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About Our First Boat
A Morgan 24 – Points Unknown
2004
Vacating the Marina
~ Vacating the Marina ~
Points Unknown Icon
Season Finale
A Dozen Little Yarns
The docks were beginning to look as bare as the trees, so we had to face facts. The time had come to take Points Unknown out of the water and put her into storage.

One of our marina mates called it Boo-Hoo day, and we totally understood. There would be no more sailing in warm breezes, no more days of island adventures, no more nights anchored under the stars. I had never been so sad to see a summer end.

That year we felt the full gamut of emotions induced by sailing. We learned so many lessons, loved every moment, and were confident that this was indeed the life we wanted to live.

Though I've chronicled 7 pages of memories about that short 6 months, there were many, many more noteworthy anecdotes that I just do not want to slip away. At the beginning of this chapter, I mentioned all the Crazy, Lazy, Amazing, Amusing, Terrifying, Intimidating, Gratifying, Relaxing, Taxing, Pleasurable, and Memorable adventures we had during that one season on our Morgan. So I've decided to document all these other noteworthy incidents here as little yarns (all true), spun around each of those adjectives.

Snake in the Coils
~ Snake in the Coils ~
A Crazy Experience
While strolling down the dock, Don pointed out a snake coiled around a cleat. It blended in with the boat's dock line almost perfectly.

"Do you think that's real?" he inquired.

"Nah, it's fake." I confidently declared. "People use them to scare off birds, so they don't poop all over the deck."

I reached down to pick up the rubber reptile, then quickly stumbled backward as it slithered to life and wiggled away. Don and I followed its path into the water, and as it swam to the breakwall we began to observe that there were more snakes…many, many, more snakes…EVERYWHERE!

How had we not noticed all of them before?! These scaly spine-tinglers were innumerably integrated into every feature of the marina! We spied supine serpents woven into the rocky shore. They were curled up in ropes and writhing around dock posts. Then we noticed dozens upon dozens piled up on the swim platform of every powerboat in the marina! Suddenly, Don and I were very grateful it took a ladder to climb out of the water into Points Unknown.

These yardstick long sidewinders were, in fact, later identified as the very endangered Lake Erie Watersnake (LEWS), a non-venomous subspecies with one of the smallest geographic ranges of any vertebrate in the world. The nerve-rattling invasion we'd encountered was actually the LEWS in their late spring mating balls, an annual event that fortunately ended quickly. By the time we next returned to the marina, all the squirmy hissers had dispersed thankfully, and we could relax comfortably – onboard. But it'd be sometime before I'd be willing to jump in the water! No matter how big the bay or how great the lake, the thought of swimming with that many snakes was just plain CRAZY!

Diana Relaxing
~ Diana Relaxing ~
A Lazy Experience
Being new to being members of a marina gave us insight to a marvelously sociable boating culture we scarcely knew existed. We spent lots of time relaxing outside in the cockpit surrounded by others doing the same. Like neighbors chatting over the hedges, we bantered between boats about our projects, our passages, and our plans.

During one scuttlebutt session late in the season, Don and I recounted our perilous voyage back from Put-In-Bay, along with the subsequent misadventure of nearly sinking. Our neighbor was astonished, but not for the reason we thought.

"You sailed all the way to South Bass Island!?" he marveled. "I've had my boat for 6 years and never been out of Sandusky Bay! The guy on the other side of us hasn't ever left the marina!"

We'd spent every weekend, holiday, vacation day, and a handful of weekdays on Points Unknown. Any moment the wind was right, we headed out to explore, to romp, and to frolic. Though we were happy to stay in the shelter of the bay when the lake was less then ideal, it was still a very confined puddle compared to what lies beyond. When NOAANational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. said GO-ah, we took their advice and went!

But it was nearly just as much fun to laze around onboard at the marina. If a small craft advisory warned us to wait, and the boat-job du jour was done, we had the time to read a book, play a game, or chat with our neighbors. We came to appreciate that all the distractions caused by housework, errands, television, and computers were miles away.

Turns out sometimes boating bestows the time to do nothing; to wait for the fish to bite, to listen to the water lapping on the shore, to follow the flight of a seagull, to watch the sun slip down below the horizon. This was an unexpected aspect of life on the water that I could get behind! I mean what other sport encourages its participants to be LAZY?

