Saturday, August 31, 2019

From Sea to Sky

This morning at 6:30am I walked Matt to the St. Malo ferry terminal from our AirBnB.

He was going back to Jersey on the ferry and I was going to be making my way to Lausanne, Switzerland, by train in a couple of hours.

After spending literally every waking hour together for the last 3 months, we will be apart for the next 2 weeks.

Oh, how I will miss him and the kids! 14 years and I still love him like that fateful day when we met. Actually, more. Yes, definitely more. 💕

I caught the train from St. Malo to Rennes and then to Paris Montparnasse. I love train travel, it is so soothing and so romantic.

I calculated we were going over 300 km per hour. That's 160 nautical miles per hour! Imagine if our boat moved that fast! Hah!

As the train pulled out of Gare de Lyon in Paris, I was transfixed out the window for the next 3 hours as the beautiful City of Lights and all its stunning buildings and churches turned to farmland, villages, ravines and rivers. I even saw a few canal boats which made me smile. I'd love to give those a go one day!

As the sun set behind the trees, there were rolling hills that appeared. Just a couple at first, then a few more. They kept getting bigger and more pointed. 

Suddenly these hills were no longer cute grassy hills dotted between farms and homes. They were now full on mountains, jagged, sharp and monumental. And the homes were now the ones dotted between them.

Show anyone a mighty mountain and ask them what they feel. Does it take your breath away? How does it move you? Nobody will say it doesn't touch them in some way. You can't help it, mountains stir the soul.

I arrived in Lausanne and made my way to the hotel where Dad was waiting for me.

He is walking the Via Francigena from Lausanne to Rome. I am doing the first 150 km with him. My sister will finish the last 150 km with him.

This walk is in memory of Mom. We are raising funds for the organization that she used to volunteer for in Ottawa, Let's Talk Science.

The last time Dad and I traveled in Europe together was after my year abroad in Togo and Ghana. 

He met me in Paris and we spent some time playing  tourist while I was getting a big dose of reculture shock. That was 18 years ago!

Tonight we are beginning another father-daughter adventure, under different circumstances. This time it took more planning, mainly because there are more factors and people to consider. 

So far the journey here has been lovely, unfolding in the way I had anticipated.

We have tomorrow to get ready and go over the maps.

We start our walk on September 2nd.

In a matter of days, I have gone from sea to sky. 

From blue, turquoise, shimmering water to towering beasts of immense magnitude on land.

Our world is so beautiful. 

How lucky am I to share the oceans and mountains with the people I love?

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Isles of Shoals magic

August 20 - 22, 2019.

Isles of Shoals visit take two.

Breakfast. Schoolwork. Showers. 

Cross fingers and toes and hope the engine starts.

Ignition on. Alternator on. Press button. Inhale. Hear the purr of the engine. See the water being spurted out from the back. Exhale.

Yessss. Off to the Isles of Shoals we go!

With very little wind, we motored the entire way which is only 1 hour or so. We didn't care, we were on our way again!

We picked up a PYC (Portsmouth Yacht Club) mooring ball, which we were given permission to use, lowered the dinghy down to go to shore and went exploring.

What an absolutely delightful place the Isles of Shoals are. It's so close to the mainland and yet feels miles away.

On Star Island there is a hotel-type building which houses residents on weekly 'conferences'.

I was intrigued by these conferences and what it entailed so asked a participant.

Basically, during the summer months, people come from all over North America to enjoy the camaraderie of one another, participate in various activities like kayaking and art, all on this idyllic island setting.

She explained that these conferences provide an opportunity for those who loved camp as a child to be able to relive their most fond memories. And for those who never had a chance to do camp, this was the perfect place to try it.

What a great idea, camp for adults and families! They even had Camp S'mores flavoured ice cream!

There were multi generations here and families that have been coming for years. Kids grow up here and then as teens or young adults, volunteer to cook in the kitchen and run the various camp activities.

I was blown away by how HAPPY everybody was. Genuinely happy. So much laughter, singing, music making and just pure joy.

In a way I felt like we were intruding on some special secret. But then we got talking to some of the participants and we couldn't help but join them in their happiness and carefree days.

We enjoyed 3 relaxing days here where we went kayaking, swimming, played board games, volleyball and of course did our usual routine of schoolwork and the odd boat job.

If I thought being at Portsmouth Yacht club for the past week was relaxing, being on a mooring at Isles of Shoals was heaven!

All good things must come to an end though. Tomorrow we are off to Newburyport to grab our reserved mooring ball where we will leave ANJULIA SUE for several weeks.

Goodbye Isles of Shoals, thank you for sharing your magic with us.

Aila and I braved the chilly waters and swam
off the boat several times. So refreshing! 

Isles of Shoals provide absolutely stunning sunsets.

Looking at Star Island from our boat.

Every minute the sky changes a different shade of orange and yellow. Incredible.

Best washing up view, hands down!

Washing up the dinner dishes and chattering hysterically about something.

Kayaking to Smuttynose Island.

In my happy place, wild swimming! 

New board game: Saboteur. Thanks Garf!!