Tag Archives: ACIM

Life is Mostly Subjective & the Planet is Mostly Water

On Monday morning, October 10th, with Hurricane Ian behind us, we set out on IRENE towards our winter home in Marathon, Florida. We had a full supply of passion and hopeful expectations for the journey. We traveled from morning to late afternoon, not just that day, but everyday, for 8 days. From Charleston to Church Creek at Wadmalaw Island, SC. From Church Creek to Spanish Point in Beaufort, SC. From there to Bull Creek (near Hilton Head). Bull Creek to Savannah, Georgia. From Savannah to New Tea Kettle Creek (seriously, up the creek a couple of miles). New Tea Kettle Creek to Floyd Creek at Cumberland Island, GA. After Cumberland Island, the Atlantic ICW brings you into Florida where we anchored in North Sisters Creek, south of Jacksonville. From Sisters Creek we headed to St. Augustine for two nights. Then three more travel days to Palm Coast, New Smyrna and then down the Indian River. Twelve days since departing Charleston. I just want to say, “holy shit”. I was not prepared for so much traveling, and all that it entails, day after day. In fact, by the end of day number 8, my body/mind complex called out for assistance by way of stillness, and that is the reason we stayed in St. Augustine for two nights rather than one. David was prepared to keep moving, but he was happy to accommodate my request, and settle in for a windy day of reflection on the mooring to rest and recharge for the duration of this journey.

We received assistance from these three amazing souls in the Cumberland River. We had passed them at Jekyll Island and after crossing the inlet, we saw them again. In the mixed up seas and big waves at the inlet, our dinghy had come untied and was dragging her stern in the water. They flagged us down and then, like Navy Seals, two of them swam over and climbed aboard and helped David and I rerun the lines and lift her up out of the water to secure her. They were wonderful and we would have had a much more difficult time correcting the situation on our own. We often say that we have angels around us and there they were showing up again.

Life on the water has transformed my definition of what it means to be strong and courageous. I believe the nexus of our strength and grit is not an amalgamation of physical attributes and drive to push on no matter what, rather, it is located at our heart center where we compose our lives, where we honestly identify our needs, where we birth and nurture our passions, and where we find the ears to hear. We all got a heart right there in our center to open up and create the life we want to live. It is a much truer composer and compass than the brain. Now, we are anchored in Cape Canaveral, Florida, with 400 more miles traveled. The wind is blowing out of the north, the current is flowing, there’s some big fetch from the Indian River, the tide is going out, and I am sitting here writing this missive to me and you from the strongest muscle I got.

On our second day in St. Augustine three of my crow friends came for a visit. They agreed that it was the perfect day to be right there.


We are incredibly grateful for these fair weather travel days. It means we have been able to cover a lot of territory and make good time towards our destination (approximately 400 miles). And of course, each day contained opportunities to appreciate the beauty of places, to commune with the natural world, to learn, and to encounter new people and all the energies. Albeit, while moving our bodies and navigating and steering and taking care of the boat and taking care of our basic needs and communicating and trying to get some rest and remembering to eat well and check on the anchor and just breathe. You know, life in a dense body.

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.

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.

April ‘til Today, May 8th, 2020

Greetings from Beaufort, South Carolina. (That’s Beau, as in beautiful, Beaufort. BO-Fort is in North Carolina.) This is the second year that David and I have tied up at the Lady’s Island Marina. We followed our route from last year and traveled here from Hilton Head Island, crossing Port Royal Sound and Paris Island. This year our crossing from there to here included 30+ mile an hour winds out of the south east making a little more exciting. Wind is a beautiful cosmic force of nature. Like water, like the earth, and the air itself, wind is both a living process and a universal power. The next time you are outside and the wind is blowing, notice there are no boundaries between you and the wind. You’re one! Cosmic kin folk, us and the wind.

Crossing the Port Royal Inlet on our way to Beaufort, SC, with the wind behind us, pushing us along, riding the waves.
I took this short video after we had Irene tied up. I couldn’t capture the force of the wind but it is proof that I got Irene to the dock, safely and soundly, but not without the holy interventions of prayers and cussing.

We took a break in St. Augustine Beach to spend a week with Anna, Don, Isla, Olive, and Don’s mom, Janet. We connected with friends from the area, from Vermont, and Anna’s good friends from St. John who’ve moved there. Hats off to Anna and Don for having the vision and capacity to plan and carryout this rendezvous plan with a two year old and a one month old. I think they got a little of that powerful fortitude from sister wind 😉 David and I managed to get to the Conch House Marina a day before everyone arrived and I was able to Uber to Publix before they arrived and have the kitchen stocked up, the lights on and the sheets turned down. It’s the little things.

