Tuesday, November 30, 2010

36 Hours on the Atlantic - A Guest Post!

As most of you probably know, my brother Kevin joined us for a few days after Thanksgiving.  Here is what he had to say about it:

We set out early Saturday morning through the ICW and made tracks for the Atlantic. This excited me. I was fairly sure I would have to be leaving on Saturday to catch a flight, work, etc, but we had decided that we would do an overnight and go for 36 hours straight “Outside” to get me to Charleston, SC by Sunday night. Perfect!

I have never been out on the Atlantic in a sailboat for an overnight before, but I have sailed all my life, done a few Mac races, and spend a lot of time fishing Lake Michigan for Salmon in the summers. I didn’t even feel a little apprehensive. In fact, right before we got out of the channel, I looked at Britt and said in not so many words that “I am going to own the Atlantic on this trip”. Britt and Scott instantly shot me a stink eye and said “Dude, don’t say that!” I have a very healthy respect for the Ocean and Mother Nature in general, so I’m not sure why I was so brazen. It was a mistake.

Feelin' rough as a badgers arse.
Within the first hour the muffin I had for breakfast was fish food. I took a quick nap, popped a Dramamine, and felt instantly better when I woke up. We sailed through the day and the seas settled a bit. Soon, it was night watch time. On Mac races, I always found the night watches to be one of my favorite parts. Maybe it was the fact that you were racing and had some other crew up with you to chat with, but the solo night watches on the Rasmus that particular night were cold and seemingly went on forever. The stars were out in full force, but even those could only hold my attention for so long. I would hold course, look at the compass, glance at a boat off our port side, then back to the compass….and a mere 2 minutes passed. Needless to say, the 3 hours would tick by while you dreamed of having the next 6 hours to sleep.
After starting one watch at 4:00am, Britt popped her head up around 6:30 to hang for out for a bit before she took over at 7:00am. As she was messing about in the galley, I saw an out of place splash to my left, then another to my right, and another and another. Dolphins! A boat load of them! This was enthralling to me due to the past 3 hours of sensory deprivation, and these dolphins did not disappoint. What must have been a pod of 50 of them put on a friggin Sea World show all around the boat. Large dolphins, baby dolphins,  jumps, spins, surfacing right at the cockpit - and to my amazement - 2 of them even did a synchronized jump and half spin right next to us. That can’t be common. About they only thing they didn’t do was one of these little ditties.  This lasted for at least 30 minutes, and I’m pretty sure has to be about as good as it gets for seeing dolphins in the wild.

We continued on through the day and the seas built once again. Britt, totally unaffected by the building waves (or any of the seas for that matter), looked out over them, squinted, and proclaimed “There's a lot of mean looking Atlantic Greybeards out here…” Greybeards? I was feeling a little queasy again and took a closer look at the 10 ft rollers blowing in endlessly from the NW, the froth at the crests of the waves swirling in a way that I have not seen on lake Michigan. They did indeed look like the grey beard of an old man and I couldn’t get the term out of my head. I googled it and nothing came back, so I’m giving Britt credit for this one. (Editors note: I believe I read the term "Grey Beard" when reading about Cape Horn rollers...so, while this is a great metaphor that I would love to take credit for, I cannot).

After 30+ hours battling the Atlantic we went in about 35miles North of Charleston. I was completely exhausted and welcomed the still waters of the ICW. Let it be known that I am sure we could have made it, and the decision to go in was made by Scott who was for sure looking out for me. as I was having a hard time keeping any food down at all again. I have sailed with these two a lot, but the amount they have learned in the past few months is very noticeable. Both of them are excellent sailors and navigators and the boat they have built is a beast in blue water.

Hanging with them for 5 days aboard the Rasmus was an absolute blast. They are great hosts and even better sailors. I hope any of you that have a chance to cruise with or on the Rasmus take the opportunity, it will not disappoint.

