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Madcap Sailing
Across the North Atlantic
09/07/2011/11:22 am, Halifax NS (crew), Florida (boat)

Halifax to Norway! The Norwegians have all made it safely across the North Atlantic Ocean! (pic is the old town clock in Halifax) Ella and Sjarmen made landfall in Fort William after 24 days at sea and are now back home in Norway. Fri Inspiration arrived back a week or two ago. Doesn't it just make you tingle all over to think of their adventure? I'm encouraged by the fact that they encountered no really, terribly, horribly, bad weather on their passage. Not that we are about to set off on such a journey ourselves, but it is still nice to know ...

Here in Halifax, we spent a fine evening with Raewyn and Peter (Saliander). These New Zealand sailors cruised the south coast of Cuba last winter, and then came up to Canada where they anchored in the Northwest Arm near Armdale Yacht Club. They came for dinner and laundry and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting them before they continued on to Newfoundland for the summer.

In other boating news, Jim and I took Kathy Parsons' on-line Spanish for Cruisers course through Seven Seas Cruising Association. (SSCA) It's a short one - just 6 sessions but it sure was intense and is a great jump start for us in our efforts to improve our Spanish before heading back south this winter. We are both really impressed by Kathy's dedication and ability to teach on-line. Check out for upcoming courses in all sorts of marine topics.

In our landlubbing summer life, we have both been busy. Jim has been doing some consulting, and developing his consulting business. He enjoys being able to draw on his years of experience to mentor others in leadership roles. I have been spending my time in the garden and am thrilled to see that my "less than green thumb" seems to be greening up! Our long cold spring is history now and the plants in our garden are finally daring to rise up. I have beans and squash and cucumbers climbing poles, tomatoes and strawberries in pots, and herbs and salad greens tucked in lots of places. The cosmos, dahlias and impatiens add spots of colour, and I must say - the back garden is almost as good as a cockpit for relaxation!

We both enjoy spending time at the family cottage on the Northumberland Strait, where we cleaned up the mess from the "big storm" of December '10, and are getting ready to paint it. I wrote an article for our Healing Touch Association of Canada e-connections newsletter and had a wonderful time playing with the overlapping themes of balance, wellness, and movement from both my sailing life and my land life. Jim bought a new tablet and is happily engaged in syncing it with his computer, and finding exciting and useful apps. It's been a while since he had a new toy!

We've been getting ready for the presentations on cruising that we'll give this summer. As we go through our pictures and old blog postings from the time since we left Gananoque, ON to go cruising, we've been reminiscing and planning and analyzing and laughing. Embarking on our first cruise back in 2007 was an unqualified excellent decision for us. We continue to fine tune it: A one time trip or the first of many? Full time or part time? With or without an on-land home? Return to familiar places or travel to new ones? Same boat or new one? What's our comfort level? Are we risk takers? What do we value? What are our responsibilities? How do we create our best lives?

Good questions! I know for sure that sailing is part of it - and that we're not following the Norwegians across the North Atlantic!! Madcap likes warm water right now.

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Update from Halifax
Beth / mid teens - way too chilly for this time of year!
20/06/2011/12:28 pm, Halifax NS (crew) boat in Florida

We have had such a cold wet spring here that Jim frequently remarks, "We came back too soon!!!" Not so really, because we've been having a fine time being back in our own house, seeing family and friends, playing host to visiting sailors.

About those sailors ...

We know that Henrik and Anders (Fri Inspirasjon) whom I mentioned in the last posting, are on their way from Newfoundland to Ireland and then on to Norway. Find their blog at After they left, another couple of Norwegian sail boats arrived. We met Ann Christin and Christian (Ella) in Puerto de Vita and again in Varadero and told them to look us up if they came up this far up the coast (they thought they might go to Bermuda and home from there.) Sure enough, we got a phone call! They had hooked up with Henning, Marius and Gustav (Sjarmen) and were at the Armdale Yacht Club for a few days. Jim drove them all over town as they gathered up cold weather clothing, provisions, and dozens of things on their lists. They visited the Binnacle - our local chandlery, the Army/Navy Surplus store and IMP Marine in Dartmouth - where they found the best boots! Ann Christin commented that they were able to get not only the essentials at great prices, but some of the items on their wish lists too! Nice feeling.