Images from the week~~~

From the top, left to right: Anna and Isla, David and Olive, first selfie with I&O, Don and Isla, Janet and Isla, Olive and me, Olive and David, James and JoJo and 7 month old, Maeve, Fletcher and Isla (best buds), Olive smiling at me with her eyes closed, Isla and the biggest shaved ice ever at the Farmer’s Market, Isla enjoying a popsicle (so Emma), the neighbor’s dog, Remy, and Isla xo, me and Olive again, Don and Isla and Anna on the beach, Isla takes Irene’s wheel, sunrise at the marina, and a visit from Terry.

From St. Augustine, the intracoastal waterway proceeds north through some beautiful Florida low lands and snakes her way into Georgia and her barrier islands. Our first night north of St. Augustine we anchored in the harbor at Fernandina Beach, FL right beyond Amelia Island and the last stop before the Georgia Border. Those GA barrier islands are stunningly beautiful. There’s a field of sweet grass that grows along the waterway and at low tide you see the oyster beds. It’s a dramatic coast line. Between the sweet smell of the grasses, the shrimp boats, the dolphins, and the colors in the world, the place inspires a state of aweness.

We had the privilege of spending one night at the Jekyll Harbor Marina on Jekeyll Island. If you are ever searching a place to experience a divine sense of isolation, white sand beaches and a million stars at night, visit Jekyll Island. Step back on the time/space continuum and count the lucky stars that are always aligning for you.

Surreal little marina on Jekyll. Infinite gratitude and LOVE for this time in our lives.

Once you are unable to count all the miracles you see, you come to the inevitable conclusion that everything is a miracle. Especially moved by the efforts dolphins make to connect with us energetically, I was able to take a little video of a pod playing in Irene’s wake.

Another moment, another miracle.

The barrier islands are remote and making your way among the rivers, creeks, inlets, bays and along her shoreline, you see a world that maybe you read about when you were a kid, but more than likely, will still astound you. By no means does that mean it’s simple to navigate this section of the waterway. Between the massive tides, up to 9 feet, currents, wind, shoaling, waterway markers and crab pots, you need to be on your toes. This makes sense to me. A healthy amount of reverent respect required; a type of ecological currency between this amazing earth and her humble guests. North of Jekyll, we anchored off the ICW in the Crescent River. The only other people we saw out there were shrimpers.

A shrimp boat on the ICW among the barrier islands of GA.

In Savannah, we anchored in just off the ICW in the Herb River. A breathless night of pounding rain followed by a perfect day moving between Savannah, GA, and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. At Hilton Head we anchored off Opossum Point hoping for some protection from an enormous south wind. We road out the wind among a few sailboats and amid a constant stream of ferries to from Hilton Head and Dufuskie Island. The wind has been howling ever since. So, here we are in Beaufort where the wind will reportedly continue blowing and gusting for a week. We will jump when we can and head north to a beautiful anchorages near Wadamalaw Island and Church Creek, both south of Charleston and onto Pawley Island to connect with friends we made in Marathon. You got a dream? Chase it!

In Other News:

Happy Mother’s Day Mothers. Here’s a postcard I got from two very special Vermont loves, Emma and Gus.

Flowers and family. One lucky mother. LOL.

A gift on this Mother’s Day for my friend Kaitie who lost her boy, Remy.

Be like Remy. Play, smile, take naps, enjoy your food, love unconditionally, don’t judge, discern, scratch your itches, give kisses, forgive everything. Remy. RIP, brother.

A postcard from St. Thomas as Olive turned 1 month and another painting to end the day.

Olive Ann Yesh.

And her little painting:

A work in progress.

There you have it. Reflections from another blessed month on the water. PS: A few incidents and quite a few cuss words have been omitted from this month’s blog post. Only making room for the good stuff.

“Gratitude is how you tell the universe that you are ready for more… Decide to only put your energy into that which you believe in. That which makes you happy. It is really that simple.” Xina Allen.

Florida.

We’re back.

