2015 has been a year of learning for us – a very positive, wonderful year that tested our resilience, motivation and relationship.
We started the year by selling our condo and 90% of our possessions and moved into a rental house in south Minneapolis. Dan continued to work selling wine and I started taking classes in WordPress and ITIL (just in case I want to work occasionally in the technology arena).
We embraced the nomad life by buying a cargo trailer that can be used to store all of the off-season boat “stuff” along with extra clothes/coats and Dan’s must-have cookware. We left Minneapolis on May 1 and headed to the boat which had been launched a week earlier. For the next few years we will be keeping our fingers crossed that there is an early ice-out wherever the boat happens to be.
Life on the boat turned out to be wonderful – and we managed quite well in our tiny little space called home. There’s all this talk about Tiny Houses. Those are mansions compared to the space inside of a sailboat (unless you have a catamaran or a 50-foot-plus “yacht”). I don’t know how many square feet we have inside Gaviidae: nothing on a boat is square but I guess it would around 300 square feet. And yet every inch is utilized. It’s too bad home builders haven’t figured out how to effectively make use of space like that.
Gaviidae showed what she was made of, in spite of our occasional efforts to doubt or treat her badly. I’m sure she did not appreciate being put on the rocks in a very remote area of NE Lake Superior, but she took it stride. I can tell you that was probably the most stressful event on the boat thus far because we were in such an isolated area. But through perseverance we got her off, and did so with relative calm as we tried various tricks to free her. A great learning experience for both of us, but bottom line, Scotch goes on the rocks, not a sailboat.
It was a year of seeing wondrous new sights and experiencing amazing beauty. Both Superior and Huron offer breathtaking panoramas of nature—at its most raw and rugged. The ever-changing surfaces of the lakes themselves and the endless vistas are bounded by long stretches of rocky tree-lined shore that then gets broken up by stunning craggy cliffs, boulder-strewn beaches, windswept islands and idyllic bays and coves. The air and sky are pure and clear and at night, the canopy of stars on a clear night is staggering in its scope.
We also learned that we could spend 24 hours a day with each other – I think we were both surprised at how well we did and how much fun we had exploring. It solidifies that we are on the right path.
2015 was also an exceptional year for friends. We made new friends along the way and re-kindled some old friendships. I am extremely grateful for our friends who seem to come out of the woodwork to provide guidance, support, assistance, sanity checks, camaraderie and laughter. Thank you – you know who you are!
People often ask us if we had any bad weather. Well, er, no. That’s not to say there wasn’t any but whenever it hit, we were already hunkered down in some hidey-hole. I’m sure that we will not always be so lucky to have Mother Nature be so kind to us. I’m still nervous about when that might happen, but I also know that we can comfortably sail our boat in 20+ knots with the staysail and a single-reef in the main. When it starts hitting above 25 knots, it’s time for the second reef. We were also out one day when the waves were hitting 6-8 feet with some 10 footers thrown in for good measure. Gaviidae slices through them like a hot knife through butter.
So we learned that Gaviidae can take more than we can. We also expect that as our experiences continue, we will become more and more comfortable with her abilities to keep us safe.
We end the year back in Minneapolis at the house on Humboldt with friends who joined us for a somewhat spontaneous New Year’s Eve gathering. Dan made chili and everyone else brought something to share – and most of us made it to midnight serenaded by Larry Carpenter and his wonderful guitar.
So farewell 2015, you were a very good year, but 2016 brings even more promise of adventure, beauty, education and personal growth.