My First Solo Sail (part three)

Teresa Carey Words 19 Comments

It’s been a week since my last post. The time between posts is getting longer and longer. I was warned when I started my blog that this would happen. Last week I went to a job fair, looking for coastal positions…ideally teaching at a private school. No luck….yet. And I wonder how I ever got myself into this mess.

Sometimes I feel a sense of homesickness. Yesterday I was compelled to exclaim, “I want to go home,” over and over. But where is home? Surely its aboard Daphne with Dory. No, I think “home” in this circumstance is a place of security. Security in finances, friends, and safety. Aboard Daphne it is not like that. Still new to this area, friends are few. Still new to this life, money is tight. Still new to my boat, safety is a state of mind…the wind kicks up and I lose it.

But…and I know I keep saying this…I am hopeful.

Many folks wrote to me asking how the rest of my first solo sail went. Here it is:

I awoke at 0300 as planned, weighed anchor, and ventured out into the darkness and fog. Ahead I could hear a bell. To starboard, I could see a blinking red light piercing the fog. Soon, I would see the green buoy ahead, cross the bay and continue on through the cut. I kept scanning all around the boat, only a bit nervous that the buoy would materialze out of the fog just seconds before my boat crashed into it.

After a sensible attempt, I turned around and went back to my anchorage to sleep another few hours. Things would be easier when the sun was up. And they were! With every degree that the sun rose into the sky, a little more fog burned away removing the blanket that blinded me for the past few days. I began to see things again…boats, land, clouds. I could see as far as the horizon! It only took a second to recognize that the bell, lighted buoy and green buoy weren’t in the same location as the chart indicated. In fact, the green buoy I searched for through the fog, the one I thought would jump out of nowhere in attack, didn’t even exist!

The rest of the sail was uneventful. No seasickness, no fog, no rough weather. The wind picked up to a steady breeze coming directly across my beam. I set sail and headed on. When I arrived at the cut, I lowered my sails and motored through. I enjoyed watching the folks on shore biking, jogging, fishing, and waving at me. The sky was clear my entire day’s sail…with the excpetion of the last half hour.

Just as I was entering the bay the wind kicked up and the fog rolled in. There was little to mark my way, many boats, and a large ferry trafficking the tiny bay I was blindly sailing into. Looking for the breakwater that marked the harbor where I would moor I continuously scanned my surroundings , listening for the ferry, and hoping to have a humdrum arrival. It wasn’t long before the breakwater began to materialize and I whooped into the wind with gladness. Glad to have arrived, glad to be safe, and glad that I will soon get to do it all again.

Read the rest: My First Solo Sail Part OneMy First Solo Sail Part Two

Comments 19

  1. Pingback: My First Solo Sail (part two)

  2. Pingback: My First Solo Sail (part one)

  3. laura

    Hang in there, things have a way of working out. Jobwise, have you ever waitressed? Besides going home with money in your pocket at the end of each shift, it also helps you to meet people in your community. And take it from me, your customers would be thrilled to find that their waitress lives on a boat (and it might even result in bigger tips!).

  4. Patric

    Just curious as to where your to and from where you sailed from. As for the job search, I’m sure you will do fine, as you have so much going for you. As for going home, home is where your hat is to. One thing I always did when feeling all alone was go where some people are and watch them. Wishing you all the best.

  5. Bruce

    Hey Teresa,
    Keep your chin up! You are pushing the envelope that’s for sure. But the very act of moving aboard the boat has set a path that can never be truly changed. You have a lot of courage it is obvious.

    I live on a boat too. I started my adventure with a spouse, but she hightailed it back to Kansas! Ouch! I know the pain of wondering what you got yourself into. But I also know I had to do what I was doing.

    Take care. Stay warm!

  6. Gina Malone

    T! I’m so sorry you’re feeling “homesick.” We are thinking about you here on dry land. Just know that you are doing heroic things that I admire a great deal. Love you…G

  7. John


    You are in New England, right? It’s cold there! All the other cruisers have sailed south for the winter. No wonder you’re lonely.

    Why not sail some place warm? You need to catch up with your new community. They’re all wearing bikinis and wondering where you are!

    Just an idea 🙂

    – John

  8. Rosie

    Well, I hope you’re getting some good views of the comet on your last chance this millennium! Been watching it up here in Boston for the last month, but poor ol’ ben isn’t interested! Clear skies tonight!