Things we are remembering about Florida:

  • Salt water means salt on the boat
  • Salt on the boat means scrubbing her down after each travel day
  • EST (Most of the Panhandle is CST, but it changes around St. Joe’s River)
  • Fresh Florida oysters
  • Palm Trees
  • Dolphins
  • Big Water
  • Tides
  • Confused seas
  • Crab pots
  • It’s BIG!
Two Georges Marina, Shalimar, Florida

We left Mobile last Sunday- Crossed the Bay into the Gulf ICW. Mobile Bay is a tiny version of the Gulf of Mexico. We expected a pretty easy crossing however; the weather forecast and the weather didn’t agree. Instead, we had 4+ foot waves when we left the Dog River and turned into the Bay. Theres no turning back. The silver lining was that everything subsided gradually and we just eased into a beautiful afternoon and evening. A day with dolphins, eagles, king fishers, pelicans, herons, and a spectacularly beautiful anchorage at Ingram Bayou in Elberta, Alabama.

Welcome to Ingram Bayou.
Sunrise as stunning as sunset.

The rivers into Florida are big and Florida bays are big too. But, the inlets remind you that theres a small ocean off your starboard side and that you are a speck of life out there.

Irene. Destin, Florida. Photo credit to Tom on Long Recess.

Nights two and three were at Two Georges Marina in Shalimar. night four, was an anchorage a couple miles east of Panama City. We had to find a place we could tuck into and out of a strong northeast wind and we did. Anchored at Parker Bayou, a few miles past the center of Panama City. It felt great to drop anchor after and 8.5 hour day. Thanks to the dolphins for entertaining us throughout the day.

Parker Bayou
Florida Panhandle landscape.

We pulled out at sunrise to head to Apalachacola, FL. 60+ miles east into the wind against foul current. S-L-O-W. about halfway time changes from Central to Eastern. Not sure we gained or lost anything.

Godspeed to this guy!
Gulf Intracoastal, somewhere between Destin and Apalachacola.

The Gulf Intracoastal runs all the way from Texas to Carrabelle, Florida. Apalachicola is the last second to last stop along the way. It’s a cool little town with a Main Street, a narrow creek with narrow docks. It gets very shallow from here out and you have to be very cognizant of the tides. (Thank goodness for GPS!)

Sunrise, Apalachicola River. The marshes remind me of the Sweetgrass in Georgia. I hope it’s Sweetgrass.

We crossed the big Apalachicola Bay on Thanksgiving morning, to the last stop of the Gulf Intracoastal and our last stop (literally where the GIW ends) before crossing the Gulf of Mexico, Carrabelle, Florida. We are watching a variety of weather sites to determine when the best and safest window is for us to cross. The Gulf thinks it’s an ocean and believe me, it can get very rough out there. We are staying The Carrabelle Moorings Marina and each afternoon there is a Captain’s meeting to discuss departures and to “team” up. There’s no cell service out there so boats use a specific VHF channel to communicate with one another while crossing. Currently, it looks like Sunday is our best weather window. If that holds, we will anchor out at Dog Island, next to the inlet, and get a dawn start for the 80 miles from here to Steinhatchee.

If you look closely you can see the opening, the inlet, we will take to enter the Gulf of Mexico~~~

Super grateful to be right here, right now. I’m good waiting until Sunday to leave. Traveling from sunup to sundown is exhausting. It is beautiful and exciting (sometimes) as well, but it takes a lot of stamina and focus to navigate and do all the things that need to be done. David says, “Not many people could do this trip”. I believe it because it’s not really “a trip” in the traditional sense. It’s more like a mission where you have to cross a lot of boundaries, learn things you never thought you needed to know, see things you never imagined, face your fears (which you made yourself), raise your frequency, recognize you are a spirit keeping a body alive, and there are extended periods of absolute quiet. It reminds me of a metaphor where water and waves are symbolic of change. Amending my way, but it goes something like this: Imagine that each day is like a tidal wave and you get to encounter all that the wave brings to your shore, and the wave recedes and it takes away things you thought that you needed but never needed, and it keeps crashing like this, day in and day out; it changes what you see. And everything is impartial, sun shines where it shines, waves hit where they hit and reshape the shoreline, and things get swept away. We are in change with all that we witness. Another moment, another miracle. Life is the best teacher you’ll ever have.

This morning’s view from Irene on the dock in Carrabelle.

That’s it for now from Betheship– Alive and well in a buoyant world!

It’s officially time to listen to Christmas music xoxo

Whole New World

Heading southwest on the Illinois River.