Don Covering the Mainsail
~ Don Covering the Mainsail ~
An Amazing Experience
Autumn wailed in with a cold and blustery reminder that the season was nigh, but as long as the comforter kept us comfy, Don and I were determined to spend every night we could onboard. Rigging and canvas were successfully torn from their lashings by the incessant wind, so rescuing and resecuring them was the morning's first order of business. After verifying everything was put to rights, we walked up to the marina to wash the chill bumps away in their shower facilities. But when we returned to shore, we were stunned by what we found. It seemed someone had pulled a giant plug and nearly drained the lake!

The first indication of the drastic drop was the inclination to our floating dock. The ramp on shore sloped down to the wharf at a frighteningly sharp angle. Looking over the bay, we saw large swaths of previously submerged rock and muck, laid bare to the stiff breeze. Once we returned onboard we were stunned to see that the breakwall eclipsed our view, enclosing us in a fortress of anaerobic infused boulders. The lake had to have dropped six feet!

Erie, as is all the Great Lakes, is considered to be non-tidal, meaning the impact of the sun and moon's gravitational forces are nearly imperceptible. So everyday, all day long, everything in the harbor remained fairly status quo as far as soundings were concerned. Where did all the water go?

When we first started our journey to become cruisers, we attended many preparation classes given by the USPS. One course I found quite tedious was Weather, but I remembered a phenomena covered during that seminar called Seiche. It was a term Don and I hadn't heard before so it stuck in my brain.

A seiche refers to a standing wave, or an oscillation of the surface of a landlocked body of water caused by resonances that has been disturbed by wind and/or atmospheric pressure. Yeah – I warned you that it was tedious.

Basically, when strong breezes persist in one direction over the lake and the barometer reading is high, the two forces fuse together and shove the water en masse, causing the windward side to drop while the leeward side rises. We'd been badgered by both weather conditions during the night so the environment was ripe.

Apparently, because of its shallow depth and long northeast to southwest axis, Lake Erie is particularly prone to extreme seiches of up to 16 feet! Hmm…I guess that's why it was covered in our class! But what I found so astonishing was how quickly the water level retreated. In only 15 or 20 minutes, we'd lost half the depth of the lake! To see this remarkable weather spectacle occurring right before our very eyes was AMAZING!

An Evening on the Water
~ An Evening on the Water ~
An Amusing Experience
One evening while on Points Unknown, Don and I were sitting outside in the company of our neighbors on both sides, who were also hanging out in their respective cockpits. Evening had spread a blanket of darkness over the entire marina, but that didn't drive any of us below. It was such a nice quiet night out under the stars.

One boat just a few docks over, however, was having quite the party. Their boogie down music, boozy singing, and boisterous laughter wafted over the marina. Apparently, these two revelers weren't aware of the amazing clarity with which sound travels over water. But all ears in the marina must have pricked as soon as the persuasive parlay began.

"Let's dance naked on the flybridge!" giggled one.

"You want to?! I will if you will!" the other goaded.

"Come on! We'll both do it! It'll be a blast!"

The two scampered up to their boat's high platform; their continued daring discourse made it easy for us to pinpoint their dance floor. After more prodding and prompting, they pledged to strip simultaneously.

In unison the countdown commenced. "One… Two…"

Apparently, these two kooks weren't aware of another thing about traveling over water. All well prepared mariners keep high-powered spotlights onboard – we're talking 1,000,000 candelas bright. In the likely event that something should happen on the water during the night, it's extraordinarily important to be able to see as well as day. So in the time these two wags worked up their courage, the rest of us quietly made ready.

"…THREE!"

BAM! The marina lit up like a stadium! Beams from every direction were drawn on two drunks in the midst of disrobing. Laughter exploded from every dock as the lime lit couple bent over in embarrassment, hobbling away in escape while trying to use every other limb for cover. I can't say what they might have thought about, or if they'd even be able to recall getting caught in the buff by a bunch of boaters. But I do know all of us in their unforeseen audience found the striptease exceptionally AMUSING!

