Tag Archives: #aglca

The Power Behind Life

It has been an intense time in this corner of the world as a major hurricane gained strength over the warm ocean waters and powered its way up the Gulf of Mexico, coming to shore at the exact place where David and I began our Great Loop journey and subsequently crossed our wake on December 4th, 2021; Cayo Costa, Florida. Hurricane Ian hit land with a wicked fierceness and a magnitude unparalleled in recent years. Arriving near high tide in the vast Charlotte Harbor (30 miles long by 12 miles wide), the strong winds pushed a near ocean of water into the bay and consequently up the three rivers that flow there; the Peace, Myakka, and Caloosahatchee. Thus causing immense damage across many communities along the shore and inland from the harbor. The level of destruction is immeasurable and many lives will be changed forever, and difficult, for a long time to come.

The marina in Fort Meyers where our adventures and life on IRENE began.

One of the couples we met during the Great Loop, and have stayed in touch with since, reside in Cape Coral, Florida. Their house was destroyed in the hurricane and their boat was spared by inches from coming up, over and off their floating dock. I reached out to them to express our love and received many messages in return. We ended up on the phone together discussing the current state of the waters around Cape Coral, Fort Meyers, Punta Gorda, and the rivers that flow into Charlotte Harbor. We talked too, because David and I are scheduled to be at the Fisherman’s Village Marina in Punta Gorda for November and December, so the safety and pass-ability of the waterways there is vital to any travel. What they shared was predictable and awful, none the less. They told us that most waterway markers are missing, blown off in the storm. They said the waters are black and it is impossible to see into the water therefore impossible to spot debris, sunken objects and such. They shared that throughout the water from south of Tampa past Fort Meyers and Naples, and in the ICW there are sunk and partially submerged cars, houses, boats, roadways, trees, and more. The entire area is considered a disaster area and the waterways are currently off limits to recreational boaters and travelers. There are still rescue operations happening and much of the area has only intermittent power, phone service and internet/data capacity. In other words, this year, we will not be able to go to Punta Gorda by water. We will be there in spirit and return again, we hope, in April of ‘23. Fingers crossed.

It occurred to me that in times of great difficulties, during experiences that diminish us, we pray for strength to endure what life has brought us. We don’t pray for “easy”. We focus on emerging from what has the potential to destroy us. We pray for strength to transcend what hurts us in order to help ourselves and others. As it is during times of great joy, the power behind that prayer, that space we are holding, is love. Love for yourself, love of life, love of other people; loving the moments as you live them. We come from love, we are love and we return to love.

By the time Hurricane Ian reached us here in Charleston, it had been knocked down to a category 1 hurricane. Winds ranged from 40 to 85 mph and were accompanied by very heavy rain and local flooding. We were very lucky. Thank you to the many of you who reached out to check on us. Thank you for your concern, your prayers, your thoughts, your love. We could feel the positive energy. We gathered up your light and pulled it in around us and it helped us to stay UPlifted and generate more good thoughts while we lived in the flow of not knowing how our boat would fair.

David and I had gone to prepare IRENE for the coming storm. We doubled up on her lines and secured anything that could “fly around” during the inevitable heavy seas and rocking and rolling on the dock. We did all that we could there. On the home front, we shopped for a few foods to prepare ahead and a few favorites to enjoy in the inevitable event we would lose power. Also, a big trip to the arts and crafts store for paint, charcoal pencils, new markers, ink, special paper and more. The best remedy to address anxiety is to prevent it through engagement, especially through DOing. DOing anything with the intention of consciously engaging in it. My theory here is that by DOing things we become fully present in the moment and the mind focuses on the moment you are in. Simple and effective. So, once our preparations were completed and we had many intentional conversations with the grandchildren about the coming storm, and fairly quickly, we got to happily and calmly, DOing things- Cooking, creating, reading and resting. Twenty-four hours later, IRENE weathered the storm beautifully (only the dock buckled). The house stood strong with minimal water inside from just one side door, after 8 hours, the power was restored, and behind it all, we remained calm, centered and loving.

My friend in South Dakota, Carol https://xinaallen.com/ Morgan, recently shared a personal story about something that is currently difficult and causing sadness within her own family. She reflected on some learning that occurred with her and her sister as they had been feeling badly about the situation. For those of us who have lived long enough and through enough “storms” this may be familiar, but it is always good to be reminded. The learning was essentially: it is important to acknowledge sad and/or heavy feelings as they come to us and to feel them in your heart. Keep them there inside your feeling heart, not in your mind, they’re not for your head; they aren’t there for analysis. After you have held them in your heart-space, release them, because when sadness and other heavy feelings are invited into our minds they bring exponential density that invites fear and suffering. All the “what ifs”, “should haves”, “I wishes”, and “he said she saids” are the stuff fear is made of- and fear erodes your peace and makes it impossible to rise UP and live life fully, joyfully. Not only during the difficult times, but especially during the difficult times.

