Closing the Loop
29 September 2011 | Chicago
We officially arrived back in Chicago at 03:23 AM Monday September 19, 2011, some two years, two and a half months since heading out on our journey. The log shows 9,641 nautical miles. If you get in a car and travel some 9000 miles it might take you 18 days if you did it non-stop, stopping and visiting you could do it in several months but at at blazing 6 to 8 miles per hour it takes, well at least two plus years. Six knots is our average speed, just about twice as fast as you can walk, just a little faster than you can run but slower than you can peddle a bike. In fact, traveling down the Erie Canal we were routinely passed by bicyclists riding along the path along the canal.
So the stories of coast guard boardings, twice in the waters around St. Marten and once right here off Chicago, rough storms, weather delays, beaches to die for, and all the places we visited have now come to an end.
When you venture out on a trip you often have feelings of uncertainty coupled with feelings of expectations for the new and unknown. To me our experience traveling the St. Lawrence River system exceeded all my expectations and having done it I can say we also overcame all my feelings of uncertainty and yes fear.
Venturing offshore also conjures up a certain amount of stomach activity. For me the morning of an offshore venture is just like the feelings I had standing in the starting gate of a slalom ski race, butterflies, dry heaves and then, "START" and the uncomfort is over. Nothing settled me better than getting the sails up and getting Lucky Bird underway. Getting busy doing things rather than thinking or worrying about what might happen always seemed to get me through it. Isn't it just like getting ready for a presentation to a client, or making a very important phone call; sailing is similar to any other risk involved activity we humans do in the pursuit of personal growth. So now let me change to tone of this conversation.
This blog is incomplete without mention of my partner, Alice.
I've mentioned to several people, cruisers, that the spouce or significant other can make or break the chances of success completing the journey. Alice, God bless her, is an angel, she is a trooper, she is a sailor, she is my lover, she is my friend, she is my confidant, she is the cook, the bottle washer, and so so so much more. She is so brite, so observant; she can watch what I'm doing and serve up those few words of encouragement that buoy me onward. Besides that her ideas, her insight, her views, her loving stokes are what make my life so full and peaceful. She relied on me to navigate, to control the boat, to fix the problems and yet.... all-the-while she knew she was important to our joint success. She is an independent thinker, she is a marvelous conversationalist and be-friends people with her infectious smile.
So I am blessed; a partner who was as committed to our success as me; a boat that was so reliable, so comfortable that we appreciated her as much as a member of our family. Lucky Bird thank you for all you've given Alice and me. Our journey would have been impossible without such a seaworthy craft.
And now, to anyone reading it's time to let Lucky Bird rest, to reset to life on the land, to contribute to our children's family lives and to update our "Bucket List". I can tell you that the concept of a "Bucket List" becomes incredibly relevant when you are working on it; when you are in the world sucking in everything you can. We are so fortunate to have the time and resources to cover those 9,000 miles.
We are so happy, so pleased, so thankful. We are at peace.