Posted by Julie
Oyster Bay, USVI, 3 Mile Harbor, Watch Hill, etc.
March – June 2020
Let me be direct. The main purpose of this blog is to ensure we can remember the details of our life afloat. As time passes, I find my once almost eidetic memory is no longer as clear as one might wish. It becomes necessary to write down anything I choose to reliably remember. Therefore, I have to go back to the beginning. Well, an arbitrarily chosen beginning, but you have to start somewhere. The beginning is also a bit further in the past than I planned, but as I was trying to prepare for early retirement and wrap up the last of what I thought was a very important career, writing a blog sounded more like a chore and less like fun. Time has been passing so quickly!
I don’t want to start with COVID, even though that’s when everything changed, so how about the last fun thing before Covid. In March, Jeff and I had a wonderful trip to St John, where our friend Jeremy, who lives there and is a dive instructor, showed us the island. Thirty years after missing my cert dive in favor of attending the Nobel Prize ceremony, I finally got certified to scuba dive. Back in 1993, I was supposed to do my cert dive in a quarry in Pennsylvania, and I was terrified. It was a million times better in the Virgin Islands! We celebrated both my certification and my birthday that week.
Our last plane flight before COVID was back to JFK on March 9th. The airport felt spooky and deserted. We didn’t have masks, but about half the dozen people we saw did, and I remember turning my face away from a guy that turned toward me to yell at his kid. By the end of the week, the world was in chaos and work had gone fully remote. Many people were unable to work, but I was working more hours than ever. We were in crisis mode.
In April, much to our surprise, we closed on the sale of our house. We had listed it in the last week of February, and were sure COVID would make the sale fall through. Instead, it may have put the buyers in more of a hurry. Anyway, on April 21st, we became homeless. YAY! The stressful part was our new home, Renegade, was still on the hard in Annapolis, getting work finished up from the winter. The state of Maryland shut down the boating industry. We had nowhere to go, and no timeline as to when our home might float again.
Luckily, our cousins on Jeff’s side, the awesome Peter and Lily, and there lovely daughter Abby, took us in. It was an amazingly cool situation, living on a farm that Taylor’s had been cultivating since 1720. In late April when we arrived, it still looked and felt like winter. During the time we stayed there, we saw the farm come alive in spring. The asparagus was particularly welcome. April rains turned into May flowers. Life was perfect.
The only sad part was our little hero Max. He was really starting to slow down quickly with his liver cancer obviously advancing. He relished his last days thoroughly though, paling around with Ivy, the Ultimate Farm Dog. She helped him bring down a muskrat. When he came back with his nose covered in blood, I could tell he was so proud and thinking “Best day ever, Mom!”. Claire was with us there for several weeks on a break from VT, and she was able to say goodbye, and paint a very appropriate gravestone for “our little Mooster”.
Ok, I better wrap this up and get to the boat! In June, we went back and forth from the farm to Annapolis, launching, and then setting up the boat, getting all our stuff stored. We cleaned out the storage unit, and we cleaned out our side of Peter and Lily’s house, and each weekend after a new car load of stuff, I’d say, that’s it, she’s full. But the following weekend she’d swallow yet another car load.
On Thursday, June 25th, our life on board officially began. Peter and Abby joined Jeff and I for the sail up to Oyster Bay. We sailed straight through to Sandy Hook, where we got a few hours sleep while waiting for the tide to turn for going up the East River. The East river transit was amazing as always, being swept along Manhattan on the current, almost as fast as the cars are driving on the FDR.
Peter is a great sailor, and Abby added to our fun. It was her first ocean sailing experience, so her got a bit queasy of the coast of New Jersey, but persevered. She is also a fabulous cook (she learned from her mom and grandma, a long tradition of great cooking and especially baking), and made us some yummy gourmet grilled cheesesJ
We had a great summer in Oyster Bay on our usual mooring at Sagamore Yacht Club. Lots of great sails, and a lucky cruise with friends out to 3 Mile Harbor to miss the tropical storm in July. Also, a week on a mooring in Watch Hill, visiting Haversham everyday with, Joe, Marietta, Becky, Annie, Wayne, and kids. Sammy came up with Lilo too. Jessie taught her how to ask for ice cream at the take out window. A great visit was had by all.