In the meantime, I called our marina in Marathon, Marlin Bay, where we are already scheduled to stay from January 1st – April 1st, and I was told that miraculously, our slip was available for us in November and December. Since we are scheduled to leave here on Monday, October 10th, this was blessed news to us. And this nearly improbable outcome was just the beginning of a constellation of connected miracles. My next call was to move a departing flight to visit Anna in December, from the Fort Meyers airport to depart from Miami. Another miracle, seats available and in the end, I was assigned better seats and given a $200 credit. The next unexpected message was an invitation to fly directly from Miami to St. Kits in November for a few days at a villa with David’s sister Kathie and her husband Dan. An beautiful gift for us to explore a new place with people we love. New pathways to joy are opening for all of us. May everyone’s beloveds, friends, angels, guides, teachers and powers that be, surround you with as much grace and abundance as we are experiencing now.

Look up. Lighten up.

PS: From Charleston

South Carolina

South Carolina’s low country.

On a chart, or on a map, borders look like lines. Fine lines that depict boundaries and “distinct” places. For some period of time, most days, I am looking at charts and then, I am looking up. Back and forth between the lines and the world. Throughout this process I get to observe from a place of neutrality and play a kind of discernment game as we travel. I look for things that make one side of the line observably different or unique; for signs that the lines demarcate something noticeable. Simultaneously, every place has energy so there are the nuanced frequencies, vibes if you will, for places we pass through and inhabit. Imagine a map where you see the border lines, the outlines of the towns, the rivers, creeks, waterways, roads, mountains, and bays. Now, imagine you can take a translucent page, where colors overlay the map and depending on the local energy; the chart or map gets a shade of this color or a shade of that color, all representing a myriad of frequencies. I am not sure if was born with a soul contract to a certain place however; I believe it is more likely that I was born with a soul contract to resonate at a certain octave, and those places light up the colors over the map, for me.

South Carolina has a vibe and an energy that is familiar to me now. Here begins the landscape and ecosystem of the low country. This is the third time I have traveled through the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW) of South Carolina. On the chart, it does appear that when folks sat down to draw that border line, they said, “shallow sounds and big rivers to the north and all low country grasses, creeks and marshes to the south”. Very nice state. Pretty high and bright octave.

Night one in South Carolina: Calabash Creek. This is the third time we have anchored in this creek. It sits at the crossroads of North and South Carolina, as well as a significant ocean inlet at LIttle River and the ICW. This time, we had to anchor twice due a strong current there. Once our chain was fully extended, we were just a little too close to the channel for comfort, as there are many tour boats and fishing boats that leave Calabash for the ocean and pass by there. In other words, their wake will rock the boat, regardless of where you anchor, so farther off the channel is better (and safer).

The first city along the ICW in South Carolina is Myrtle Beach. It is miles of slow and no wake zones. It is densely populated. On a Sunday morning, this means there will be a lot of traffic on the water. Therefore, we decided to leave the creek at sunrise to try and avoid a slow freeway experience on the water. Myrtle Beach appears to be a place for land lovers.

South of Myrtle Beach, the ICW joins the Wachesaw River. The river introduces fresh water to the salt water until it is more fresh than brackish. This is a wide and lush river where the trees grow right up to the shore. You can see remnants of old docks and camps in remote places, Eagles and alligators hunt the fresh water areas. You could be anywhere in the world. Green on green and blue and gray. I really like everything about it, especially how you can often see and hear the ocean shore just beyond the low country grass line.

We spent four nights in the heart of the river, right on the ICW at the Wacca Wachee Marina at Mullins Inlet (north side of Pawleys Island). We had intended to stay two nights however; there were four days and nights of 100 degree weather and high humidity and we needed to remain plugged in for AC. It’s not good for a boat to get moisture inside it. The best air for a boat comes from sunshine and a breeze from the bow to the stern blowing freely through her. In the absence of that, AC is an ok remedy.