The Scary Alcohol Stove
~ The Scary Alcohol Stove ~
A Terrifying Experience
Each time we used Points Unknown's monstrous Coleman camp stove, it nearly gassed us out of the boat. All the more reason to replace it with the sleek Kenyon marine stove I won after a rousing bidding war on eBay. Unfortunately, because it wasn't exactly 'new,' my acquisition didn't arrive with instructions.

You might be thinking "It's a stove! How hard could it be?"

Well, let me tell you. This particular stove burned pressurized alcohol, something neither Don nor I had dealt with before. It was easy to devise where the fuel fill was, but there were odd little saucers under the burners, and a weird plunger thingy between the two valves. My internet search didn't impart any specific information; only that pumping and priming had to occur before cooking could commence.

Very soon the time had come to kick the tires and light the fires onboard the Morgan! I confidently topped up the Kenyon's tank, and reasoned I'd learn the rest by trial and error. Starting with the obvious, I turned a valve on and held a match to the burner. That experiment flamed out immediately. I pulled and pushed on the plunger a bit, but nothing seemed to transpire from that venture. I tried turning the other valve on, then WHOA! The little bowl below the burner became a wellspring of alcohol overflowing all over the counter.

After mopping up that mess, I moved forward with what I'd figured out thus far. Pump, pump, pump. Turn on then quickly off. Ok. I got a demi-cocktail in a cup. I struck a match and poof, flambé – maybe?

The air wavered with nebulous heat, but there was no flicker of blue or yellow or orange. Eventually, the ethanol disappeared into the ether; my only proof it'd burned away. Evidently alcohol blazes in a near colorless fashion, which added an unexpected measure of danger to the whole endeavor.

Then Don came below to assess my proceedings. I put on my cocksure 'I got this!' charade and reprised the process. Pump, pump, pump, pump. Turn on, dribble, dribble, turn off. Skritch. Poof. Just when the little cup lit, our little boat bumped.

The Extinguishing Decor
~ The Extinguishing Decor ~

"FIRE!" Don yelled in horror!

Yes, I had a bitty blaze in the bowl, but I couldn't see why he was so alarmed. Until a ray of sunshine flashed through the companionway and illuminated the extent of the pyre in a prism.

I returned Don's wide eyed gape and gasped "OH MY GOD! FIRE!"

That boat bump made the flame jump! Our countertop was shrouded in a translucent blaze rapidly reaching toward the wooden fiddleA raised edge to prevent items from sliding off when in motion.! I plucked up the pitcher of water but stopped when Don bellowed "NO! That'll just spread it more!"

The last thing I saw was my brave captain ripping the extinguisher from the wall, pulling the pin, and squeezing the trigger.

Points Unknown probably only has a hundred square feet of space below her decks and Don sprayed until that entire canister was empty. We choked our way out in a billow of bicarbonate that continued to plume from the hatches like Mount Vesuvius. Once the cloud dissipated, we had our own little Pompeii onboard; every accouterment was cloaked in a white crust! But more importantly, we still had Points Unknown!

Our Boating Safety classes impressed upon us how susceptible vessels are to fire-related disasters. Mariners depend upon multiple types of fuel; diesel, gasoline, propane, kerosene, alcohol, even lamp oil, all because they combust so efficiently. And the materials used to build a boat; wood, fiberglass, varnish, canvas, they all provide perfect kindling for a floating inferno. Thus, the USCGUnited States Coast Guard mandates very specific fire extinguisher requirements – a regulation with which I'm grateful we obeyed.

I eventually learned how to properly operate my stove and I later confirmed that alcohol is one of the few liquid fuels that can be doused with water. However, every time I primed a burner, it ignited a sense of fear in us both. Because witnessing the galley engulfed in a ghostly fire was unforgettably TERRIFYING!

Don Relaxing at the Dock
~ Don Relaxing at the Dock ~
An Intimidating Experience
I think perhaps the reason many of the boats never leave the marina is not because of wretched weather, scanty schedules, or lack of fuel funds. I believe it's because going in and out of a dock is downright daunting!

The marina is a vacillate obstacle course, and the vessels bolting through it are barely harnessed beasts easily influenced by invisible forces. We've watched boats ricochet off other boats, anchors ensnare with lifelines, hulls scrape along swim platforms, and bows plow into planks.

