So....it's been a minute.
Our last post was from Prince Rupert, BC Canada in August 2019. It seems like a lifetime ago...
Prince Rupert, BC, Canada.
Soon after posting that we found out that my mother had stage 4 lung cancer despite having never smoked a day in her life. That news made our choice of "where to go" very easy to answer. We turned south and focused on logistics--we decided that I would get off the boat ASAP and fly to Missouri and care for my mom. Meanwhile Rob would bring BOREAS all the way back to Port Townsend, WA, and, once the boat was secure, drive to Missouri to have time with my mom. I insisted he have friends help with both the sailing and driving. We lined everything and everyone up and then I flew out of Shearwater, BC Canada to start one of the hardest chapters in my life.
My mom as a young girl, traveling in Europe as a young woman, and at a favorite place in Missouri in 2019.
Sharing in a loved ones end of life is bittersweet. Every moment feels like stolen time. On one hand you don't want it to end but on the other you don't want the suffering to continue. I am eternally grateful for the two short but intense months we had together before she passed. My mother had a full life and passed on to me her sense of adventure and curiosity. I hope to hold on to those gifts as I travel my path in life.
As hard as those two months were the two years since have been immeasurably worse. My father passed in 2011 and with my mother's passing I became the sole trustee of both their trusts--a situation with which neither of my older brothers were comfortable. One brother lashed out immediately and the other bid his time until he got something he wanted and then they teamed up and attempted to have me removed as trustee. Lawyers were employed (I had two--one as trustee and one as a beneficiary) and things got ugly. To say relationships were damaged beyond repair is not an understatement and I went dark online to protect my privacy. No blog posts showing where we were. No social media posts with photos. Nothing.
At first we were still on the boat and anytime we came into a port days were spent finding business and/or mailing services. In some locations that was a hard task. We also had to make sure we always had cell coverage as calls from lawyers were frequent and unscheduled.
Kayaking to shore to visit Rob's relatives on Lopez Island, Washington
Covid hit and our travel plans changed again--the international border with Canada closed so our summer cruising was limited to Washington State--which is BEAUTIFUL but it is not as wild as B.C. or Alaska. We spent the whole summer hanging out in the San Juan islands finding hidden treasures like fabulous hiking trails on Cypress Island, an overlooked anchorage with great hiking access in Orcas Island's West Sound, plenty of anchoring space off of the historic "American Camp" on San Juan Island which also had good hiking, stunning sunsets and lots of harbor seals at Patos Island, and picturesque Turn Point on quirky Stuart Island.
Madrona tree on Suchia Island, Washington
Wild rose looking to Canada from Suchia Island, Washington
Sunset from Cypress Island's Eagle Cliff Overlook
Hiking on San Juan Island, Washington
However, it seemed we were circling the San Juan Islands along with every other boater in the PNW. Larger anchorages that usually had 20-30 boats in the past now had 80. It was nuts. Looking out over the water after sunset looked like a cityscape.
I wasn't able to fully enjoy our time on the water as I was adjusting to my responsibilities as trustee and getting a crash course in our legal system.
As the summer wound down we started talking about what was next. Covid was still in full swing and the Canadian border wasn't reopening anytime soon. We had a slip paid for at the Vancouver Rowing Club (VRC) in Vancouver but couldn't get to it--we researched as many options as we could think of and just couldn't figure out a safe way to get our boat into Canada and secured it at the VRC.
BOREAS at anchor on Stuart Island bathed in a wildfire haze at sunset.
BOREAS on mooring ball at Patos Island, Washington
Rob in the foredeck hammock on BOREAS at Patos Island, Washington
Before my mom was diagnosed we had a planned to spend our winters together in the SouthWest so she could escape the grey winters of the MidWest and we could escape the dark wet winters of the Pacific NorthWest. We had even purchased an old house that Rob was going to fix up.
So here we were floating around the San Juan Islands, we couldn't get to our slip in Canada, and we had a house in the SouthWest that needed attention. I was feeling fried from managing trustee responsibilities without internet and business services, my health was out of balance and I didn't know why, and I wanted to focus on my art. Rob was frustrated at the limited sailing options. Additionally we both understood that we couldn't afford to keep both the house and the boat. So, after many, many, many long discussions and with heavy hearts we decided to sell the boat and move back to land.
Rob's last time at the helm.
Lucy's last time at the helm.
Saying goodbye to BOREAS at the Boat Haven boatyard, Port Townsend, Washington
We got an offer on the boat within weeks of listing it and soon settled on a price that didn't make us happy but did help us move on to our next chapter. We emptied the boat and loaded up the truck and a small UHaul and headed East.
I think I cried a little each day of the that 4 day drive.
Rob didn't cry but his heart broke.
We had given up everything we had in Colorado to pursue the dream of sailing and were now giving up everything sailing to live in the SouthWest so I can pursue my art. Life is crazy sometimes.
Since then we have been living in New Mexico--about as far away from the oceans as you can get. At first it was surreal. So dry, such different landscape, and different people. And it was so strange to have to go LOOK for each other. We had spent 5 years almost attached at the hip and now I'd spend 5+ minutes walking around the house and outbuildings trying to find Rob. It was weird.
One of the first things we fixed up was my art studio and I started painting ASAP. Having that space and creative outlet kept me sane. My paintings became my voice expressing my heartache over selling the boat, looking for beauty in death, and gradually embracing our new home. Check out all my paintings on my website: M.O.S. Studio.
Rob dove into renovating the house--replacing outdated electrical wiring, replacing old plumbing, updating appliances, replacing the boiler, tearing apart, cleaning, and reassembling original 1900s steam radiators, repairing drywall, and thousands of other projects to get the house up to code and working properly. He is truly gifted and, I can say this objectively, quite amazing. ❤️
Nowadays we rarely talk about our sailing adventures as many of our new desert friends have no point of reference for life on the water. Recently we were remembering our sailing time together and had to stop as it became painful to emerge ourselves back in that magnificent marine environment and recall our beautiful sailboat along with all the incredible places she took us.
Obviously we still have some healing to do and are grateful to be able to to it in yet another unique location--New Mexico.
And we are grateful that the trust business is finally complete. Navigating those difficult waters exhausted me and wasn't easy for Rob either.
We live in gratitude for our marvelous sailing adventure in the PNW. We don't know what's next but we know we will figure it out together and are grateful for one another.
Rob and Lucy at Turtleback Mountain Overlook on Orcas Island, Washington.
Rob and Lucy in a sunset glow.