“What if all I want is a small, slow, simple life?…What if I am most happy in the space of in between?… Where calm lives… What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?” … Exerpt from “What if All I Want is a Mediocre Life?” an essay by Krista O’Reilly Davi-Digui
When I look back to how our lives have changed over the past five years and even how the tone of our blog posts have changed, I have to shake my head and wonder when we actually altered course. Our blog used to be all about what we did with the boat, where we went, the problems we had and how we solved them, the modifications we made. It was to have been a journal of sorts of our journey and in part for those who had similar boats or intentions.
We’ve had some pretty cool adventures on our little boat and made changes on her to transform her into our little water chalet . Our first year, Trois Rivieres to Quebec City . The Rideau Loop and Thousand Islands our second. New York and Long Island Sound our third. And last year our biggest adventure to date, the magestic St Lawrence River and Gaspe region.
These were all a part of a five year plus plan we created that centred around R.E.D. This year, summer 2017, was to be have been our three-month Lake Huron and Georgian Bay cruise. Weather with so much rain bringing high water levels seriously cut into our planned time away so we headed east instead where we fell in love all over again. Next year, 2018, was to have been our Great American Loop Adventure, taking a year off to cruise to the Great Lakes down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida (maybe taking a side trip across to the Bahamas) then back up the Intracoastal Waterway making our way home. The Canadian versus US dollar and the current political climate has discouraged us from continuing down that road…for now at least.
We threw around the idea as a lot of cruisers do, living aboard or spending six months somewhere in the south on the boat during the winter months. A very appealing dream it is. But as we see with cruising bloggers whose adventures we’ve followed, so many seem to have branched off after several years into land-based pursuits leaving water life behind. And as we age, concerns about health care and increased costs of insurance became a very real focus.
We even looked into the costing of buying a land-based live-aboard vehicle, specifically the Canadian made Safari Condo with about the same amount of living space as R.E.D. Sharing our ideas and dreams with each other of travelling through our great country, through the US and further became a fun pastime for us. Loading it on a boat to cross over to Europe was also considered. But then R.E.D. happened. She was an expansion of the RV idea of travellling and exploring allowing us to change not only land plan but water as well. The best of both worlds.
There is so much more we want to do with our lives too. If we invest totally in a water life will we be able to feed our other passions? Travel for instance. Francois lived for two years in the south of France and promised that someday he would take me there. I was lucky enough to have bare boat sailed in the British Virgins so have promised to take Francois someday to re-live with him those adventures.
RED by the SEA
All of this brought us to thinking about a life at the edge of the sea instead of a life on the sea which led us to where we are now…our RED by the SEA. We can still return to cruise Lake Huron someday. We can still revisit the Great American Loop plan. But this shift has freed us up to do other things while continuing to explore this beautiful part of Canada. The Saint John River for example has been called the Rhine of North America and is now added to our water plan. And sailing the exquisite Bras d’Or Lakes nestled in the centre of the Cape Breton highlands, is something I’ve dreamed of doing for many years now.
Bras d’Or Lakes photo CaperPics
As you read this post we are no longer Montrealers. We are nomads, literally homeless for the next few weeks until RED by the SEA is legally ours. Of course we’ll return for family and friend visits but it’s with so much emotion that we leave behind our nest that was to have been our ‘forever’ place with its magnificent four season views, replacing a city life for one in the country.
Our belongings are now packed into the POD. All our wordly possessions reduced to a little over 1000 cubic feet (and yes, to those who placed your bets, everything fit thanks to my master planner. Was there really ever any doubt?)
Our Life in a Box
Are we ‘settling’? Are we compromising? A lot of thought and soul searching went into this latest decision and it feels so right. It’s like slipping into a warm bath, or putting on a favourite pair of jeans or hanging with your best friend. We haven’t settled or compromised. Not at all! We’re right where we should be, that space of in between where calm lives.
Where Calm Lives
Post Script: french translation is automated and not always perfect. Sorry
I wasn’t planning on sending you all an update until a bit closer to leaving Montreal but when our moving POD was delivered today I decided it was worth telling you all about the experience.
It was not too dissimilar to launching a boat. The guy presented himself around 08:00 after a couple of calls letting us know of his approximate arrival time. By the way, so far in this process at least, we are super happy with the company and what they offer, very reasonable pricing and a small military discount is always welcomed. These days when customer service seems to be less than what we are willing to put up with we’ve been really impressed with their communication. I say so far because we still have a way to go.
So here’s the show. Podzilla the robot that our POD sits on, raises up the container so that the driver can extract the POD from his truck then lowers the POD slowly to the ground. Podzilla then returns to the truck. Very much like our annual boat launch and with as much care.
The great communication continued with a demo of how the locking system works….
…and some instructions on loading etc.
As always, the Pig played supervisor from afar. I guess we’re all a little nervous about the events of the days to come.
The First Run
In the beginning, when we started bringing all our carefully packed boxes down to load, I thought, there is no way our stuff is going to fit. I mean NO WAY! But after a few hours of hauling and lifting and arranging, Francois had it all neatly stacked, taking up no more than a third of the container. If nothing else, all those military moves taught this guy to pack like a professional. We still have so much more to do and I’m still taking bets to see if our worldly goods can fit into an 8’ x 8’ x 16’ POD. Feel free to chime in with your bets.
The land galley is getting mighty low on supplies but we managed to squeeze in one lowly beer to share, congratulating ourselves for a job well done today.
Post Script: french translation is automated and not always perfect. Sorry
This will go down in our blogging journal as a very disappointing sailing season for R.E.D. and her crew.
I just re-read that and it sounds so negative. Let me clarify. Yes, we’ve enjoyed some phenomenol days out on the water in our new cruising ground. We absolutely and without regret love our new water home. Adding to that, we have found a land home that will soon become our RED by the SEA. But in the last five years we have lived aboard almost six months of what most Canadians call sailing season. This year will be a huge compromise. We have obligations to take care of back in Montreal that will consume the better part of the rest of the season. So R.E.D. is being put to bed much much earlier than usual. As disappointing as this is with a full two months left for most sailors here, we have to focus on the priorities…take care of business….whatever you want to call it….see the bigger picture.
One last visit to the Gramma Beach
One Last Sail
Out for one last tour of the bay, all documented in our boat log and date stamped with photos.
The Bigger Picture
One last sail past our little RED by the SEA location.
Peggy’s Cove Light House
One last view of Peggy of the Cove.
One last look at the open waters of the Atlantic before heading back in to begin the haul-out preps.
Sad Little R.E.D.
It took us a couple of days to rebalance…removing sails and lines and repacking from vehicle, from my daughter’s basement, back to the boat trying to make sure there was a minimal amount of work to do to winterize once we return.
All the Lines
Our place here at Shining Waters Marine has offered so many advantages. Secure home for us on the water, great facilities and close proximity to everything we need and immediate entry into the best sailing Eastern Canada has to offer. One side benefit is that it’s a popular location for events and weddings and on one of our last nights onboard we were treated to music from a very talented fiddler, the sounds of which would have made Stéphane Grappelli sit up and take notice. As the evening wore on the fiddler turned to tunes straight out of a good old down east kitchen party. We found ourselves tapping our toes while sipping our evening scotch tucked away in our cosy cabin. Then the partiers’ evening finished just after sunset to a rousing fireworks display. Thanks for letting us enjoy your celebrations whoever you are.
This is where R.E.D. will reside on land until our return.
View from the Back of the Boat
And just so we don’t miss our Eastern home too much, this will be our welcome home each morning as a little reminder while away.
Crazy for Coffee
Post Script: french translation is automated and not always perfect. Sorry!