Every fair tide, no matter what the hour or the temperature or the rainfall, I awoke early to begin my routine. When I heard the sound of my alarm clock, before hopping out of my bunk, I first checked the temperature. After my eyes adjusted to the darkness I would take a deep breath in then slowly exhale. The sight of my breath told me it would be another chilly northeast day. Even before getting out of my sleeping bag I dressed in many layers. Once awake I made hot cocoa then I did an engine check and reviewed the route for the day.
Each step of my routine was essential to a successful day. The layers of clothing kept me comfortable and dry in the worst weather and spray. The hot cocoa awakened me, hydrated me, and warmed me. The engine check kept Daphne running smoothly and reviewing the charts kept me from getting lost in the fog.
When it was time to get underway I began the often long and sweaty process of hauling back on the heavy Bruce anchor that was connected to the 100ft of even heavier chain. But it wasn’t the weight of the anchor or chain I was pulling against. It was the boat and the wind and water current that put an opposing force on Daphne. I wasn’t hauling in the anchor. I was hauling in the boat! This was my daily routine. I did it because I wanted to. Not because I was mentally ill.
I like the challenges of boat life. I like the rain whipping across my face, seeing my breath in the moonlight as I peer out of my sleeping bag, and being sweaty and sore when I finally felt trustworthy Bruce break free from the seafloor as I turned and sprinted to take control of the helm before Daphne drifted to close to the rocky shoreline. I like that morning routine and I did it over and over again.