the first time as we made it a short mile to our first next lock, the Mel Price Lock. It is among the largest in the world and yet, simple to navigate and ready for us within minutes of arriving. The Mississippi between Alton and St. Louis is a robust habitat for Eagles. While we have seen many on this journey, nothing compared to the volume of them in this section of the river. They were fishing off of our wake. Eagles fishing during a sunrise heading south on the Mississippi is one of the things we had never considered would happen in this dream we are dreaming, but it did, and it was amazing.

Wide water on the Mississippi River.

This section of the river is also where the Missouri River meets the Mississippi and flows into it in a place known as the Chain of Rocks. Cruisers know to turn left at this intersection or end up cascading over big rocks and losing it all. There’s a small sign on a pile of rocks with a blue arrow pointing left that says, “Lock”. Trust me, I fretted over this so much before we got there that by the time I saw the sign I was like, “Whatever”. The “man” made canal that bypasses the rocks in long, straight, and tedious, but there are eagles, and once through the lock at the end you are in St. Louis. The best part of floating past the Gateway Arch was having our friend Doug watching on the live Google Earth cam and capturing images and videos of (tiny) Irene next to the enormous arch and beside the endless line of tugs and barges. (By the way, Doug is a virtual member of our crew now and we will be gifting him our white AGLCA flag when we earn the gold.)

The Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri.

All in all, the day took eight hours on the water to make it to a free lock wall just off the Mississippi on the Kaskaskia River for the night. We got to watch a nearly full moon rise and woke to a small tow and barge entering the tiny lock. David and I were the first ones off the wall for a beautiful ride to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to anchor in a little river diversion canal for the night. It was only a six hour cruise but, we had a 15-mile-an-hour head wind blowing over our bow. It takes a bit outta ya.

Tied up at Kaskaskia lock.
Early morning barge in the lock.
Night 2. Boats in the moonlight, rafted up in the diversion canal.

The plan was to take a leisurely ride down to Cairo (Kay-Row) IL, where we intended to anchor near a slew behind a bridge. The ride was filled with lonnnnggggg, S-shaped sections of river called “toe heads”. Our Huck Finn day took a turn to the north, literally. The wind was howling at the anchorage near the bridge, so we pressed on. The wind increased some more. That ruled out the other anchoring places as well. The only choice was to continue pressing on and turn up into the Ohio River. Four knots of foul current took our speed down almost by half. Cairo is also a barge staging area so the waterway was packed with barges and industry for miles.

Coal ready to be loaded.

This section of the Ohio leads to another enormous lock and dam, the Olmsted. By the time we arrived we had been traveling for seven hours. There was so much barge traffic going up and down the river and through the lock, the lock-master directed us to drop anchor until 5:30! With sunset at 6:10 we quickly realized we would be anchoring in the dark. Shit.

Sunsetting in the Olmsted Lock.
Wind calming down as sun sets and we approach our anchorage.
Wrapped up an 11 hour day in Grand Chain Reach.

I sat up top with a quilt, a glass of red wine, and the full moon, listening to the chine on the hull, and vimeoing with my spirit-led friends. Just when my tank was running low, they all loved me back into laughter, hopefulness and gratitude. It turned out to be a wonderful place in a wide part of the water. i woke up rejuvenated and made David bacon and eggs before heading to Paducah, Kentucky. Paducah has a dock with power and we have reservations. Amen.

The wind picked up again as we started back up the river. I called the dock about fuel and water levels and about the eddy at the dock. The dock-hand was so kind. He put us on the end a across from the fuel dock, so we could stay out of the shallows and still get diesel as the hose just reached Irene. Tons of wind and current at the dock but not one issue, unless you count me yelling at David. Don’t you worry dear reader, I forgave myself and him too.

Irene and her pals on the Paducah riverfront dock.


  • BIG rest at Alton
  • BIG locks on the Mississippi and the Ohio rivers
  • BIG arch
  • BIG hours underway
  • BIG barges
  • BIG industry
  • BIG water
  • BIG wind
  • BIG current
  • BIG moon
  • BIG emotions
  • BIG energies
  • BIG sigh

BIG BIG love to y’all.

Isla, age 2.2, passes her first swim test like a BIG fish 👏🏽

A Week in Ludington, MI

The Ludington Harbor.