Post written by: Kevin Stephen. Brittany's awesome little bro.
Thanks Kevy!! You were an awesome crew member and we can't wait to have you back in the Bahamas!  We love you lots!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Running Aground

Everyone told us it would happen and we even bought BoatUS towing insurance to be safe - but I don't think Scott and I really ever thought we'd actually run aground.  I mean, how hard is it to stay in a channel?  Well, apparently it's not that easy 'cause we did it.  The situation was incredibly confusing; the channel was not well marked and the tide was low.  All the stars aligned and we kissed the bottom.  And then we became well acquainted with her.  The soft, muddy, sink right into it bottom outside of McClellanville, SC.  A catamaran who was passing us also ran aground  - in the channel.  Luckily for them, the wake of a passing boat was enough to free them.  We were not so lucky.

Thank god for getting BoatUS towing insurance.  We paid $150 US for unlimited towing.  Our little grounding today would have put us back over $700 US dollars without it.  Phew.  As Scott said, "Well...at least we now know the insurance was worth it.  I would have hated to waste $150 bucks".  That Scott, always trying to get the best bang for our buck.

We are back on our way and headed to Charleston, SC where we'll drop off my brother.  He'll be composing a guest post of the last couple days with us.  You should be excited, not only is he hilarious - he's had some rather interesting...insights.

Lesson learned:  If there is a fork in the road (or waterway), and you accidentally go down the one less traveled by (i.e. poorly marked) - go back where you began (i.e top of the fork) before you change your mind and take the more traveled route.

Brittany & Scott

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Images from Oriental

We're thinking of coming to Oriental, NC for every Thanksgiving now.  This one was just way too much fun.  Tiki bars, fried turkey buffets, and boat people make for one heck of a good time.  Did I mention it was 71 degrees and we were in flip flops?  Yeah.  That helped too.  With no further ado, here are a few images to capture this special place they call "Oriental".

The Oriental Marina.  It was THE place to be.

We made VERY merry at the Toucan bar.  And I mean, VERY merry.

A little house, in a little town.

Some bikes outside the local coffee house, "The Bean".  This was THE place
to be in the a.m.  It seemed the whole town was there.  So fun.

Lots of industrial fishing here.
A huge thanks to my mom and dad for taking such good care of us and coming out to see us.  We had such a great time!

Brittany & Scott

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I am so thankful that my mom, dad and brother Kevin have arrived in Belhaven to meet Scott and I for Thanksgiving.

I am NOT thankful for my hangover.

While Belhaven was nice, we decided to push on today and have dinner tonight in Oriental, NC.  We already had dinner last night at the one restaurant in Belhaven (the Fish Hook - delicious home cookin'!), and while we would have eaten there for a second night, it is closed today.  So after lots of fun, laughter and (way too much) wine and rum last night - we have decided that Oriental might have a bit more to offer us because this chick is not about to cook a turkey.  Scott, Kevin and I are sailing and my mom and dad are driving ahead of us to scope it out.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Brittany & Scott

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Images from the ICW

While the "Dismal Swamp" route sounded very appealing* - we opted for the faster, less scenic Virginia cut of the ICW.  Not much going on but still managed to snap a few nice pictures to give you a sense of what we are seeing day to day.

Just your everyday pelican in an Industrial world.  But still, a pelican - and
where there are pelicans - there is warm weather!

Norfolk, VA - home to the largest Naval Base in the world.  Lots of things that
go "boom" on these boats!

Cruising along the ICW.  

Ticking off markers as we head South.

Beautiful Day.
So many birds of prey swooping and flying overhead.  Wonderful to watch.
Yesterday, we saw THREE bald eagles playing with each other in front of the boat.
As soon as we neared them, they retreated to their perches high up in the trees and watched us
go by.  Beautiful.


Brittany & Scott

* All sarcasm aside, the "Dismal Swamp" route is supposed to be prettier than the route we chose.  It is also supposed to be significantly slower and shallower, which is why we went the way we did.

