Monday 10 February 2014

How did we get here ?

Mark and MC in Regetta on Chestermere, Calgary 1995

As the days slip by, NO not ‘slip’, that sounds much too serene, it’s more like; as the days tumble one on top of the other and as our D- day approaches, I sometimes find myself at 3:00am pondering: how did we get here ? I am amazed really that this is actually happening ! WOW! After all this talk and planning, I think some of our friends never actually believed this was more than just a pipe dream.

I know now,more than ever, that it really is about the journey, not the destination. Our journey started when we made the committed to this decision, that we were going to TRY to do this crazy thing, this sailing adventure. 

This was about the time, no, this was exactly the time when “The lists” started to materialize. If you are thinking about doing a trip like this, I think it's safe to say that you should be prepared to have endless lists that will follow you, everyday, until you leave. 

 Another thing that helped me get organized was to have my calendar always at hand where I could jot down each task for each month as they came up and I gave myself deadlines for each of the things that needed to get done.

Oh, and I would also recommend to invest in a good paper shredding machine! After 20 years of accumulating personal files and tax documents, ours has been getting quite the workout, AND the shredded paper makes great filler for the boxes that I am now packing for storage !

So, it's time to come clean: you might of guessed already that I am a wee bit  “Type A”, and personally, I LOVE lists and I NEED them to get things done: “To do”,”To learn”, “To sell”, “To store”, “To buy”, “To prepare” ,”To ship” ,“To pack” it goes one and on... As you can imagine,a big part of the prep time was spent trying to organize our material “things” !  If only we’d had less things to begin with, it would have been a whole lot easier, but isn’t it always that way ?  I hope that we have learned THIS time and that from now on,  we will learn to live with less, now that we have (almost) gotten rid of everything!

Not sure who's house this is….not mine thankfully

I love that the more stuff you get rid off , the lighter and freer you feel. There is a resistance at first (at least there was for me), but the more you get rid of stuff, the easier it gets. I think I’ve said this before, but it's so true !

With only one month to go it feels like we still have a huge amount of stuff and by the 11th hour we will just have to let everything go, very fast and I am sure that it will feel good, no, it will feel GREAT actually ! 

I think the universe heard our plea under all the weight of all this stuff & things just started happening recently, as they do,they just started falling into place somehow.
Like yesterday: getting a phone call soliciting for clothe donations for cerebral palsy "Great timing !  I happen to have three GIANT bags full of very good clothing ! Yes I will leave them on my doorstep on Tuesday, for sure !”

I also learned through a friend about an organization here in Calgary that is helping young men and women to have a fresh new start at a new life, so happy that we can help in some small way by putting boxes together (sheets, dishes, towels etc...) for them. And hearing that a young lady we know, who has been working with Matthew for years, has been  looking for a place to live ! House rental solved !

Still, during the last month it really seems that for each item that I cross off my list, AT LEAST 3 new items appear. My New Mantra: “One step at a time, we WILL get there, everything that needs to get done WILL get done”, breathe, repeat.

Even I have to admit that sometimes my 'to do' list looks a little bit odd, and random.
Case in point; this week’s list:
  • -Find out what’s the best cut of chicken to learn how to do stitches on! 
  • -Phone 'Clem' from Caribbean Cargo to find out if it’s too cold for him to pick up our 200 lbs “barrel" for shipment ASAP.
  • -Get a Psych Assessment. This is for Matthew !  (for funding for when we get back)
  • -Meet a guy about a 16 foot  trailer....
  • -Go over Matthew’s Speech goals and Individual Program Plan
  • -Call Australia !! Tell them we’re moving ! (FYI : This has to do some registered savings still sitting in Australia)
  • -Buy grade 6 Math text book !
  • -Re-Learn how to speak Spanish  ! (Thank Goodnes for “Duolingo” !)
There is another indication of what we’ve been up to: I went through our  “GOOGLE search history" from this last month and here are just a few examples of what  I found:

-Do people with disabilities need to sign their passport ?  

-How much does it cost to call from Canada to St Lucia?

-What is the depth of the entrance into the Rio Dulce in Guatemala ?

-What is the “Canadian Iroquois Confederacy” ? (Grade 6 social studies)
-What are the top 5 drinks you can make with rum ?

-The attributes of a new debit-credit card vs a traditional credit card...

-How to make bread with a pressure cooker ?

-What are the actual lyrics to "the Love Boat” theme ?

-Where can I buy “Sticky Back” (sail repair material) in Calgary ?

-“5 products that will make you look younger over night”  (Ooops... how did THAT get in there?)

-How to rewire cabin lights to energy saving LED lights ?

Of course not all of these are serious searches, ahem, and I am quite certain that one could go sailing without doing everything that We, okay, “I”,  felt we had to do!  We have had quite a bit of time to plan and execute these things, (some would argue maybe a little bit too much time!) Had we had less time, we still would have gotten here, we did get to do a lot more than is necessary. I know that, of course I know that…

Seriously, you can't go wrong with these guys : 


This has been an excellent help to getting ourselves organised. 
They have included a very detailed and practical list  (yay another list !) of what to do if you want to prepare an offshore sailing trip. This was a great starting point for us; all we did was to add and build upon this list, adapting to it for our family’s individual needs. 

Still after all this, and with little over one month left before we go: I am left at 3:00 am thinking back at the journey we have been on getting ready for this adventure. In some ways,we have been preparing ourselves for the last twenty years.

Soon enough we hope that our blog will be filled with pictures and stories about the places we visit, but for now, I have to rely on the archives. I will leave you with a "collage" from the last twenties years, of the boats we have sailed &people we have learned from (so you can blame them!)

Mark crewing for Bill at a Regatta in 1993 

Mark and Jackson on Mark's Hobie, 16 Gull Lake in 1994

Mark and MC at Rottnest Island, WA on Board teaching vessel Charade in 1996
Ian Calvert- Southern Cross Sailing School- Our fabulous instructor 1996

Our 24' Endevour Gremlin II, Perth Australia 1996
MC at the helm of the Beneteau, Whitsundays 1998
Lady Jacqueline in Whitsundays, Australia 1998
Our wedding day, on board Cowrie Dancer, WA, 1998
(Notice MC is keeping a lookout at the boats' heading)

MC on deck, Cowrie Dancer Jan 1998

FlyBye, Lagoon 440 BVIs 2011

Bavaria 39, in BVIs 2010
Aquila, Bavaria 42, BVIs 2011

MC (and crew mates) on board Teaching Vessel Mahina Tiare III,
South Pacific, Fall  2011

Mark (with John Neal on Left) on Board Teaching Vessel Mahina Tiare III, New Zealand 2011

Jeanneau 42, in Nanaimo BC May 2012
Bill (with Meg)  trying to corrupt the next generation!
Chestermere Lake Fall 2012
Orion Sky (DS16), MC's best teacher, on the Gatineau River 2013


  1. I think your mantra was also adapted from a bizzare colombian saying "with patience and saliva, an ant swallows an elephant". Anyway, I totally agree with you in investing on a powerful shredding machine, that could save you tons of time doing the other things on your list. Good luck with the rest!

    Ruby Badcoe @

  2. The answer to the Google rum question should also answer the youth question. Just saying ;-)