One thing about living on a boat while taking a 6,000 pilgrimage is there is a tremendous amount of solitude. It is an indulgence of sorts to be able to spend this much time alone or away from the outward world. On the surface it takes us away from others, paradoxically, it takes us deep within and that dear readers, is a vast landscape. Recently, my bff, Wendy, sent me a text of an Emerson poem about the world behind and front of us is “tiny” compared to “what lies within us”. This familiar passage resonated with me more than ever, now, in this journey of human inwardness.

Another friend messaged this week to inquire about whether or not David and I are “bored”. My response was a simple, “No”. In fact, the more articulate response is, “We are sculpting our inner intelligence”. We do things, take walks, nap, go to dinner, work on the boat, read, talk about things, help other boaters at the dock, and things like that. However; we are practicing aloneness too and it is such a privilege to go be working our way back to something that is so natural and innate. Solitude actually has agency. Solitude is actually a verb and a form of sovereignty. It nurtures and enriches us.

Sunset over the marina. Ludington, MI

It looks like our work here in Ludington is unfinished as today’s marine weather forecast is forcing us to extend our stay here by another day or even two. More gale force winds. More 4-6 foot waves. Many other “Loopers” are also stalled in their course, some here in Ludington, and the vast majority spread out along both the Michigan and Wisconsin coasts. We use an app called, NEBO, to track our time on the water and we can literally see where other cruisers are. Up and down Lake Michigan, we are all staying put, shining our light on the little towns and places where we are stopped, in this now moment. I imagine we will all be moving again, soon, simultaneously. All this solitude will serve to make us all much more grateful to be on our ways. Grateful to not be a monks too 😉

A current NEBO screen shot.

This harbor is home to the S.S. Badger- A Lake Michigan car ferry that travels across the lake to Milwaukee, WI. At least once a day, sometimes twice daily, she goes out and returns. Its horn blares one long blast to let everyone know it’s leaving the dock. The night before last it returned in a strong wind and had a helluva time getting up to the dock. David and I watched in aweness as the captain turned that ship around, literally, lined it up again, then cranked on the thrusters to bring it to port. It was pretty exciting. Friday nights on IRENE, LOL.

Coming through~~~

In Other News…

If you’ve been following Betheship, you know that we have had unidentified, ongoing issues with our generator. Lots of great folks have worked on it, Leo on Jekyll Island, Mike and Sean at Brewerton Boat Yard, Nathan Delke in Roger’s City. They all helped some. Update, we finally found the actual Master of Diesel here, in Ludington. His name is Oene (pronounced oh-knee) Pomper. He owns Lake Street Marina and he is a genius. He is 6’4″ and weighs about 120 pounds. He slips down into the motor room with ease. He talks about “infinity energy” and plays with the generator and how it puts out power, and we learned so much from him. If we are ever here again, we’re going to stay at his marina and have him do a complete service on the engine. He is the master.

We continue to receive beautiful messages and “postcards” from friends and family. We appreciate the updates and photographs that reach us, from everyone in texts, emails and FaceTime calls. Social media, especially Instagram, is also a means of “seeing” people we love. Just this week, we got to see (and hear) Hollis napping with one of her puppies; the daughter of an old friend’s just born baby, Maeve; hear about Leda’s new passion for playing the recorder; see pictures of other Loopers we met earlier in the season and their travels on the Tennessee River (where we’ll be someday); and images from my sister Patty and niece, Nicole’s birthday celebrations; and much, much more. You can find me and my own posts on Instagram at xvxmom.

And finally, today marks day number 350 for me as a student in A Course In Miracles. At this point in the study, we shift to the question, “What Am I?”. Hoping this prepares me for what comes next. David and I are looking forward to crossing our wake in Florida and spending January, February and March in Marathon. We look forward to Christmas time with our family there. And, we are beginning to talk about what may be after that. We are careful about our thinking and words because we know that it’s a reflective universe and we are creating the future right now in the quantum moment because everything is equally present. In actual life, it’s a dream and the future is now too. We are energy and we are frequencies. Keep it light friends. Keep it high. Keep loving. Keep in touch.

IRENE in her well protected slip in Ludington, MI.

Tonawanda, NY

The end of the Erie is a blessing a long time in coming for us. We have enjoyed the process and never, not in a million years, could ever have believed that we would sit still for days on end, and take six weeks to travel 400 miles. Granted, there were 35 locks which take time and effort but Lord, sitting still in small towns, not once, but three times in Amsterdam, Newark and Tonawanda, for a total of 24 days, have mercy. I know we have learned a few things along the way. Nothing mind blowing, just a few reminders about not trying to control what’s beyond our control; releasing all grudges, never blaming anything or anyone, and never letting circumstances get in the way of being present and experiencing joy; and learning to appreciate the rest as much as the movement.