Turns out that four nights is a good amount of time to accomplish things. The heat does beg you to slow down and choose pace over total number of things completed. At any rate, here is a partial inventory of things we did when we weren’t laying low or melting:

  • We washed the salt off of IRENE and gave her decks a good scrub and the windows received the squeegee treatment.
  • We took the dingy down and cleaned the hull and scrubbed IRENE’s water line. This was serious work takes a lot of collaboration. IRENE is long and wide, AND she is tall. The deck to the waterline is at least 12 feet.
  • While we were doing the waterline we also sprayed all the places on the stainless where there was a hint of rust. Rinsed that all down later.
  • We filled our water tanks.
  • We did laundry, ate at the cute restaurant there and had an instacart delivery.
  • Rested. Wrote. Read. Watched tennis. Cooked some good food and had a near ton of fresh fruit.
  • Met some really nice people at the marina and a gem of a human at the laundry who gave me a ride across a busy intersection to a nail salon. Maybe they didn’t build sidewalks there so that people could meet their neighbors? I don’t know, but it was so nice to get a ride on hot day from a person who shined the same lovely and bright colors as the low country.
See ya later alligator 🐊 on the dock at Wicca Watchee!

On the fifth day, we moved. Our destination was to leave the river, cross Wynea Bay to the ICW as it passes through the Cape Romain National Preserve. It is an extraordinary place. This is the place that dolphins and egrets go to relax. On this particular day, we stopped after only 20 miles at the South Santee River and anchor at the first significant creek, Minim Creek, on the east side of the river. The wind was howling out of the east, but our anchor held fine and dolphins circled IRENE repeatedly to say hello and to welcome us. There were a lot of local fishermen as well, who for the most part, kept their distance and didn’t wake us too badly. The wind was spectacular for sleeping and we woke to a light rain and fog. It was also the first day of duck hunting in SC. Put that all together and we were happy to be back underway early.

A pod of dolphins came along with us for miles up the river.

Early mornings in the low country are spectacular and we were buoyed by the colors, the waves, the wind at our backs, and the rising tide. We made our way to a place we had never been before, Graham Creek. This is a deep creek all the way up to where it bends towards the ocean. Low country grasses and sparse trees block the waves from the ocean and from the ICW, so you get to see the creak opening to one side, the ocean to the other. You can feel the ocean winds, and you hear the ocean crashing, all in the absence of the boat rocking. We anchored in the middle of the creek, just before the bend, in 10 feet of water at mid tide. Everything was lovely until the wind died. It became too hot to be comfortable and rain was on the horizon. And did it ever rain! It was the heaviest rain David and I have ever experienced, including during hurricanes. We laid down and listened to the rain on the roof in a kind of disbelief that the clouds could hold that much water. After the rain, there was no wind, just humidity. OH- and a Kingfisher. He perched right on IRENE’s Bimini and sat majestically, for a long while. I have never been so close to a Kingfisher. For those few minutes, the heat was bearable.

This rainbow appeared in the morning as we were leaving the creek.

From Graham Creek we headed to the Isle of Palms Marina on Isle of Palms, right on the ICW. It was a beautiful cruise however; once there, I had to come to the dock two times as the tide was going out and the current was stronger than visible or imagined. You know the expression about landing a plane is like a controlled crash? Heading a 25,000 pound boat at a dock at 4 knots with the wind behind you and current on your beam is kind of like that until you stop going forward, which hopefully, is with your boat parallel at the dock. In this situation, I do positive self talk like an athlete and remind myself that “practice makes progress”. At any rate, the second time was the charm.

On the dock at Isle of Palms (that’s Goat Island on the other side of the ICW).

Isle of Palms was a beautiful stop for two days. We had a spot at the end of the dock, facing the ICW. From there we were able to watch boats, ferries, fisherman, kayakers, sunrises, and crows. Crows! I feel like it had been a long while since I have communed with the Crows. On this day, I was walking down the dock and the crows were landing above me; circling and landing. I stopped to observe them and in turn, they stopped to observe me. We watched each other. Like dolphins, Crows are telepathic. On this day, as we were preparing to depart again, they were asking me to take a higher perspective. I definitely appreciated their communication as I was feeling a little “blah” about preparing to move. They reminded me, in the most beautiful way, to embrace the transitions. Sometimes I forget this. Also, I appreciate that the crows found me interesting enough to be curious about and engaged in staring at me for a bit. One even allowed me to take his picture before I walked on.

One last crow perched on the fishing tower.

Our next stop, Charleston. 10 miles from Isle of Palms to the Cooper River Marina on the north east side of Charleston. That will be IRENE’s home base for the next month, before we begin heading souther again. David and I will spend a few nights one the boat, at the marina, before moving into the room over the garage at (son) Jay’s house in Mount Pleasant. As always, sending up hopeful prayers for a continued low activity hurricane season and another month filled with love.

Have a blessed month~~~

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.


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.

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.

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 ☀️🤟🏽

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.