A Madcap Decision
22 May 2017 | Whittaker Creek, Oriental, NC
Beth / dripping in hot humid sunshine
We have been back aboard Madcap for a week now and are still loving the feeling of being in our cosy little space on the water, and able to meet up with friends old and new.
The magic of Oriental continued the very next day after we got back. We went down to "The Bean" for coffee, and as we were walking back, a car passed. We were deep in thinking/conversation mode and didn't pay too much attention as it passed. But it turned around and came back toward us, and slowed, and I thought, "Oh dear, they are going to ask directions and I won't be able to help them." Instead, the guy in the front seat said, "Elizabeth?" And I thought "Dave? But it can't be! They are in Nashville!" But it was! Dave and Alex (Banyan) were touring around Oriental with their friends Finola and Harry (Escape Velocity) who have a home here. Banyan is from Dartmouth - just across the harbour from Halifax, and while we have kept in touch, we haven't seen them for several years as they sailed the eastern Caribbean and we sailed in western Caribbean waters. To top off the fun, Gail and Peter (Jabiru) came flying along on their bikes and stopped to chat. And I asked Finola if they knew Mike and Kathy, our good friends who live here, and she said "Of course!" What a wonderful small world this is.
We joined Mike and Kathy at Open Mic night at the Silos again, and found more magic. Gail had mentioned that Lyn (Kaiulani) who was at the Sailcraft yard near them, played the flute and would be at the Silos that night. We had chatted on the radio with S/V Kaiulani back in Mosquito Lagoon, and sure enough, when I went over to the flute player's table that night and said, " I'm Beth from Madcap. Are you on Kaiulani?" the answer was, "Yes!" It was a treat to chat with Lyn and Rob in person, and to meet their friends Kitty and Scott (Tamure) also at Sailcraft Boatyard. These experiences never fail to delight both Jim and me. We have met so many wonderful friends as we cruise - those we meet and enjoy for a short time, and those who remain part of our lives for many years. They are all special and valued.
The music was good, the pizza delicious, the company sparkling, and we walked home feeling content and fortunate.
And the Madcap decision of the title?
Well, we have decided to load Madcap on a truck and take her home to Nova Scotia that way. The plan was to sail all the way, but we hoped to be back in Nova Scotia by early June (Jim's plan) or mid June (my prediction). We could see that it would be possible but tricky, since we didn't want to just go offshore and make a beeline north. We would be working with weather considerations and a schedule, and we know that sailing to a schedule is fraught with difficulty. It became increasingly clear to us while we were home in NS that we just want to have Madcap back in Nova Scotia waters where we can enjoy sailing her.
We sailed all the way down from Ontario to the Bahamas and back to Halifax in 2007/2008 and loved all the stops and the passages, exploring new territory every day. We ended up shipping her from Halifax to Solomon's Island in the Chesapeake Bay in the fall of 2009 because we couldn't get away before cool weather set in and we had the same feeling - we wanted the boat to be where we could have fun sailing her. We went back to the Bahamas then, and later went on to Cuba and to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and had a glorious few years.
But we were feeling different about this trek north and once again we began to wonder about a shortcut from one place to another. Maybe having done it once it is easier to do it again? I don't know. But we were each mulling the idea around in our minds - balancing time, the value of the Canadian dollar here in the US, the "enjoyment factor" vs pressure, and we would check in each day, "Where are you now? 50/50? 30/70? 80/20? And we both eventually ended up at 90/10 - enough to say, "Let's do it."
I know there are things we will miss about skipping the rest of the coastline, places we had looked forward to revisiting, people we had looked forward to seeing along the way. But as we listen to Chris Parker talk weather on the SSB radio in the mornings and look at the calendar, there is a distinct feeling of relief. Where once it was part of the challenge and excitement, it doesn't feel quite the same now. Are we just feeling 10 years older? Maybe. Do we just want instant gratification? Maybe. Whatever it is, this decision puts us back in Nova Scotia in time for a whole summer of sailing, where we will certainly be gauging weather and routes and destinations, but we won't have the pressure of putting in the miles to get home. We can go sailing in our own gorgeous waters and also have time to enjoy the garden and our family and the festivities of summer in Halifax. We have a mooring ball rented in Mahone Bay and we look forward to exploring Canadian waters again, 10 years after we left on our first Madcap voyage.
So - instead of leaving our slip and heading north again, we have spent the last week "undressing the old girl" as our boat neighbour says. We will move over to Sailcraft Marina tomorrow morning to get hauled out; Jim and I will leave at the end of the week, and a truck will arrive next week to load and deliver our Madcap back to Northern waters for the next chapter of our cruising life.
I wonder what Madcap discoveries are in store for us now?