Previously… At the beginning of November, on Thursday evening the 2nd, I drove myself up to Virginia in order to begin a trip to bring my boat home. I began my new life, my new way of living, my new hope in an amazing future. I became a boat owner, one that I can live in if I choose to do so. That first night I went onto my boat for the first time as mine and the first time by myself. I brought my things aboard and then sat down in the cockpit and ate a Wendy’s baked potato with cheese, bacon and sour cream. I just sat there and wondered at the newness and the craziness of what I had done. After eating, I made my bed and went fast to sleep. My life had begun a new trajectory, one that had never been attempted so far.
About three in the morning I had to pee. I wasn’t quite sure how to use the toilet on board yet so I went to the marina house and relieved myself there. The night was so bright, a full moon, I didn’t need a flashlight. The peace and the calm of the mid night air, with the freshness of the unknown, was riveting. Back to bed, back to sleep, the morning comes quickly and it’s time to arise. I sit up and smile. I’ve made the right decision. I don’t know much about sailboats yet, but I have a hunger to learn. I place my things as best I can and go back onshore to take a shower.
A little while later the previous owner arrives, brings her things aboard, and we begin to prepare to sail. She has graciously offered to help me take the boat home and to teach me as much sailing as possible along the way. She’s patient and cautious. She never shows frustration nor gives up. I have a hard time at first realizing it’s my boat, and keep asking her if I could do something. She finally tells me, “It’s your boat now,” and laughs. Over the next three days we work together and I begin to gain confidence in my abilities. We stayed at a marina on Friday night and are off to a great start in the morning. I’m anxious to get on our way because our first stop was short of what we had hoped to reach. I really wanted to get her to her final destination for this trip where I could dock her for free for a week. Money is tight, I did just buy a boat after all.
Saturday looks good but then when we enter the Portsmouth area the winds die down. We travel along the intracoastal waterway (ICW) and are at the mercy of our electric engine. We had fully charged it and it was fine but we wanted to use it carefully to maximize how far we could go. Night comes and we anchor in the middle of the canal, set the generator on and go to sleep, hoping for her to charge well over night. The battery is low but not too bad, not yet. When the generator goes off in the middle of the night, about 4:30 that morning, I get up and check the batteries. Nothing. It didn’t charge. Problem. We can’t sleep anymore and fix us some breakfast. The sun rises beautifully, removing the night and showing us the grandeur of our surroundings. Peace. God is here somewhere. His presence is in everything I see. The wonders of his creation are all around us.
Sunday we make way and head toward Coinjock. We’re getting closer, hoping for winds enough to get us there. The engine is down to its last three percent and there’s no way to charge it. I’m counting the markers and the wind is dying down. It’s time to call for a tow. Always safety before comfort, we continue sailing in slow motion getting as close to our destination as we possibly can. We are being passed by yachts more than twice our size and finally I see a boat speeding towards us, coming to pull us in the rest of the way. The waters in the channel are plenty high but just to each side it drops to as little as 2-3 feet and without our engine and so little wind it’s all I can do to keep us from grounding.
Seeing him pull along side of us was a huge relief. We dropped our sails quickly and stayed I stayed as close to the center of the channel as I could. Once we were tied up, I could finally breathe. I’m not certain how it must feel for him to pull another boat but on my side it gave me a chance to rest. Being towed is interesting. He pulled us to our docking and our adventure for the weekend was over. We’re picked up by her husband, drive back to Norfolk and I drive myself back home… Home by midnight isn’t bad. I’ve accomplished more than I could imagine and there’s more to come.