Dena

I’m a sailor and a storyteller, and nothing provides new stories like sailing.

(My writing life is covered on a different website: denahankins.net. I have three books in print: Lysistrata Cove, Blue Water Dreams, and Heart of the Liliko’i. Another dozen of my tales are short stories published in erotica anthologies.)

In 1998, James and I started looking at boats with the intention of living aboard and sailing around the world.  Relying on one another, learning and growing together, we have developed a way of being in and moving around our world that is in line with our beliefs, desires, and needs.  We have learned about comfortable and uncomfortable compromises.  We keep getting closer and closer to our ideal selves and lives.

I am proud of my accomplishments and enjoy crafting the happenings of my life into stories for specific situations, audiences, reactions.  In conversation, I might tell two very different stories about the same storm that chased James and I into the Saratoga Passage.  That’s because my experience of sailing is multi-dimensional and storytelling is linear.  A single near-broach taught me: the feel of a boat nearly out of control; the interaction of sail, wind, hull, and rudder in regaining control;  my ability to step out of my body’s way and allow it to respond with natural understanding; that a seasick cat is a hazard aboard; and not least that I could be hurt or killed by my own action or inaction.  Integrating all those lessons into a single story is more than most cocktail party crowds want from their sea tales.

More important than my history and what it has shown of my character, I am aiming at improvement.  To truly know me is to know what I want to do and who I want to be.  It is to understand that I delight in my love for James because it brings me closer to my ideal.  It is to understand that compromises others find easy won’t work for me.

This blog is all of these things, I hope.  Exhibitions of my accomplishments, stories drawn from my experiences, and reflections on the ways I am closer or farther from my ideal and what is affecting that distance.

Here’s me, getting closer.

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Underway at Last!!!
2007
Oh! ThoseEyes!!!
2008
Dena
2009
Dena
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Reaching
2016 – After an amazing winter cruising south as far as Southport, North Carolina, we made our way back up to Annapolis in time to pick up work. Yes, we were cold. Running downwind was doable because it means a weaker apparent wind hitting mostly on the back of my hatted, hoodied, and hooded head, but beating into the wind was torturous. After working seasonal jobs all summer (me as dockmaster and James as hardware surveyor for a consignment chandlery, Bacon Sails), we went to India that winter.
Dena's Crouch
2017 – The year stated in India where, among a multitude of other things, I celebrated Attugal Pongala with a friend, Maya, and her family. It’s a fertility and abundance festival wherein I used fire that came from the Attugal Bhagavathy Temple’s eternal flame to make pongal – rice mixed with boiled milk and jaggery. The whole point is that the pongal boils over the edges of the pot and sets you up for a year of plenty. After returning to the US and a second go at seasonal jobs in Annapolis, we headed south for the winter on S/V S.N. Nomad.
Dena on Glass
2018 – The winter trip south, begun in late 2017, was nowhere near as pleasant as the first one back in 2015/2016. The cold chased us all the way down to South Carolina and our water tanks were fouled in a subtle enough way that it took a long time to understand why we felt shitty all the time. We leapt back up to Annapolis and steady work, but only lasted a few months. In July, we started cruising north again and ended up buying S/V S.N. Cetacea in Maine.

6 comments

  1. James & Dena
    The two of you are living the dream. Thanks for writing about it, thereby I can live through you. Be safe my friends and keep writing.

  2. It was great to meet you at the Clearwater Festival! We hope to get up to your current homeport soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.