The Place Where Night Ends, and Day Begins

Our alarms went off at 4:30am this morning and we were up and out by 5am.  We made it a point last night to check the oil (engine and transmission) so that we didn't have to do it this morning (one of our daily chores that takes a good 15-20 minutes when it's all said and done).  The reason for our early departure is that we are hoping to get to Belhaven, NC - a good 70 nautical miles away (a nautical mile is 1.15 statute miles for all you non-sailors).  At our speed of about 6.5 knots we should get there between 4 and 5pm - just in time to meet my mom, dad and brother Kevin for Thanksgiving tomorrow!  Very excited about this.

Here's what our morning looked like:

Where night ends, and day begins...

Glorious! The sun stretching her arms!

To any would-be cruisers out there looking for tips - sailing inland in the dark is a piece of cake IF you have a good (and I mean VERY good) spotlight.  We could not have made the twisty-turvy pass to the Albemarle Sound without one (there is a narrow channel here with 4-5 foot shoals on either side - very little room for error).  While there are plenty of markers to guide you, many are not lit and a spotlight greatly helps in finding these.

Brittany & Scott

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We are in the ICW

The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is a water passage that begins in Norfolk, VA and ends in Key West, FL.  It is an inland waterway, providing boats who don't want to go "off shore" in the Ocean (namely around Cape Hattaras, the "Graveyard of the Atlantic") another option to enjoy heading south in the relative safety of protected water.

Yesterday we entered the ICW in Norfolk, VA and started on our merry way when we realized two things:
1)  We didn't know where we were going (the Maptech cruising guide* we have is totally useless) and thus,
2)  We needed a better cruising guide...STAT.

So we turned around and headed back to Norfolk to find the famed "Skipper Bob's" cruising guide to the ICW (on the suggestion of many of our cruising friends).  Holy heck are we glad we did!  We really would have been in for it had we not (Bullet: Dodged!).  Bridge schedules, anchorages, warnings, updates, town listings, amenities...all sorts of great info in this little book.

We have also heard that you are guaranteed to run aground in this "safe" waterway - so we thought ahead and bought Boat US Towing Insurance.  It was $150, but if we were to get a tow without insurance it could cost us upwards of 2K, so we figured better be safe than sorry.  The math was just too compelling.  Look at us - all grown up and prepared!

ICW - bring it!**

Brittany & Scott

*A cruising guide is like a "Lonely Planet" for the water.
**Just kidding!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Doing Without

Living on a 35 foot sailboat does take some adjusting - you are lacking many of the creature comforts that most people take advantage of on a daily basis.  Things like washing machines, dishwashers, unlimited water, refrigeration, air conditioning, central heat and flushing toilets are not on most 35 foot sailboats.  In addition - we are without big closets, a pantry, adequate counter space, and we have to crawl in and out of our bed.  Here are some of our thoughts on a few of these modern conveniences that landlubbers take for granted every day and how we deal without them:

  • Refrigeration - this was the one thing that boggled people's minds the most.  "What on earth will you eat if you don't have a refrigerator?!?" was one of our Top 10 questions.  Well, we are happy to announce we have not missed having a refrigerator once and, dare I say, we have been eating pretty well.  Plus, we don't have all that energy being drained out of our battery banks.
  • Closets - ALL of our personal clothes are in Ziploc bags (the jumbo kind) and stacked on shelves in the v-berth.  This keeps them all fresh and dry (put a dryer sheet in each bag!) and you know what?  It's not nearly as big of a pain in the 'a' that we thought this would be.  Would a California closet be nice?  Sure.  But it's not necessary.
  • Pantry - Ah, the days of opening a pantry and pondering what to eat are long gone.  Now - we need to think in advance about what we have and then gather all the ingredients in the various places we have stowed them.  For example, to make some spaghetti - we need to go into five different places to get the fixings - an exercise that includes removing 2 seat cushions, crawling under one table, reaching underneath one settee and removing several items from a cabinet.  A process which at home takes 2 minutes and on a boat takes about 8.  
  • Unlimited water - our water tanks hold 60 gallons of water.  In addition we carry a spare 8 gallons in jerry jugs.  To put it in perspective, that is the amount of water most of you use to take four seven-minute showers.  We have been very good about conserving water  - and it's a very good lesson in learning what we really "need".  We've learned we can wash dishes in just a few cups of water as opposed to a whole sink full.  It just takes a little more effort, and a little extra effort never killed anyone.
  • Microwave - we barely ever used ours in our apartment (in fact, it was kept in a cabinet) so we actually kind of forgot about this one.  Microwaves always grossed me out anyway, truth be told.  Also - since we don't have a fridge/freezer, the whole microwaving thing is rendered obsolete.
  • Flushing toilet - We have to pump our marine toilet manually to flush it, but this is hardly a problem compared to the fact that our innocent little toilet can actually sink our boat.  To flush, we need to turn a lever that brings seawater in and if for some reason you forget to switch that lever off* it will slowly and innocently fill with water, overflow, and (eventually) fill the boat with water.  This little lever has turned both Scott and myself into OCD-style freaks checking it over and over and over again.  If we left that lever up, and then left the boat for a few days, we'd step into a few feet of water.  As we experienced before, not fun.
  • Washing machine - we have definitely begun to be a little more selective about what is "dirty" (Scott is taking this to the extreme with the mindset of "if it doesn't touch your skin, it doesn't get dirty") since doing laundry involves getting in the dinghy, schlepping all our stuff ashore, finding a laundromat, getting quarters, waiting for a couple hours and doing the reverse.  When our clothes get littler (like shorts, tanks, and BIKINIS!!) we will probably just wash our clothes in buckets on the boat - but for now, this is how it's done and the whole process can take up to four hours.
  • Crawling (literally) into bed -   Once our v-berth is converted into a bed - we need to crawl (like, on all fours) in and out of it.  No more monkey's jumping on the bed over here - we have zero head room!  Sure, at first we kneed and elbowed each other quite a bit - but now we move out of each other's way with such precise expertise, it's like we've been crawling in and out of bed for years!

So, the bottom line is this: life on a boat takes a little more work, a little more resourcefulness, and a lot more creativity.  Not so bad at all.


Brittany & Scott

*Yep.  We have done this twice now in our middle of the night sleep-walking forays to the toilet.  I now have dreams of shutting off that damn valve.  Seriously.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

On Expectations

I mentioned some time ago in an earlier post that Scott and I have adjusted to the cruising life pretty seamlessly.  I'm not sure if this means we were prepared, highly adaptable or both...but one thing I do know is that expectations can make or break how you feel about something, someone, some place...etc.  I learned this lesson long ago and have found that setting unrealistic expectations is what causes unhappiness in so many people.

My life will be better if I get that next promotion...
I'll feel better about myself if I loose 10lbs...
I'll be happy when I make more money...
He'll "change" once we get married...*
If I move to a new place, I'll be happy...

The truth is, all of those are fallacies and on the other side is much of the same.  What is that whole "curse of the lottery" again?  "If you were miserable before, you'll be miserable after"? Yeah.  My point exactly.

I believe Scott and I set realistic expectations for this trip.  We knew it was going to be fun.  We knew it was going to be hard work.  We knew there would be trade-offs and sacrifices and we knew there would be tremendous gains.  We knew to prepare not only for the best of times, but the worst of times as well.  Knowing all this has really helped us keep smiling and happy through the ups and downs.  We are living in a very extreme world right now (which is perfect for me, as I'm what some might call an "extreme" person) and it would be silly to think of this lifestyle as an "endless vacation" (it is not) or all "tropical slushy rum drinks" in beachy cabanas (I mean, I have only had ONE tiny Painkiller this whole trip!).

