The Mystic river was blanketed with fog when we poked our heads into the cockpit this morning. Totem is anchored roughly between Masonâs Island and Noank: the shoreline is only about six boat-lengths away, but impossible to see. We had to get a compass direction to know which way to point the dinghy to go ashore. Lack of visibility mixed with sound insulation gave the strange feeling of being adrift while moored in our little floating home.
That sense of being out of step with our environment follows us during these first weeks back in the US. Weâre happy to be here, just feeling a little unmoored. Focusing on the reason weâre backâtime with familyâhelps. Early morning walks with my sister-in-law and her dogs…a new ritual. âCousin campâ in Boston this last week, visiting my brother and his family (the kidsâ cousin Lana has doubled in age since they last saw her in 2013). Itâs nearly three years since the kids have seen their grandparents, too, who joined us in Boston for a mini-Fravel-reunion.
When we feel our Differentness a little too keenly, it helps to focus on whatâs ahead instead. What’s ahead breaks down into three stages: 1) this summer in New England 2) fall in the Chesapeake and working south, then 3) winter in the Caribbean.
Next week, weâll head up to Narragansett Bay to visit with friends, old and new. Then itâs Buzzardâs Bay for a few days: TotemÂ crew will speak as part of Falmouth Academyâs community series on July 18th (details on their website). From there weâll sail to Nantucket before making our way back to the Mystic river, and settling back off Noank for the remainder of the summer.Â PlanningÂ an “open boat” for the second weekend– August 13-14–for whoever wants to come by. Just let us know.
Our southbound track begins in early September. I canât wait to come down the East River into New York City – I’ve dreamed about looking up at the buildings of Manhattan from the deck of Totem! Weâd like to spend a week there before coast-hopping our way to the Chesapeake. Destination: the SSCA gam in Camp Letts, Maryland, which starts September 29. The US Boat Show follows a few days later in Annapolis (Iâll be with Voyaging with Kids publisher, Lin Pardey, in her booth). Niall tells us he needs at LEAST a week in DC to see the museums, and I bet heâd use more time if he had it, so we hope to linger in the Chesapeake for a solid month at least. There are things to do, people to meet up with, places to visit.
The problem with that, of course, is it will eventually get cold. You know what we miss already? That weâll miss even more by then? Water this blue, and warm as a bath. So thereâs really no question about the fact weâll be heading back to the Caribbean for theÂ winter.
Plans are fuzzier once we point south of the Chesapeake,Â late-Octoberish. There are myriad ways to get tot he Caribbean: it isnât the straight up march south that leftÂ coast cruisers do to Mexico. Where will we land first? And how will we route after we get there? The only thing we KNOW at this point is that we want toÂ spend a chunk of time in Cuba. For the rest, we have some decisions to make:
- Where to leave from the US? Carolinas, Georgiaâ¦ or all the way to Florida?
- How to route through Cuba? (Preference on board: the more rural south coast)
- What’s the goal destination at the end of the season?Â We need to take this and prevailing conditions into account for a big-picture route.Â (Is it time for the Panama canal? Can we save enough $$ to do some work on Totem in Trinidad or Grenada? Another summer in New England, via Bermuda and the Americaâs Cup? CHOICES!).
I’m all for opinions, so drop a comment about places we shouldn’t ‘miss. There’s no rush to figure it out:Â a routeÂ will unfold, probably slowly. And meanwhile, we pick our way through the fog.