Salty, sandy, sentimental Jessie

May 2015

I rolled a book, a Toña, and a straw into a small dry bag and clipped it to the center of our paddle board. I propelled myself on the cerulean sea toward an expanse of sand only visible at low-tide, where a handful of tourists had beached themselves on the sand. The sun was draped with shear clouds that lessened its intensity, making the heat and luster of the afternoon bearable; almost comfortable, in fact. I was craving a bit of alone time, and paddle boarding ashore was just the ticket.#Roca Bajo_iSUP relaxationI detached the fin from my iSUP and dragged it into the drying sand. My inflatable raft became my personal beach bench. I abandoned my few belongings and wandered along the waters’ edge, admiring the pebbles strewn about by the retreated tide. Millennia of twice daily shifts had massaged the stones into marbles, like the ones landlubbers place in the bottoms of large fish tanks. I gathered up four, curious to see how their colors might change if given a few minutes for their salty bath to evaporate.

An ant scurried on my empty green dry bag. I shook it off. Two lemon-winged butterflies tumbled and twirled across the beach, winding and whirling toward the sky as they neared the lush, tropical forest that encircles the beach. My beer was no longer cold, but the texture of the carbonation in the back of my throat felt refreshing nonetheless. I stared out at my boat; our boat. Our home. A lone vessel tucked lazily into a cozy bay. The tide was beginning to flood, and barely more than 15 feet flowed between The Red Thread’s hull and the bottom of the sea. There are times when this all feels utterly unreal. As if I am existing somewhere outside my body; a sense of depersonalization in the magic of this experience.#Roca Bajo Cove_Red Thread on the hook


Tonight the sky looks as if two suns are being laid to rest. Upon the horizon, two spectacular sunsets hurl buckets of paint across the Pacific. A lustful blood orange washes the surface of the sea, while a sky of butter and robin-egg blue casts gold shimmers playfully atop the water. The colors melt seamlessly into in another, as romantic ripples add dimensionality to the hues. The seductive nature of the sea is not to be denied.


#Roca Bajo_Jessie sunset paddleboarding2Preparing to leave home to go home
I’ve counted down each night that remains before we tuck our home into a marina for a semi-permanent stay…30, 20, 10, 5…2. Just 2 remain. We will tie her securely to a concrete dock here in Quepos, at a well-respected marina. Water will lap around her instead of her dancing through the surf. This boat has a soul; I have really come to believe it. A part of me feels as if we are somehow robbing her of what she longs for most: company to seek the sea. Like the horse who longs for loving riders to free her from the corral and allow her to run spirited toward the unknowns of the horizon, does The Red Thread yearn for us to keep her lines untied? I cannot imagine contemplating the loneliness of a car in a garage, but I find myself wondering how The Red Thread will feel when we are no longer her companions here.

I recognize that there is some aspect of this talk that sounds a bit mad. Maybe more than a bit. I know our boat does not bleed when her hull is nicked. Nonetheless, the ways in which our vessel has been imbued with life and with meaning are very, very real. When she is wounded, we ache. Sometimes we feel disappointed by our own lack of knowledge or by our choices as her crew. During those times, she sometimes becomes a scapegoat for our frustration with ourselves. When I fear she will be lonely without us, I am really worrying about how far away from home we will feel without her.Ballena beach_Neil & Jessie2I have always been a bit superstitious and infused meaning in idols. A ring that spoke to me in India (whatever that means). The sense that taking pieces of my grandmother’s jewelry around the world means her spirit travels with me. The silver spoon with rosebuds molded into the handle that personifies my mother’s loving power and lifts my spirit when I put it to my mouth.#Roca Bajo_Jessie sunset paddleboarding3aThe Red Thread symbolizes adventure, growth, and love. Neil and I had only been dating nine months when we pulled together every penny of savings either of us had and sold belongings to put a down payment on her. She has become a sort of mascot for our life together. Aboard her, we’ve reveled in our greatest joys, grieved painful losses, and simmered after our most difficult arguments. We have overcome our greatest challenges and under sail, and she is the place where our love has grown the most. She is our home, and leaving her is going to be difficult.

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16 thoughts on “Salty, sandy, sentimental Jessie

    • Having a “nanny” for her in Quepos made an immense difference in terms of our nerves. We knew she was taken care of and that we’d be notified at the slightest of concerns. What a relief. The greater relief…that we arrived back to her a few weeks ago. ~Jessie

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  1. I seriously almost teared up a little. I don’t know why, but I feel what you feel, whether it is for you and your connection to your boat, or for me and the connection I know I will have with my soon-to-be boat. Nontheless, as writers all we want is for others to FEEL something when they read what we wrote, and I certainly did. Any you look like a badass, strong and fit woman by the way!

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    • All. of. the. above. I’ve never felt stronger, Emily, than when we’re afloat. This life is the healthiest, most invigorating way of living I’ve ever experienced. Thank you for continuing to sail with us, Em! ~Jessie

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  2. Your comment regarding how you feel about your boat and how, more importantly, your boat feels about you is spot on. It is the connection that comes from the fiberglass, wood, stainless and canvas when it comes to life as you set foot on her decks. She welcomes you warmly and if you behave, she will start up and take you out on the waters. She will protect you and make you feel safe and in harmony with the waters She will set the anchor promptly and sway on the chain or rode and hold you at night. But don’t mess with her, because as you know, there are so many ways she can bite you in the ass.
    I know your reunion with S/V Red Thread will be joyous and she will warmly welcome you. Safe trip.

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  3. It’s so crazy how we personify our boats, right? But Seattle will welcome you home and your boat will have a nice rest.. Think of her as hibernating, reserving her strength for when you both return. Remember that ‘thread’. It stretches to Seattle and back.. She’ll be there.

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    • Seattle most certainly did welcome us home…and so, too, did The Red Thread on January 4th. We’re back at it! We’re looking forward to continuing to follow you as you set off as well (as internet permits, of course!). Happy countdown for s/v Galapagos! PS. We’ll be in Galapagos in a matter of weeks… ~Jessie

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  4. It’s amazing how a boat can become an integral part of your family. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to be parted from Independence! I hope you can re-stock the cruising kitty and get back to her soon.

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  5. Pingback: Voyage stats: Our months FOUR thru EIGHT | s/v The Red Thread

  6. Pingback: Voyage stats: Months FOUR thru EIGHT | s/v The Red Thread

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