Oh, we try and cushion the blow with a fringe of fendersA bumper used between a boat and its berth, or between vessels when rafted together. dangling along the flanks. But they never seem to be poised at the crash point. And standing at the ready to parry with a boat hook is like tilting at windmills, literally! The fact that any faux pas causes your mast to wave wildly, which immediately draws the attention of everyone in an 8 mile radius; well it's enough to give one pause!

I will confess that on one or two occasions, Points Unknown ping-ponged her way out of the slip. We're not nearly skilled enough to negotiate strictly by sail, so our little Mercury outboard provides the most manageable means to move about the marina. But when it's employed, the helmsman (aka Don) must grapple with two tillers. As if one isn't befuddling enough in forward, two is doubly muddled in reverse! But trust me – he isn't the only one to moil during docking maneuvers.

Diana at the Helm
~ Diana at the Helm ~

The deck hand (aka Me) has to cope with lots of rope, every one inconveniently located onboard or far flung on the finger pier. And depending on which ever way the wind blows, each lineOn a boat, any rope that is tied to something or employed in some specific manner. must be cast off or tied on in a very specific order. This causes said hand to clamber like a monkey from bowFront of a boat. to starboardRight side of a ship when facing forward. to portLeft side of a ship when facing forward. to sternBack of a boat.. While orders are barked from the back of the boat, the overburdened swabbie (aka ME) must quickly bend bowlines, lasso pilings, push off, pull hard, deploy fenders, secure ropes, keep watch, signal clearance, and squelch mutinous proclivities that will inevitably drift into her every fantasy.

That's the real docking dilemma! A damaging departure can put a real damper of the excitement of going on an adventure. And the comfort of coming into port can be eclipsed by the stress of a hard knock docking. Don and I believed our jitters around the jetties were because of our inexperience, but we ultimately came to understand that most mariners suffer from pier pressure.

While tied up in a marina on Kelleys Island, we assisted a skipper who had his share of difficulties getting into an adjacent slip. He first attempted to back in, but the wind wasn't having it and pushed his transom onto the pier. He managed to make the tight 10 point turn in the fairway, only slightly bumping into another boat. On his second stab at the slip, now pulling in forward, the breeze blew him diagonally before he could catch a cleat.

Don and I mustered a bit of brawn, and were able to finally get the ship properly orientated and suitably secured. We tried to assure the chagrined skipper that we've all had docking discord one time or another. But instead, his appraisal of the whole ordeal genuinely offered us some consolation.

"You're not going to believe this. I'm actually a captain for Norwegian Cruise Line, and let me tell you. It is much easier to dock one of those ships than it was to bring in this dinky little sailboat!"

Though it's a bit of a relief to know it's not just us, I don't know if we'll ever feel completely comfortable migrating around a marina. Because it seems that even for the saltiest shipmate, dealing with a dock is always, awfully INTIMIDATING!

Taking Neice Lydia and Sister Nancy for a Sail
~ Taking Niece Lydia and Sister Nancy for a Sail ~
A Gratifying Experience
Though both Don and I had lots of childhood memories made on the water, neither of our families ever imagined living aboard as a permanent state of being. Boats were for a moment of recreation, not a prevailing way of life. When we dreamed out loud of sailing the high seas, they echoed back their skepticism, apprehension, and trepidation. They knew we'd been raised in a land-locked local. How could we feel we had salt running through our veins?

Not wishing to rock the boat, Don and I quietly persevered toward our cruising goal. We never made a peep about our USPSUnited States Power Squadron classes; never revealed our newly earned HAM radio licenses; never spoke of our SSCA membership. Our polestar went on mute until Points Unknown made it palpable. And then, our family astounded us!

Everyone showed up to see our little sailboat up close and personal. Everyone wanted to come aboard, see the creature comforts, and get a feel for the space. One by one, the requests to be taken sailing started to flow.

Though some regarded the chance to spend the day riding around on the lake as an opportunity to have a good time, many others were not what I'd call water people. The idea of blowing around on a big lake in a rocky boat wasn't in their repertoire of relaxation. My mother suffered severely from sea sickness. My slender sister and skinny nieces all sunk like stones in the water. Don's mom wasn't a strong swimmer either, and not a single one from either side had ever been sailing before!