In the evening, they all came for dinner. We had a great time, and introduced them to fiddleheads and dulse and solomon gundy (along with bbq'd pork tenderloin and roasted veggies) and around about 10:30, we decided they could not leave town without visiting a local pub or two. So off we walked to the Lower Deck where we listened to some good music and downed a pitcher or two of beer. They showed no signs of fatigue so we left them there sometime after midnight and Jim and I walked back home. We found out later that they really took to Halifax nightlife and arrived back at their boats about 5:30 the next morning!

They ended up being in Halifax for over two weeks while they waited for weather for their crossing, spending most of their time tied up on the waterfront where they could walk most everywhere (including a few more visits to pubs and clubs where they enjoyed music and cold ones). We were delighted to have them around for longer, and they seemed to enjoy our home and our company - and our showers! It was a treat for us to pay forward some of the assistance others have given us over our years of cruising.

We learned that lobster in Norway costs about $75. per kilo and only Henning had ever eaten the northern variety so we decided that we must have the first of our summer lobster feeds while they were still in town. They started off the evening watching the Norway/Portugal soccer game on TV and finished it watching game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals with us. It was just like our old days of having a roomful of our children and their buddies watching the games. We were joined by our daughter and her boyfriend, and our neighbour who works for Coast Guard so it was a fabulous crowd. The lobster went down well and it was a wonderful grand Nova Scotia evening.

They finally got the weather forecast they needed, and after one last lunch and a round of showers, prepared for departure on June 6. We went down to the wharf to see them off - in the pouring rain - and so waved good bye to another group of hardy sailors. That's the pic above. (Kristen, thanks for sending us the pic of Henrik and Anders leaving! It was fun to share that goodbye with you.) The two boats, Ella and Sjarmen, headed off across the North Atlantic for Ireland, bypassing Newfoundland because of time constraints and weather. We've been following their blogs (using Google Translate which makes for some hysterical reading!) Just for the record - we are not elderly and we did not take them to a strip bar! This will make sense if you find Sjarmen's blog posting of their first evening with us!! ( and ( They both have some good pictures too. As of this morning, day 14, they are over halfway there and have finally been able to set a course straight for Ireland. They have just come through a rough stretch but he weather has been mostly favourable - and by times a whole lot warmer than here!

Jim and I have been so impressed by all these young sailors - their courage and pluck and enthusiasm for the sailing life. They are all returning to jobs or school with a years' worth of fabulous experiences tucked away in their memories. It keeps us enthused about pushing our edges too!

We had one more evening with sailing folks this week. Jeff and Tessa Evason (Inamorata) were in town to do a show and came for dinner. We met these two in the Abacos 2 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed their company then - beachcombing and playing dominoes - so we were really happy to have another chance to visit with them. They brought along Jeff's Uncle Ronnie and we all had a thoroughly good time. Although we know Tessa and Jeff as cruising friends, they are impressive entertainers and we'd sure love to see them get bookings that will bring them back to this area. (

That's the update for now. We are speaking and showing pictures in a couple of places this summer - a beachside gathering of Cumberland County power and sail squadron members, and Trident Yacht Club near Gananoque, ON where we first started this adventure. We are excited about sharing our stories!

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01/07/2011/6:06 am | Connie & Ken, S/V OZ
Beth & Jim,
Do you have a date for Trident. We'd like to meet up with you when you are in Ontario, and take in the presentation. We have been reading your Cuba blog and hope to get some help/guidance for our trip there this winter.
Sounds like all is well with you and you've got great stories to tell. Thanks for blogging! Connie
19/05/2011/10:06 pm, Halifax

I did it! I finally did it! I just put lots of Cuba photos in the gallery. It is a lot easier now than when I last tried (which was ages ago I'll admit.) I'll put some Bahama ones up soon too. Oh it was all so beautiful ....

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