2021 Sailing Season… We’re Back!

Woohoo! Who else is excited to see 2021?

2020 was an odd and difficult year for many of us. While we are sure to have gotten off rather lightly, we still experienced some hardship. I struggled to find inspiration to write after we left the Bahamas. We have all been challenged to learn how to navigate the new normal and while we aren’t especially social people, we were challenged none the less.

Once we came back to the states and travelling up the East Coast, we got a feel for how social distancing worked and how to navigate it. We then secured Voyager for the hurricane season in New Bern North Carolina and drove back to South Dakota. The Hot Springs, SD hospital where Mike had worked in 2019 had been calling to see if he would come back, since March. So, he let them know he was finally on his way back and would be available shortly. The further west we drove, the more relaxed the restrictions seemed to be. I was overwhelmed when I stopped for ice in Rapid City as we were arriving home and I had to go to three locations to find it. Every store was packed and there were very few masks. Once home, we pretty much stayed there. There were a few trips to get groceries, and we had our small “bubble” of people. Our kids live on the same property. My parents have been pretty isolated, my brothers family, as well, so we felt comfortable with them. Lynn and the boys are very cautious because she is a solo provider at her vet clinic. These were the people we spent the summer with. We hiked, rode mt bikes, went canoeing, kayaking, had campfires and threw axes in the yard. I will never complain about the family time we had an abundance of this year!

In August our niece Helena went to New Bern with us and we sailed out to Ocracoke, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, for a week. This is where Blackbird’s pirate ship sank. This was a great time! There are golf carts to rent and historical places to visit. Pamlico Sound is a fantastic place to sail. Matthew and Helena played and explored on their own, as well. We tried all the ice cream and several places to eat. We would recommend a visit to Ocracoke to anyone, it was splendid!

As I mentioned earlier, Mike went right back to work. We were also still remodeling our barndominium. Matthew and I volunteered with Meals on Wheels and had a wonderful time delivering meals in Sturgis. So, time at home was full. I went back to work as well, in September. I am now recruiting for Lux Travel Nurse and took an 8 week assignment at Bennett County Hospital in Martin, SD. I hadn’t worked in a hospital setting in a few years and while initially nervous, found my footing and enjoyed the heck out of it. This is my favorite kind of nursing- small hospital- frontier medicine setting- never knowing what is coming in and relying on your skill and experience to get the job done. This facility has some amazing providers, ancillary and nursing staff. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with them again.

After spending Christmas at home and wrapping up our jobs, we headed back to Voyager December 26th. We stopped in Joplin, Missouri the first night and had a brief window visit with my Mamaw the next morning. I hope by the time we head back, we can have a real visit with hugs! Mike has received his first dose of covid vaccine and she will receive hers soon. Matthew actually got the virus in November and I hope to receive the vaccine soon, as well. I pray this will enable the visit to happen!

Right- so back to Voyager. The good and sturdy ship was mostly ready for us when we arrived. The sails needed to be put up, as well as the bimini, solar panels and cockpit enclosure. Organization of the cabin seemed a little more of a challenge, for some reason and took a little longer than expected. We arrived in New Bern at 0600 Monday the 28th. And despite what needed done, we were able to throw off the dock lines and headed out of the marina the evening of the 31st. We spent the first night on anchor just the other side of the bridge in New Bern. This was New Years Eve and we managed to stay up til midnight playing games and laughing together. Boy, were we happy to see 2021 in!

We have since made our way to Wrightsville Beach, NC. We anchored in the northern end of Adams Creek, then 2 nights in Moorehead City. Today, after the rain ends, we plan to go to shore for the first time in 5 days. We spent yesterday offshore, coming in just in time for the glorious sunset. We are very near the beach, now, so will take the dogs, and ourselves, for a good long walk. Matthew and I have been craving Chick fil-A, so we may order door dash.

We did have a change in crew. Our sweet boy, Falcon passed away in October from a gastric volvulus. He died suddenly despite Lynn spending hours trying to save him. We have been heartbroken as he left a huge 100# hole in our lives. In November Mike got us a German Shorthair Pointer puppy who Matthew named King Adora. Mike calls him Freckles, so now, he needs to grow into a rather large name, King Freckles Adora! He is super sweet and smart and we are loving his company. King is adjusting to the boat remarkable well and we have gotten creative in how to exercise a puppy on a 42 foot boat. He is obsessed with balls and playing fetch and doesn’t care how short the distance is we have to throw the ball, he will do it 100 times. He has also found the highest place to sit and overlook his kingdom and does this several times daily.

Katniss is still with us and acts much older than her 8 years. She has self sabotaged, getting into things she shouldn’t, had a scary bout with pancreatitis this fall, hunted hard and is now looking forward to several months of R&R.

I think that brings everyone up to date on the important stuff. We don’t have definite plans for this season. We have toyed with staying in Florida through March, then heading back to SD until July. I have wanted to sail out to the Dry Tortugas and Ft Jefferson for a long time and we could do that. We could then sail up to Maine for the end of summer and early fall. Right now, this is what we are leaning towards. Plans are written in the sand and change with the tide, however. As always, we are at Gods mercy and will go where and when he directs.

I will try to be better at the blog. Inspiration was lacking for the last several months and I’m now feeling it, again. If you have the inclination to pray for us, please do. The virus is still very much out there and will affect all our choices. As lockdowns and restrictions continue to happen we want to remain safe, keep others safe, not add to the burden of the healthcare system and be compliant. We most likely won’t be leaving the country as a result. As always, the future is unknown.