The Morgan gave our family a tangible glimpse into the life that Don and I sought. She allowed them to explore an unfamiliar path, relieve some of their concerns about our future, and get better acquainted with the kind of life we sought. We got to demonstrate that we'd actually become proper sailors, and whenever guests were onboard, Points Unknown always performed wonderfully. Most importantly, our little sailboat managed to draw an otherwise rambling family together for at least one day, and that was particularly GRATIFYING!

Father's Day Catch
~ Father's Day Catch ~
A Relaxing Experience
I would venture to guess that for Don, a highlight of our Lake Erie summer was that it afforded him so many opportunities to fish. Each time we left a boat chandlery, bait and tackle was amongst our booty. And each time we settled down to unwind, he'd cast his cares with a reel. Morning, noon, or night, if the wind was right (and I was told this matters to fish) Don could be found rod in hand, and happy as a clam.

One of his best fishing moments was fittingly on the morning of Father's Day. It didn't begin so lucky for the celebrated dad who'd begun drowning his bait before the breakfast dishes were dry. And his own brood furthered his vexation by growing impatient for a change of venue.

"I'm going to catch one big one first, as a present because it's my day." he persuaded. "After that we'll all go to the pool."

Then every superstition I'd never heard of was mumbled from the luckless angler. Were the Easterlies blowing? Was the sun too high in the sky? Was the water too wavy, too still, too cloudy, too clear?

I guess I could swallow some truth in the idea that the climate might alter a fish's likelihood to swallow a hook. But when Don noted the curse of Camryn's red hair, muttered that he had Sunday going for him but was bothered by the bananas onboard, my eyes nearly rolled out of their sockets.

"Shade, I need some shade!" he concluded.

He disembarked onto the dock, plunked his line in the shadow of the boat beside us and within seconds – WHAM! Every illogicality earned merit and in the blink of an eye, we girls went from a bored bunch of bystanders to a spirited squad of cheer leaders! For fifteen minutes he fought with his catch. The quarry ran all the way up the fairway. It looked as if the pole was going to break while Don wrestled his prey back. Fortunately, man prevailed and a stunningly large carp was ultimately brought to the surface.

"How are you going to get it on the dock?" I wondered, to which I was sent on a futile quest for a net.

Not to be deterred, Don reached down and grabbed his guerdon by the gills, without falling in the drink I might add! He removed the hook, I snapped a pic, and he casually released it back into its realm. Then he quietly collected his gear and said "Let's go for a swim!"

I'm not completely baffled about Don's desire to fish. The grin on his face said it all. Perhaps it satisfies a primal hunting urge that modern life otherwise stifles. Perhaps it functions as a sport in which patience and beer are the only physical attributes required. Or perhaps it is a link to fond memories of times spent bonding with his father. Whatever the drive, I believe Don would agree that fishing is one of his favorite ways of RELAXING!

Willie's Canoe
~ Willie's Canoe ~
A Taxing Experience
While lounging in the cockpit with my morning coffee, I heard a loud SPLASH! Leaping onto the dock, I was aghast to discover our neighbor flailing around in the water, desperately gripping the bowFront of a boat. of his boat. It was the only part of the vessel that poked above the surface.

Willie had a 25' gaff rigged sloop on the slip just across the dock from us. Every inch of her; mast, spars, deck, and hull was wooden. Such a classic boat needs constant attention, but this beauty had obviously suffered years of neglected. Every now and then, we'd see Willie tinkering around on her, but she never showed any real signs of improving. Then one day, the high maintenance lady was gone.

Curiously, a canoe was tied up in her place. Though it was a lovely canoe (also completely made of wood), it had no earthly business being in a slip on Lake Erie. Left open to the elements, there was nothing to stop it from filling with rain water. No matter what they're made of, canoes don't float when filled with water.

Furthermore, though the native Erie tribe once traversed these waters via this type of vessel, their namesake lake is a large, sometimes violent body that routinely swallows entire cargo ships! Traveling by canoe takes a fair level of expertise on calm tributaries. Paddling over ocean like swells should only be attempted by the experienced. And Willie's skill level proved to be quite inadequate for any kind of venue.