IRENE is the second to last boat from the right (just before the ominous train bridge) in North Tonawanda.

The way out of the canal is by heading south on the Niagara River, south of the famed Niagara Falls by a few miles. The joke is, turn right and you’re over them. There’s at least of couple knots of current pushing the river south and because of the that, the government built a federal lock about 7 miles from where we are now in North Tonawanda (i.e. the north side of the canal) to help mariners negotiate the current and make it safely to Buffalo (10 miles) and then into Lake Erie. The federal lock is the gateway to a three and half mile canal on the south side of the Niagara River called, Black Rock [Lock] and Canal.

I won’t be there tomorrow when David and Mark make that part of the trip. It feels a bit unsettling to think about them moving our little home without me. This trip I’m taking to be at Isla’s second birthday in St. Thomas has been in the works for a long time. David and I thought it would be a piece of cake, pun intended, for me to be gone for a week. The truth is, we were both having a little anxiety over lunch today as the reality hit. We’ve developed a pretty good partnership on the water and we have grown into our roles. We have our own lanes. I have every confidence that we’re all gonna’ be ok, but it’s strange too- not going to deny it.


Some friends we made while stalled in Amsterdam, Jane & Bryce Johnson and their sailing boat, Beauty, were with us in Tonawanda for a few days. Jane and I were talking about all the little and big places along the way, from Florida to here, and which ones we could live in. We agreed that the best place to live is on a boat, but Tonawanda is a nice stop if there ever were one. There are excellent restaurants, little stores, nice people, a wonderful farmer’s market, it’s flat with great sidewalks for riding my electric scooter, you can swim in the canal, the wall is smooth, they have band concerts a few nights a week, it’s not expensive, there’s a really nice grocery store and even a clean laundromat. Tonawanda is full of pride and life.

Oh. They have some weird shit too. Like a lot of cigarette boats that are noisy as hell. Why? No one knows for sure. Owen gave me an answer but it’s too obscene to repeat.

Saturday in North Tonawanda (imagine sirens and canons and Thunder Road engines loud). Or, as Doug D would say, “TonaWandaFun” 😉

It doesn’t make for a very exciting blog to write about all the things we are reading but here are a few books in case you are wondering how I’m filling my head: Jumpgirl; Visualization and Imagery; Essential Reiki; Sound and Vibration; and the Book of Awakening. I believe we are part of a monumental shift in the evolution of our planet and the cosmos. I believe we are shifting in multiple ways and one of those is a dimensional shift. Periods of rest and reflection are actually important to all of us as we go through these times.

I wish everyone continued health and wherever anyone stands, I hope they stand there with their entire being, with integrity and love. I am very grateful to my friends, mentors and guides who are cheering us on through this journey. I could not have found a more beautiful group of people to expand my consciousness with. May we all find a most forgiving path through these unusual times and be able to stand above the chaos and look at what is happening in the world and see what an interesting time this is. May wisdom find a place at the table.

See you next week! Gotta fly xoxo

Be here now.

From Ilion to Oneida Lake

Leaving Ilion on a rainy Sunday morning.

Since the rain doesn’t stop we agreed, “let’s keep going”. It would have been so easy to succumb to the tempest and stay in bed, drink coffee, watch the Scottish Open (on the iPad) and just be “ok” on the wall in Ilion, NY, but “nah”. We can be persistent too. We departed at 8:45 and completed this section of the Erie, which is the one in the same with the Mohawk River. This entailed high water, lots of logs and missing or misplaced markers. Conversely, it meant a peaceful steady rain on the boat, a beautiful green landscape, a solitary river to ourselves, encountering the heartiest of lock keepers, and being visited and entertained by beautiful flocks of geese and by eagles, sandpipers and herons. At the first lock of the day, #19, we noticed upon approach that a giant log, actually a fallen tree, had wedged itself across the entrance and was not moving. I radioed the lock keeper and we talked about our options and he said in the most beautiful accent, “I’m going to go try to move it”. Keep in mind it was huge, stuck at least 30 feet down an embankment from him, oh yeah, and raining. We watched and wondered and marveled at his strength with a very long pole that had a spear on the end of it. We cheered him when he successfully held it off for us. Thank you, Demitrie from Belarus, our first hero of the day. Again, wish I had a picture, but you will need to imagine this scene. We were too busy being present in the moment to remember to capture a physical image.