We are a couple of the lucky ones, because what this trip is for us is the realization of both of our dreams.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  Our trip doesn't 'begin' in Florida, the Bahamas or the Caribbean - it began over 2 years ago in Chicago!  And we have been loving every. single. minute of it (well, almost every minute).

* Scott proofread this and said "Huh?...people are going to think you are talking about me!" - I am absolutely NOT doing a passive-aggressive cry for help here!  Ha!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Anchoring is a dirty job...

...but we gotta do it....lest we pay an exuberant amount in marina fees.

You see, anchoring our boat is free whereas a marina can charge up to $3 (or more) per foot.  Carry the two...and it's not hard to calculate the cost savings.  They are significant.

So we are anchoring (or mooring) a lot more these days.

And let me tell you, it is a DIRTY job.

We have a 45 pound CQR (which is honking for our size boat) and 270 ft. of chain (5/16 BBB, if you cruisers are wondering).  This is great for peace of mind - because the one thing you do NOT want to happen at anchor is to drag.  The more beefy your ground tackle, the better and more secure you are.

Chain is great for added 'beef' and strength - partly because on it's own it is very heavy and actually lays along the sea floor, adding more strength to your hold.

Operative words being, "along the sea floor".

When we pull up our chain with it come GOBS and GOBS and GOBS of mud.  Gunky, slimy, "what is that smell?!"* kind of mud.  And it gets everywhere.

This morning I looked like Pig Pen from the Peanuts cartoons.  Mud all over me.  My jacket.  My pants.  My boots.  Everywhere.

It took 12 buckets of seawater to flush down the boat and get her respectable again.

Necessity is the mother of invention and I am now determined to find a way to do this without looking like I was mud wrestling.  I'll keep you posted.

Brittany & Scott

*Perhaps the fact we were anchored next to some sort of natural gas facility was the reason for the stench?  It was foul.

Early to bed, early to rise...

...makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

If this is true - we are well on our way to the good life!

In bed last night at 7:30am, stretching to life at 5am.

Hello day! Heading to Deltaville (or beyond?)...we've got the sails up and are just cruising along out here!


Brittany & Scott

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Images from Annapolis

This city is very historic. It's all curly-cues and calligraphy here.  

I like a town with a pub named "Dock Street"
Ego Alley.  This is where you park your fancy boat and stroke your ego.
Our boat was not here.
Wise words.
Beautiful architecture everywhere.
Though he does resemble Abe Lincoln, this is not him.
My favorite pic.  A little side street.

Brittany & Scott

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Boats and Babies - I'm Thinking they are Very Similar

Our "baby"
Here are the ways in which owning a boat is not unlike having a baby around*:

1)  They keep you up at night - sometimes every hour on the hour.  A full night's sleep without having to check on them, tend to them, or fix them is VERY rare.
2)  They get you sick - babies are (seemingly) sick all the time, thus getting their parents sick.  Boats aren't all that different.  Scott and I have been fighting some sniffily sneezy snotty nose cold pretty much since Chicago.
3)  The worry (OH the worry!) - always wondering, "Is this the best solution for______? Are we doing the right thing?  Is this normal?"  Constantly thumbing through books and searching in forums to find out if what you are doing is "right".  If you leave them, you are non-stop thinking/wondering/worrying about them.
4)  They need your constant attention - without it, they will fall into various states of disrepair and/or break.
5)  They smell funny at times - babies have poopy diapers, boats have bilges and holding tanks.  I'm not sure which odor is worse (because I've heard baby poop can be FOUL) but the smells on a boat, at times, can be pretty brutal.
6)  You must think of their future - planning ahead is the name of the game.
7)  They (and associated costs) are expensive - diapers and formula are to a baby what halyards and shackles are to a boat.
8) They bring great joy - and a lot of adventure.
9) Yours is the best - enough said. :)

*Obviously, we don't have babies and don't know any of this for sure.  But lots of our friends do.  And no, we don't have any "news".