It’s a beautiful world out there; far beyond what we can imagine. Being immersed in new places, new people, and first ever experiences, does more than make us appreciate seeing the world anew. It makes us feel old and familiar feelings in new ways. David and I were making a list of the things that are old and new at the same time. Things that are unexpected and familiar too. The things we covered seemed infinite because literally everything raises the feeling that we keep “getting new eyes”.

This conversation began a long time ago but became more earnest when we arrived at Passini’s Henry Harbor Marina. We had been told that the marina wall was an old lock wall and that it was “extremely rough” however; what we found was the most beautiful marina wall in a place that was filled with light and love. From the first text message from our host, Mary Frances Passini (who wears her office on her back), through all our moments there, we continually reflected on how there seemed to be nothing more beautiful than that old lock wall that was waiting for us against a backdrop of the Illinois River, an aging local bridge, 5 dimensional clouds, and warm sunshine. And Mary Francis, she is one of the hardest working women I have ever met. She wears her big heart on her sleeve and lives a life that she and her husband are creating to preserve the past and make the future better for everyone; for their friends in Henry who love the river life, and for Loopers like us who are so appreciative of safe and welcoming harbors.

IRENE on the new old wall in Henry, Illinois.
A lot of life flowing through this place.
Geese are the ultimate alarm clock in Henry.
White Pelicans appreciating a day on the river too.

We rose early from Henry to continue on to Peoria, IL. For us, it was a short travel day, but the conversation of “old and new” things continued. One of David’s favorite topics is “food”. For some context, David loves about 10 things and likes a few more. His favorites are rooted in the meals his mother cooked and served to his family. He likes meat. He likes all the white food: cheese, bread, butter, potatoes, white fish (i.e. haddock, walleye, cod), shrimp and milk. Somehow, few meals quite reach the height of the deliciousness his mom made however; this trip has freed up his taste buds with appreciation for others to make his “old favorites” really well. “New old” favorites include: the shrimp at Rick’s on Jekyll Island, GA, that feed on sweetgrass from the creeks; crab cakes from his sister Kathie’s in Maryland; chicken Marsala from Nicolino’s in Amsterdam, NY; walleye from The Cove in Leland, MI; pizza from Chuckwagon in Ludington, MI; the filet at Joe’s Steakhouse in Chicago; the fries at DuSable Harbor; pork chops at Red Dog Grill at Heritage Harbor; and the pot roast at Jim’s Bistro in Peoria (to name a few). I think it’s pretty cool that after 74 years of life, 29 years of being together, and a whole lot of eating, that David is discovering how amazingly delicious life is, literally.

David’s larger than life sized portion of “outstanding” Pot Roast at Jim’s Bistro in Peoria 😉
IRENE on the dock at the Illinois Valley Yacht Harbor (IVY)

That’s it, friends. No great literary moments here today, only simple reflections on beauty, the natural world, the waterways, some history, a hard working woman, the impact of our mamas, the food of our families, changing, growing and the interconnectedness of it all.

But if you love a great poem, here’s one just for you.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile, the world goes on.
Meanwhile, the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile, the wild geese, high in the clear blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-Mary Oliver

Heading West: The Inland Waterways

Exiting the Chicago Lock. Where Lake Michigan ends for us.

Entering the Chicago River. 40 bridges in 5 miles~~~

The US inland waterways represent an entirely different type of environment for us. Unlike the Hudson River in NYC, the Chicago River is tight and densely populated. Turning the corner south west into the Illinois River, the landscape is BIG industrial complexes and barges on both sides, loading and transporting things like mulch, coal, cement, and other elements we couldn’t identify. There are also a few miles of water where the Army Corp of Engineers run an electrically charged field to stop giant carp from reaching the great lakes. They say to watch out for the big fish jumping into your boat, they’re dangerous, but we didn’t see any. Here are a few examples of what we did see:

Waiting for an Amtrak bridge to open.
Barge loading…
An Egret 🤍

Our first day was long and we didn’t see any other cruisers until evening, on the free wall in Joliette, IL. The wall has a bad reputation due to crime however; after 47 miles and three locks, we decided it was preferable to doing 15 more miles and two more locks. The locks are enormous and all commercial vessels have priority which means waiting can be hours long then to refill the chamber for us to enter and be lowered can also take “forever”. In the end, it was a pretty uneventful night with the exception of sirens and trains. 🙏🏽

Lots of police driving by the wall. Not sure if that made us feel safer or not, but David made a friend 😂
Nice boat on a rough wall.
Exiting the massive Lockport, IL, lock.

