To Friends and Family from Bluenoserjim
It has been seven months since Bluenoser arrived back in her home port of Penetanguishene. It was such a memorable day, having completed the Great Loop and to see so many friends and family standing on the dock, at Dutchman’s Cove Marina, as I pulled in. It was an exciting day and yet a sad day. Exciting because I had set out on a journey, which quite frankly scared the hell out of me, and was successful in completing it. A sad day, because the journey had now come to an end. A few friends came over to the house for a few drinks and then the day was over.
Within a week, Bluenoser was sitting on jacks, beside the house, as I wanted to take a break from boating. It sat there all summer, and I paid very little attention to it. In fact, I paid very little attention to anything. I struggled with the age-old question, as one is aging, “Is that all there is?” What can I do next? I spent more time working around the house and yard, cutting grass and weeding the garden, but generally fell into a slump.
I might even say that I got depressed. I started little projects to keep myself busy, but generally had trouble focusing on anything for a long period of time.
My sister, Shirley, passed away in the early summer and that was sad. She was my one sibling that really looked out for me. Her passing meant that I was the last remaining sibling which means, in my family, “I guess I am next!!!”
Then one day, late in the summer, 2014, Wendy and I were talking about long-range plans and she brought up the idea of retirement. She decided that she would work for another year and retire in December 2015 at age 66. Honest folks, I had nothing to do with this decision, as she is a highly respected dietician, specializing in diabetes. I tell you folks, it was like a shot of “new life” injected into me. I brought up the idea of cruising the winter in Florida and the Bahamas, after she retires, and it was all systems GO.
I immediately started working on Bluenoser in September, making changes, to make her a better, more comfortable cruiser. I had thought about selling Bluenoser and buying a larger more comfortable boat; however, when I thought things over, Bluenoser has so many good qualities, that I changed my mind. She is a simple boat with simple systems that are easy to maintain. She is economical to run, and can handle almost any sea condition and never lets you down.
I am also thinking about installing autopilot. During my voyage, last spring, I was just coming through the Trent Canal System and nearing home. My sister-in-law, Jan, was joining me in Peterborough, to complete the rest of the voyage to Penetanguishene. I arrived a few hours early, for our rendezvous and walked up town to do some banking and have a beer. While sitting at the bar in the “Tap Room” of this old hotel, I noticed my right elbow swell up like I had a soft ball implanted. And no folks, it was not because I had lifted too many beers.
I went back to the boat and googled “lump on elbow”. If you want to know anything about anything, just GOOGLE it. It may or may not be true. Well, a picture came up, exactly what I had, a large lump on the elbow, “Tennis Elbow”. The article said that it was caused by repetitive movement and rubbing the elbow.
I thought about this for a while and what I had been doing for the last 9 months. My right arm was going back and forth, all the time, on the wheel, steering the boat. And I would rest my right elbow on the window sill. DAH!!! This light came on in my head, why I had Tennis Elbow. That was a long story, as to why I plan to install autopilot.
I am busy building a new wood dinghy which will mount on the stern of Bluenoser. I designed it especially for my application. It will have a substantial keel for rowing, and enough beam for a ladder on one side to get back into the boat, after snorkeling.
I am keeping myself busy this winter, with working out at the YMCA, tutoring English and math to drop-outs, and teaching courses at the Midland Power and Sail Squadron.
My future plans are to cruise Georgian Bay extensively this summer, as we have a boating paradise right here at our door step. Then come the third week in September, Bluenoser will once again depart Penetanguishene, through the Trent and Erie canals, the Hudson River, and down the ICW (Inter-coastal Waterway) to Florida. I will come home and wait for Wendy to retire, after which we will cruise Florida and the Bahamas. My family have already brought up the idea of “Christmas in the Bahamas,” again.
It has become totally apparent to me, after what I went through this past summer, that one needs to dream. Not only do we need dreams, but we need to plan to make those dreams happen. It uplifts the spirit, and it gives one energy to move forward. So, please, my friends and family, do not lose sight of your dreams.
One side note: one of the changes I am making to Bluenoser is to change the aft deck so it readily configures into an aft lounge/sleeping berth. On this next voyage, I will, once again, be looking for family and friends to join us, as that is what life is all about.
Wishing everyone health and happiness in 2015, and as you go through life—“keep the dry side up”.