Brittany (& Scott)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

Last night Scott, Jay, Nicole and I met one of our "blog friends" Jaye and her husband Dan for dinner.  Jaye and I have been emailing back and forth for months now and it was finally nice to meet her in person.  She has taken a particular liking to our trip, namely because her and Dan are liveaboards and did this "first leg" of our trip (Florida to Bahamas...) last year.  They had a ton of great advice and info for us and we are so grateful for it!

The night started innocently enough at Boatyard Bar and Grill after which we said goodbye to Jaye and Dan and headed to the Sly Fox Pub to play some trivia (epic fail, FYI).  Before we knew it, it was 1am and we were dancing like idiots and making friends all over the place at some bar whose name I don't recall.

Scott and I slept in until 11am today.  11am!! For those of you who are not cruisers, that is like sleeping until 5pm.  "Sleeping in" nowadays is sleeping until 7:30am...

Tonight - Nicole and Jay are coming over for dinner and a movie - sans drinks involving fermented anything.

Brittany (& Scott)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Annapolis - Sailor's Heaven

Can you see all those boats?!  All the white on the horizon are SAILS!  
I once heard somewhere that Annapolis is "A drinking town with a sailing problem".  I would have to agree.  This place is awesome.  Totally our kind of town.  Everyone walking around in foulies, boat shoes on every foot, and an overall laid back, chill vibe.  And the boats...boats are EVERYWHERE.

It is the middle of November and you would think it's the middle of the summer over here!  We pulled into the harbor mouth and saw hundreds, literally hundreds of boats sailing around.  It looked like a freakin' traffic jam of sailboats.

Last night we had dinner ashore with our friends Jay and Nicole at Davis' Pub (a local fave we are told!) and had the BEST crab cake sandwiches ever.  Mmhhhhmm....my mouth is watering thinking about them.

We are going to stay here for a couple more days.

Leaving Swan Creek inlet...soooo calm.

Passing under the bridge just outside Annapolis.

Big sky.

Brittany (& Scott)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

For all you people who "WISH" you could do this...

I bring you Jay and Nicole.

We met these two the other night and not only are they a total riot, they are a total inspiration.

They met this summer working at a restaurant in Long Beach Island, NJ.  She is a part time dinghy sailing instructor, he works part time in a surf shop and has a penchant for spear fishing.

Even though they are just friends, they decided they needed to head South for the winter.  In a sailboat.

So what did they do?  They bought a boat for 7K on Craigslist (a Sabre 28), closed on it about two (yes, TWO) weeks ago, threw all of their stuff aboard (including FIVE surfboards!) and just left the dock last week.

I love these two.

Her only experience is in dinghies, and he took an outward bound sailing course...when he was fifteen.

Sure, on their first night out they didn't want to try navigating into a new harbor in the dark so they decided to try mooring on a lobster pot in the open ocean (hilarious story, actually) - but they learned a lot that night (namely never to try to moor on the open ocean using anything, let alone a lobster pot) and they continue to learn a lot each and every day.  Just like us.

They are doing it.   Totally stripped down, totally bare bones, but they are doing it.  They didn't spend a ton of money, they only have the slightest clue what they are doing, and they are living their dream.  It's really not that complicated when you break it down.

Did I mention they have a fridge?...With chilled white wine?  We became fast friends the four of us and will probably cruise down to Florida together.

So...for all of you who think you "can't" do whatever it is you want to do - take a look at these two and take a leap of faith!


Brittany (& Scott)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In the Chesapeake Bay!

Despite getting a bit of a late start yesterday due to a certain someone leaving her purse in the restaurant the night before (wince) - we decided to get out of Cape May and make our way up the Delaware Bay.  Being that we knew little to nothing about the Bay and the tides - and all I'd read were horror stories - I was a little nervous that we'd be "fighting" against the tide and navigating shoals at night since we left 3 hours later than planned.  Even the marina woman gave us a weary eye and said, "If you's don't like what ya see out there, come on back in...".  But Scott made the (very good) call and out we went.