  9. Post

    @ John and Bruce,
    I agree! I’m now trying to work and save some $$ so that I can buy some time to make that sail and find a job when I arrive!

  10. Mark Hassinger

    Teresa,Hang in there!winter is over soon, just seriously think about find some summer seasonal work, beef up the cruising kitty. and go south after hurricane season!staying as a liveaboard here in New England is sheer Madness,its almost spring!, are you going to join Bcc Elizabeth and W28 GYPSY, this June for a rendevousz?

  11. Post

    @ Mark
    I hope to be working as much as possible this spring. But I would love to go to the gathering of sailors too! I went to one last summer and loved it!

  12. BdaRocks

    Have you thought about looking for a teaching job in Bermuda? There’s a need here. And we hardly ever have fog. 😉

  13. Katie

    You are one of our inspirations for moving aboard our boat. Hang in there. Come on down to Charleston. We are at the Charleston City Marina. I’ll make you a nice dinner and introduce you to all the other live aboards here.
    Stay safe and keep warm.
    Katie & Mike + Pequat, Arwin, and Sparkle

  14. Richard

    Keep in there!!!

    I plan on buying a small yacht next year and doing a similar thing.

    I know exactly the feeling and doubts you described as I gave up everything and lived and travelled in a small camper van for a year. Everything you describe I felt exactly the same, at the start. It goes away – trust me, it just takes a little effort to ignore that nagging voice and remind yourself that you are free!

    The hardest thing is trying to shake the socially engrained mentality that you must have a house and ‘stuff’ to be normal or to be secure. Well that’s rubbish!

    It’s very hard to change the way society has enforced these ‘rules’ and ‘norms’ but in time and with a deep breath now and again you must try to see these feeling for what they are, other peoples rules. Don’t allow them to be your rules.

    Remember the people who expect everyone else to live by their ‘norms’ are the same people who go to work 9 – 5 every day and have the dullest lives imaginable. That’s not living thats a life sentence to people who decide to take charge of their own lives.

    Day by day you will much better and more convident of your choice. You don’t want get to 75 and realise that your life has been a blur of 9-5 work. So have confidence in yourself and your decision you have done the hard part by making the choice. You have the guts to make this work!!!

    Good luck!!!

  15. Dave McN

    Well whatayou know. looks like you’re making lotsa new friends. Sometimes you just dont know who your friends are til you need one. Good luck and keep your options open.

  16. Mr. Jewel Johnson

    Young Lady,

    My hat is off to you.

    I’m one of those who worked for many years and thought that it was the thing to do. Then I retired and found myself setting on the porch waiting to die. At the tender age of 57 I decided this was not the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life, so I bought a motor home and took off for parts unknown. Somewhere along the way I decided the motorhome life was not free enough. I needed to continue living, not dieing. I found a boat that was just big enough for me and my dog, “Harley” and traded even. Harley and I sailed that boat many miles in the Gulf of Mexico and the adjacent inland waterways. But on one of my trips to visit family Harley died and left me alone.

    I figured that sooner or later I would find another companinon and sure enough I did. Her name is Irene. We have been married for 6 years this coming December.

    At first Irene was totally against cruising, she just went along with me because she thought that was what wives do. Until the day we were crossing from Tarpon Springs to Panama City Florida. About half-way across we passed a Ridely turtle suning itself. She got so excited I thought she was going to jump in and introduce herself.

    But 3 years ago she came down with cancer. Now we are land locked until her Dr. says other wise. We traded our boat for another motorhome but still are dreaming about the open sea and far horizons. Neither of us had ever felt so free and alive as when we were out there totally dependent upon ourselves. Now that the cancer is under control she is counting the days until we can resume our cruising life.

    Recently she has been looking at charts and guides for the NW Caribbean. She wants to visit Roatan, Isla Mujeures(sp), The Rio Dulce and I don’t know where else, her list is as long as my arm. Maybe soon, if GOD is willing and with her doctors approval, We will lift anchor and set sail for the next great adventure.

    Even though I am writing about our own adventures, we really mean this for you. Don’t give up your little ship, it is a magic carpet to Never Never Land and it will make a better person of you.

    There is one thing I have noticed in our time afloat, Real sailors are very conservative. Imagine that!

    See you out there, somewhere, sometime! Freedom and Adventure calls us also.

    JJ & Irene Johnson

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