Day two on the rivers we traveled in a flotilla with the six other boats who had also stayed on the wall. It made things interesting and we had to raft up to go through the locks. Something new for us. It was also an even longer day- Almost ten hours to Ottowa, IL. We waited several hours for the lock in Marceilles due to a huge barge taking hours to load and exit the lock chamber. We dropped anchor and tried to relax LOL.

A couple of beauties in our flotilla waiting alongside us. A 70 foot Marlowe and a 53 foot Selene.
And these two beautiful creatures, Eagle and Hawk.
Tied up in a lock with other Loopers ♾

It was just getting dark when we pulled into our slip at the Heritage Harbor Marina. It felt really nice to float Irene into a beautiful cement tiled dock. It was windy and I was thrilled we were all safe and sound. Also, nice to see a kid waiting to grab a line from David. Im not sure if I have mentioned the fact that I am doing all the steering into/out of locks and all the docking. If there’s a learning curve, I am rounding the bend. Sometimes, like last night, my heart rate noticeably increases and I need to calm myself down but mostly, I’m doing great. Last night I got 💯

Safe and sound.

We have some bad weather moving in and we are staying a day or two. Tonight we are attending a lecture the Harbormaster is giving about traveling from here down to the Mississippi. Kind of excited to learn more about what we can expect ahead. No doubt though, the unknowns far outnumber the known.

Keep the faith ya’ll ❤️‍🔥 The days are getting shorter so we all need to turn up our light and shine on. Shine bright, friends.


This Week on Lake Michigan: WIND~~~

Hello, Tropical Storm.

Looks like we will be staying in Ludington, Michigan for a few more day (or weeks). I’ve never actually seen a forecast like this before. I open the weather app and I’m like, “No way”. So I go to the NOAA site, “No way”….I use the WINDY app….”Can’t be”. Then, I listen to the weather radio and I’m like, “Holy shit”. Just when we had it all planned out to arrive in Chicago by October 1st, the universe and the wind elements conspired with the full Harvest Moon to make us sit tight a while longer. So, here we sit. Here we do all the things, except move the boat.

Oh, and not going to swim either.

This morning I rose around 5:30 to howling wind, pounding rain, and the fairly gentle rocking of the boat on the dock. I did my morning mediation and boiled water for coffee. By the time David rose, all the windows were covered in a thick fog of steam (condensation from the teakettle) and it was a bit otherworldly. He looked around and said- I quote, “I’m going to go lay back down”. Yeah, buddy. You can go lay down for a week. I’m just going to write something in the blog about the wind; though the image of the marine forecast speaks for itself.

Today I am going to walk out to the lighthouse at the end of the breakwater and watch the waves crash. I’m going to take a cab to an actual grocery store and get some delicious ingredients to make a few home cooked meals. (One thing IRENE is blessed with a really nice gas range.) Then I’ll listen to my favorite rainy day playlists while I cook. I am going to think good thoughts and contemplate my North Star. If I have any time left, my Kindle is loaded and so is my Prime Video. Feels like a staycation coming on.

Double this 🧀🧈 🍲
(And, no Kaitie, this will not taste as good with that vegan cheese shit.)

This is my first time trying to embed a playlist from Pandora, where I store music. If you right click on the link, and if it works to get you there, and you like it, you can sing along with me.

https://www.pandora.com/playlist/PL:562950022251757:109111583

And if none of these provoke a joyful noise in you, maybe this little ray of sunshine will-

Isla 🌞

Lake Michigan

What an amazing world we live in. What an amazing place this planet is. How lucky are we that we could imagine this voyage, manifest it, and live this sovereign dream out while discovering places that our imaginations never imagined so well? The timing of this all is no coincidence. Stepping out of the matrix at the exact moment we did, when we were focusing on being away from the every day world, out in nature, experiencing freedom and focusing on improving our health. Out here, not only on Lake Michigan, but all the waters, harbors and places along the way, we are a little closer to God.

Great Manitou Island

So, here we are on day three of the second leg, second “half”, of completing the Great Loop. We spent our first night on our anchor in an unbelievable place, Round Lake, just up a short river opening and one draw bridge from Lake Michigan in Charlevoix, MI. It is literally a round lake that is surrounded by beautiful homes, boat houses and a small but bustling town. We had to drop the anchor in 30 feet of water because the overall depth is between 50 and 150 feet. While it’s less than ideal to anchor in 30 feet of water, it worked out beautifully with a light breeze and a tremendously starry night.