I have no idea how it worked out like it did, but somehow we managed to ride that flooding tide all the way up the bay!  The wind was on the nose so we were motoring, but nearly the entire time we were going over 7 knots.  It wasn't nearly as bad as everyone said it would be* and this notoriously nasty bay was FLAT.  We are seriously getting spoiled by luck and good conditions.

Today we are bound for the Sailing Capitol of the US - Annapolis!  So excited.
Calm and flat in the C&D Canal

This was insane - we saw some crazy migration of TENS OF THOUSANDS, maybe even millions
of these little birds.  To quote Scott, "Holy crap, this is like some National Geographic thing!"
There was a constant stream of these birds for at least 20 minutes.  Nuts.

Bridges are pretty, but scary when you are a sailboat.


Brittany (& Scott)

* We are slowly (or quickly?) learning that pretty much any time people "warn" us of things - it's never as bad as they say it's going to be.  If we heeded every warning given to us - we'd still be in NYC.  Heck, we'd still be in Chicago!


    If there is a poem that sums up my view of the World, it is this one.  So I thought I'd share:
    Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.  If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 
    Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. 
    Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. 
    Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. 
    You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 
    Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy. 
    Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

"Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should." 

We have this quote framed in our boat.

Thank you to Peggy Mooney for telling me of this poem, and to Scott for finding it for me.

Brittany (& Scott)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Images from Cape May

A "Painted Lady"
Downtown Cape May

Do you see the world through rose-colored glasses?

Sunset on the Delaware Bay

A few brave surfers in search of the endless summer
Brittany (& Scott)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Day in Cape May

We are here in the beautiful town of Cape May, NJ and just enjoying a lazy day of down time*.

This morning, we donned our running shoes and did an 8 mile loop around this little place.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me (again, we were running) but we ran along the beautiful, seemingly endless stretch of beach accompanied by the crashing surf.  This is most definitely a 'seaside' town.  The streets have names like "Ocean Boulevard" and "Beach Street" and though we are here during the 'off season' one can just imagine the streets lined with vendors and the beach bustling with water lovers of every age. The shore is lined with quaint beachy hotels with balconies and pools and the streets are lined with darling Victorian "painted lady" gingerbread-style houses in pastel-colored hues.  The town center is cobblestone-lined and crafty boutiques and surf shops are on every corner.

We don't have bikes (yet - Scott is working on that) so running is by far the most efficient way to see a new place.  We might not be running our 7.5 minute miles like we used to, but a nice jog is a great way to explore a new town.

Brittany (& Scott)

*We need to leave here when tide is flooding (as opposed to ebbing) which it was doing at 4:30am this morning.  We get up early, but not that early.  So we'll leave tomorrow when the tide floods at 6:30am, which is a much more reasonable hour...apparently if you try to fight the tide, you will lose.  So we'll just - quite literally - "go with the flow" tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Today's Highlight? Dolphins!

Scott was the first to spot them...and where there is one, there are many.

They say dolphins playing in your wake on your way out to sea is good luck.  Granted, we weren't "on our way out to sea" so to speak, and they weren't exactly "playing in our wake"...but they definitely came by to check out our boat.

There were probably about 8 of them total.  Just gorgeous.

I don't think there is another creature in the world that evokes the same wonderment and child-like excitement like a dolphin.  They are just so beautiful and so...playful.  I will never ever be sick of seeing these beauties.  They will always make me jump up, giddy with excitement, and run to the bow.  

These guys swam around together and moved like a single unit, flowing as effortlessly as water as they weaved in and out of each other - almost like a ball rolling in the Ocean.  They were concentrating on something...whether they were schooling fish together for dinner or just playing a game, we glided past them and left them in our wake.

This was the vibe of the Ocean today.
Yeah.  We could really get used to this.


Brittany (& Scott)
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