Marina's Mast Flags
~ Marina's Mast Flags ~

That became evident when he tried to climb onboard, and ended up treading water, gripping the tip of his capsized craft, trying desperately to keep the $5000 replacement from going down. With the assistance of some others, we were able to retrieve the sodden skipper and right his canoe. But our stupefaction didn't end there.

"Sure glad I didn't get the engine mounted on it yet!" Willie motioned to the 15 horsepower Evinrude laying on the dock.

Though this particular model sported a square sternBack of a boat., I'm fairly confident it was never intended for a 100 pound outboard. The torque alone would tumble the canoe end over end if the weight didn't tip it in the first place!

While Willie dripped on the dock, we proceeded to rescue two full gas tanks floating nearby. "Do you see any cans of beer? I had a 12 pack onboard." the drenched dimwit inquired.

Alas, one was found still bobbing in the cooler and he wasted no time cracking it open. While drowning his sorrows in a Schlitz, Willie lamented the loss of the other eleven suds, as well as all his fishing gear and bait. Then he pulled a thoroughly soaked cell from his shirt pocket and shook his head.

I gently suggested that perhaps a canoe wasn't the right kind of vessel for his motor. Or for Lake Erie. Or for a marina for that matter! He confessed that his sloop had to be hauled out for the remainder of the season. "They won't refund my annual dock fee, so by God, I'm not gonna just let my slip sit empty!" he avowed. Don and I were left shaking our heads. Everything about the situation spelled disaster.

In an emergency, a boater always hopes that someone will come to their aid. So to boost our karmic cache, Don and I never hesitated to be counted on in kind. Whether it's as minor as catching some dock lines or as major as rescuing a nearly drowned pet, the look of relief and gratitude always made it worth the effort. But we had to concede that responding to a crisis caused by sheer stupidity was particularly TAXING!

Hanging at the Sandbar
~ Hanging at the Sandbar ~
A Pleasurable Experience
Just east of Johnson's Island, Don and I discovered something that seemed completely out of place; a spit of powdery, white sand which clearly belonged in the tropics! Other than its latitude laying too far to the North, it was a quintessential sandbar in every way; secluded, serene, picturesque, and pristine. One would think they were off the coast of Florida rather than on an Ohio lake!

It came to our attention while sailing around Sandusky Bay one hot summer day when we spotted a clump of power boats anchored near the shore and decided to see what lured the lot. After dropping the sails, we puttered over into shallow water and tossed the hook off the bowFront of a boat. not far from the flotilla. It was the perfect opportunity for taking advantage of our Morgan's shallow draft.

Once settled and able to survey our surroundings, we were pleasantly surprised by the affair we'd encountered. It was a spontaneous party with music blaring from boats and people bobbing with beer. Apparently, hanging off a sandbar is a thing boaters do, a novel water sport of which Don and I were completely unaware.

But to join in, we had to jump in. Don didn't hesitate to take the plunge, however, it took a lot of coaxing to get me to follow. Even this late into summer, Lake Erie rarely breaks the 75° Fahrenheit mark and I needed to muster up for the shock.

Once I took that leap, I'd no idea just how startling it'd be. The water was wonderfully comfortable! Not only did the depth allow for lazy bathing, the sand sucked up the heat of the sun and raised the temperatures around the shoal to a balmy bliss.

We soaked the sailing sweat away, then waded to shore for a romantic stroll along the lakeside coast. Ohioans always refer to this area as the 'North Coast' of the USA and I finally understood just how accurate that turn of phrase really is. Shells were even scattered along the beach!

Once again Points Unknown had transported us to an impromptu vacation, this time at a sunny, beachside paradise. Furthermore, we'd been given a taste of a very unique recreational activity that we very much hoped would reoccur in our future. Because for all our water based experiences; sailing, fishing, diving, and swimming, before this we'd never known that bobbing on a sandbar beside our boat with our toes in the sand and a drink in our hand could be so PLEASURABLE!

Towing Our Dinghy
~ Towing Our Dinghy ~
A Memorable Experience
The quiet, laid-back pace of Kelleys Island drew us to her shores over and over again. Her northern bay would be the first place Don and I dropped anchor for the weekend. Between the Nature Preserve, Glacial Grooves, State Park and North Pond, we were guaranteed complete seclusion from the pollution of modern life – no city lights, no traffic noise, no factory smells, and surroundings left untouched by man.