An image from Round Lake.
A “mushroom house” on Round Lake.

Listening to the forecast for the next few days, it was clear things were about to change. We took advantage of a brief window of good marine weather to leave early in the morning and travel as far as we could comfortably travel to the next safe harbor marina in Leland, Michigan. What a profound work of nature it is! Surrounded by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Manitou Islands, we could not have asked for a more stunning sanctuary to ride out the 30mph winds that having been blowing all day. Over the bow and over the breakwater we can see the white caps. Irene is being pushed hard into the dock and we have been checking lines and adjusting fenders all day. After a heavy morning rain we walked to a local coffee shop (confession, I had hot chocolate) and enjoyed the work of local painters. It was good to get off the boat and feel the solid and unmoving ground under our feet.

Morning rain in Leland Harbor and the most beautiful sailboat, Songtao, in her slip.
Walking in Leland ⛪️
Windy day view from Irene. Van’s Beach, Leland, Ic

David and I have faced a lot of tense moments throughout this journey, I won’t lie, from start to now. Some I have mentioned in this blog and some that we simply went through. We all know what those feelings are like, we recognized them, but those experiences also make us who we are. Our progress depends on us. The last few days have given me hope for our species. I believe if we can raise our collective frequency more and more, even though life is challenging and sometimes, even often uncomfortable, it is up to us to raise ourselves up. I believe fear is a weak frequency and unless you’re being confronted by a tiger or something deadly, let it go. Fear doesn’t serve us and takes the wonder out of being alive because fear likes to hang out in the unknown and if we stop at the fear, we won’t go anywhere! Paul Selig says, fears job is like a virus or cancer, to replicate itself. He says, “prudence, not fear”. David and I wouldn’t be here if we didn’t realize this. We can’t be victims and creators at the same time~~~

Be thoughtful, be careful, be mindful, be brave, be grateful. Our thoughts and our actions make the moment we are in and they determine the future. Bless everything in the eternal now. Bless everything and it blesses you back in ways you haven’t even imagined yet. Broken record blog writer here, but I’m going to say it again, it’s a reflective universe.

Ok readers. I gotta go shout “I am free, I am free, I am free” from the bow of the boat.

The view of the Mackinaw Bridge from the bow (aka the upper room).

We Are Here!

At the tip of the mitten ✋🏽
  • Day 142
  • 400 hours underway
  • 3000 miles traveled
  • 12 states
  • countless rivers and creeks

We are about to cross the Straights of Mackinaw and officially say “good bye” to Lake Huron and “hello” to Lake Michigan. From the Detroit River all the way north, this section of the loop has been big and beautiful! Big like Montana sky big. Big like an ocean! And the eastern shore line of Michigan is a remote wilderness with white sand beaches for miles and miles and evergreen trees like those that grow in Nova Scotia. Its a place that inspires aweness.

Rogers City breakwater.

The weather here is big too, like when its blowing 10+ on Lake Huron the waves come up fast and every couple of seconds! A little bit of west in the wind brings some protection from the land, but certainly don’t count on it because its too powerful to accurately predict. Here, the forecast and the actual weather, rarely agree. We have had five foot waves crashing over our bow and we have seen relative calm. This place has taught us a lot and has definitely earned our respect. This morning we walked down on the beach looking towards Bois Blanc Island and the Mackinaw Bridge and reveled in the grandness of it all. If I had more time with my phone in hand and planfulness about documenting this section of the loop, you would be seeing dozens of images of light houses, big ships, expansive waters, multidimensional clouds and waves on the water. This morning’s imaginary pictures include the gorgeous fruit and vegetables at the Cheybogan Farmers Market, the beach pines and a fun video of me zipping along the trails from the harbor into town.

Everything is energy.

Lake Michigan is bound to bring new challenges and new lessons in life. Personally, I am learning to not be separate from the essence of things. This requires being fully present in every moment. You bring everything in and welcome it. That, my friends, is love. Presence is unburdened by old stories and doesn’t need to worry about the future. I hope you find yourself in your own presence and realize the profound being you are at heart.

Me time for David.
Profile like Santiago, from The Old Man and the Sea.
❤️
One last look at Lake Huron ☀️🤟🏽
Amazing.