Right around here in our travels, the Mohawk River diverges from the human-made canal, and the debris from the heavy rains became less frequent and we could make up some time with a few extraordinary exceptions where the dams control the canal levels were flowing heavy into the canal and creating log jams. Again, I wish I had pictures dear reader because you would not believe your eyes. But, it was all hands on the wheel with David on the deck with a boat pole and a pointer arm through the canal fields full of logs and brush. We made our way through locks 19, 20, 21 and 22, but not without a few more events that were memorable. Especially at lock#19 where ONLY ONE lock door would open. Mind you, IRENE is 11.5 feet wide and the doors are just a bit more, there’s wind, current, and debris. The lock keeper cheered and said, “you made that look easy”. The walls are tall, the chambers are kind of ominous and we are human so our hearts beat a little faster for a minute.

When one lock door closes you pray to Spirit that at least one other door opens 😉
Going down 26 feet~~~
Making waves.

The last section of the human-made canal between Utica, Rome and Sylvan Beach is straight, flat, green and narrow. You’ve been raised up hundreds of feet and at the last two locks, you are lowered to the level of Oneida Lake. It’s a funny feeling to make it to this point because you’re elated at the same time that you wonder, “Now what”? Once there we miraculously found a space on the free marina wall. Of course, it was Pirate Carnival Weekend complete with rides, fried dough, Harley’s, young couples, lots of traffic and more. As Leda said once, “American Pirates are like Yarrr, give me a hot dog…” LOL It was a scene until late into the night. Not being pirates, we grabbed a pizza and turned in early to listen to the festivities, slept like babies and rose with the sun.

We wanted to run ahead of the rain and cross Oneida Lake to Brewerton, NY (30 miles) to stop at the Brewerton Marina to address a problem with our generator shutting down unexpectedly. It was a glorious morning. A peek at the sun before we hit fog followed by glorious sunshine, fishing boats, waves on clean, waving, open water (hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah).

This is us outrunning the rain at Sylvan Beach. Sayonara!
Heading west across the Oneida Lake.
Stopping to watch a fisherman reel in a walleye.

We made it to Brewerton in bright sunlight and were greeted at the dock by a few folks we had no idea we would come to know quite well. Why? Because the little generator issue? Well, it’s still a big issue. Day two of “trouble shooting”. New impeller, new switch, new sensor, every part inspected and cleaned, and it’s not the control panel, but wait, almost no water pressure….I am not making this up. We are here for a whiiiiillllllleeeeee. OH, also a moot point as the locks ahead are all closed due to rain in the Mid-West, the Oswego Canal is closed and the guard locks are down in Rochester due to high water. In true Noah style, as I type this, we are having an enormous hail storm (the first David has truly experienced in his life). The boats are rocking, lightening is cracking and thunder is real loud. I think this was foreshadowed last night when the setting sun was bright red from the wild fires farther out west. This earth of ours is going through some big changes and we are all ascending at our own pace. Blessings and prayers my friends.

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Day Six of Erie Canal Lock Closures

We have been tied to the wall at Riverlink Park in Amsterdam NY for nearly a week. The heavy rains and strong current damaged gates on the locks and moved red and green bouy markers from what anchored them in place. No word yet on a definitive reopening date. There are five other looper boats here too, and many others scattered at lock walls and marinas up and down this section (Locks 2-19 in the Mohawk River) of the canal.

A lot of trees, logs and debris float by.
The tip top of a submerged green can that later was dislodged by a floating tree.

So, we wait. Today we are grateful for-

  • Sunshine
  • kindness
  • local knowledge
  • fresh food
  • books
  • kindle
  • music
  • meditation
  • walking
  • one another
  • freedom
  • friends
  • family
  • conversation
  • trees
  • mother earth
  • water
  • Spirit
  • stretching
  • rest
  • breathing
  • A Course in Miracles
  • time
  • imagination
  • love
This delicious wine from Owen & Dakota ☀️
Grateful for an awesome gas stove and fresh garlic veggies pasta sauce bubbling away.
When things reopen, we are ready to go!

Wishing you all the best wherever you are. 🌊