Arriving under full sail further enhanced the feeling of being wild and free. We towed our little inflatable dinghy along so we could explore all the native beauty the island had preserved. Though we discovered that rowing a blow up raft proved to be the least efficient means of mobility ever invented, we managed to power through on laughter.

We wandered along the deep ridges carved out during the ice age, a giant footprint of the massive glacier which ultimately gouged out the basins for all the Great Lakes. From there we hiked through a heavily wooded area to the boardwalk that spans the marshy wetland surrounding the North Pond. Even from the top of the observation tower, not another soul could be seen. The solitude was perfect.

Beautiful Sunset
~ Beautiful Sunset ~

Yet for all the resplendent natural history we found on land, what was ultimately most unforgettable was shown in the heavens after dark. The moonless night revealed every one of the billions of stars that were possible to see with the naked eye. Floating out on an immense lake, far from all the artificial neon, halogen, florescent, and incandescent light, the sky was illuminated in a spectacle of which I'd never seen before.

Don and I took our bedding onto the bowFront of a boat. of the boat, and snuggled up for the show. Our theater was the cosmos and we had the best seats in the house. Meteors sprayed from horizon to horizon, so many we ran out of wishes. Planets were clearly distinguished, glowing like jewels of ruby, amber, and aquamarine while sparkling constellations were nearly obscured by the Milky Way swirling in the background. Satellites raced by as if being chased by the Greek gods forever floating in effigy above.

That night, rather than feeling minuscule and insignificant, we felt instinctively connected to the universe; every body in the sky as beautiful and significant as every breath taken below. We were caught in our galaxy's nets of silver and gold, awash in more light that darkness.

That one night under the stars was unquestionably a moment of Zen, total enlightenment, Nirvana achieved. What ever the word for true freedom from the worries of the external world, we'd come to understand how it felt to realize you are a part of something so immense and infinite. I believe that of the 15,725 nights I'd lived on this planet, that one night on the hook in our little blue ship would for me remain amongst the most MEMORABLE!

One Last Scrubbing for the Deck
~ One Last Scrubbing for the Deck ~
A Boat Storage Story
When I called my mom to ask if we might borrow her mini van for the haul out, she curiously hesitated.

"I don't think it's powerful enough to pull your boat out of the water." she worried.

"It's a 5000 pound boat! I know it can't!" I couldn't help but laugh at her misunderstanding. "We just want to bring some of our gear and the outboard back to the house to store over the winter. That's why we wanted to use the van."

To be fair, in May we were just as nescient as mom still was regarding the workings of a full blown marina. But now we had a season of experience under our caps, and a travel liftA four wheeled, motorized steel frame designed to launch and hoist larger boats. schedule to keep.

An Extraordinary Future
By October 28th, our little blue boat was scrubbed clean, snuggled down in her cradle, and swaddled with a big blue tarp. In just under a year hence, Don and I were to launch Re Metau and embark on the life that Points Unknown not only showed us was possible, but showcased how extraordinary it was likely to be.

She promised there'd be close encounters with nature, so fragile and yet so remarkable. There'd be time to stop, and let our thoughts rest on a singular moment. We'd get to observe the strange phenomena of our mysterious weather. And there'd be moments so hilarious we'd get to laugh until it hurt.

She showed us that we'd face real crisis of which we'd best be prepared. And exposed anxieties of which we'd have to conquer. Yet we'd also be granted exceptional moments to appreciate, and lots of chances to do the special activities that calm our soul.

Points exposed us to the follies of fools who we'd find in out paths, blatant in what not to do and why. And she revealed the wondrous, secret places too remote for the wary soul too afraid to go. Finally, she unveiled to us a Utopia that seems otherwise concealed by a more normal, civilized life. For all these lessons and more, she will always have a very special place in my heart.

About Us
About Re Metau
About Our Journey
Becoming Re Metau
About Our Cruising Kitty
Neptune
Tour Our Floating Home
Big Living on a Little Boat
About Our 1st Boat
A Morgan 24 – Points Unknown
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