What a year…

…Although one could potentially say that about, well, any year, this one in particular was of special significance to us.

2015 was the year we took off!

HookDownManteo

Generally speaking neither one of us are really into year-end retrospectives but this year, wow, what a year!

At the beginning of 2015 we were both retail-wage-slaving and commuting by train 20-odd miles from downtown Boston through the worst (weather-wise) winter in our history aboard. It was about as hard as it could get for us as live-aboard sailors but we had a plan and by January 1st 2015 that plan was well into its “when are we going to quit this bullshit job” phase.

We had a gig traveling Maine contracted by late in November of ’14 so by the time the 119 inches of snow had fallen on our boat late in February we were freaking (the fuck) out to get underway.

All through the winter Dena had been working the finishing touches into her novel Heart of the Liliko’i but by the end of January when she’d sent that one off to her publisher. I think it’s safe to say, she was well into the cabin-fever stage of her winter. By the beginning of April when our contract was up with the evil marina we were tied to in Boston we were both ready to jump!

Wanderer

So jump we did, we threw off the dock lines from that over-priced dump of a marina, set the sails and headed out of Boston Harbor for…

Hmmm?

We didn’t have a place to go, we didn’t have any real connections in the area we needed to be (somewhere near our wage-slave gig). All we had was a general idea of the geographical location where we were going and a plan.

The plan, at that point, was find a place to anchor close to the job, put in the notice on the job, get rid of the bikes and sail away.

And we did.

JamesLane

Once we got out of Boston Harbor proper, we were heading out of Massachusetts Bay. Once we were out of Mass Bay, we were living how we wanted to live.

Traveling under sail (and motor), making a tiny insufficient living by writing about our travels, and seeing places we’d never been.

We sailed to Maine. Sure, we had our difficulties (like we do) but we dealt with them and for the first couple of months after leaving Boston we were absolutely thrilled by the adventures. Once we got north of the Casco Bay and started seeing things we’d never seen before–that’s when it got truly inspiring!

Maine

So inspiring in fact, that Dena wrote the first draft of her new novel and got it accepted by her publisher in 14 days while we were at anchor in Penobscot Bay.

We made short work of the job we were hired to do for the Guide, turned in our edits, and started thinking about where we wanted to be when it started getting cold.

That was about the time that we started to hear about Obama’s new policies concerning Cuba. We bounced some ideas off of each other, got all excited about those ideas, and went to the Guide with a (very incomplete) proposal about writing a new Waterway Guide on Cuba before the mad rush to get there after Cuba re-opened to the USA. Well, the Guide already had plans to do that and they had an on-line version of their guide (written by a Canadian) for the Northern ports of the island. They also loved what we’d written on Maine so they invited us to the offices in Deltaville, VA, for some further discussion on the subject.

We were stoked, we had a plan! Ok, maybe it was about 1/16th of a plan but we had a working sailboat, a job (kinda), and a destination to an open discussion… That’s better than nothing, right?!

Instead of finding the cheapest marina that would let us live aboard and get to the dreaded winter straight jobs, we kept moving. We harbor-hopped back west and south along Maine, jumped to Provincetown for Women’s Week and the debut of Heart of the Liliko’i, and then set our sights on readings in NYC.

As it is wont to do, New York ate us up a bit. The weather turned foul and we just kept finding things to do, but when we tore free, it was for a big’un. The oceanic size and scope of the overnight trip down to Cape May dwarfed the usually horrifying Delaware Bay, and suddenly we were in the Chesapeake.

Anchorage

Baltimore succored us, proving to us once again that it’s the best city for us of anywhere north of the Mason Dixon line on the East Coast.

As money ran out and, with it, time, we kept our sights on Key West as a good destination. The hurry-up-and-start-earning-money feeling eased in Deltaville, where we got a contract to edit the ICW guide between Norfolk and Cape Fear…all territory we planned to cover anyway!

With that came relaxation and a return of the real cruising life. Bopping from place to place, decisions made by weather and proximity to grocery stores, until Manteo, where we are now at the beginning of 2016.

NetHouse

Last year boils down to the fact that we’re cruisers. This is the first year that we’ve been this independent and free to continue following our dreams. Because we’ve been able to earn some money, not just while traveling, but from our travels, and because we’ve scraped by with a level of simplicity that surprises me even today, we’re not caught in the yo-yo.

There’s no telling what will happen next year, but it looks like we’ll be sailing to and writing about Turks and Caicos, Cuba, and much, much more. It looks like we’ll be refining the hustle, writing and writing, hopefully for more and better-paying publications.

It looks good, well, it looks like another year.

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12 comments

  1. Oh, congratulations all round!!! What a joy to see you fledge into your glory. MAKE YER LIFE!!! say The Butchies. Yeah. Fuck yeah.
    Make Yer Life.

    These images are wonderful. The sunset, the shack decked out in the fog…thank you for sharing your wonderful world for another year. Cheers and Many Happy Returns.

  2. PS — Baltimore is south of the Mason Dixon. It follows the border between MD and PA, then dips down Delmarva between MD and DE. So…

  3. PPS — Wanderers, please know it, as you do, that you will always find a home in old Baltimore as long as I’m anchored here. I promise to succor the fuck out y’all.

  4. Cheers to a New Year !!! I just finished a binge reading, to catch up with your adventures. As always , I’m left daydreaming of your life under sail. Last year was so hard ,with all the drama and weather you both faced. I can feel the excitement building for the next leg of this continuum. James, the pictures continue to be fascinating. They give the true sense of being with you both. I still have to say that the Lighthouse keeper pix, are forever my faves. Well off to the Urban jungle for me. Be safe and Be Happy. As always, Aloha and Happy 2016.

  5. Thank you all!!!
    L&V… Thank you for the well wishes, only, I wish I knew where and when we met. I like to, at the very least, know the basics of a new friend.
    Fred and Sue… I know last year was a particularly hard one so my hope for you is, of course, a happier new year!
    Tom… Love, respect and Aloha to you my friend.
    Kate… I can’t believe I’ve only known you for 3 years. I’ve learned so much from you on so many levels that it feels almost as if we’ve been family forever.
    Dean… My friend, my family, thank you for everything!

  6. !!!Ah, That, L&V!!!
    It’s so good to hear from you two, the connection we made really was the only thing that I took away from that experience worth cherishing… And I do!
    I hope that life and love is good for you both.

  7. Wow! How did I find your blog? Wasn’t looking for it, never heard of it, and never thought anyone was cruising the way you do! Excellent writing! I am envious beyond….

    1. Hey Kevin,
      thanks for stopping in!
      It sounds like you’re cruising or want to be and of course it’s what I like to talk about so let me know if we can answer any questions about “the life”.
      Anyway, please keep up with us if at all possible and I hope to hear from you soon

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