Day 9: Homeward bound


This morning it is clear as glass on the bay. I’ve never seen so many fishing boats on the water. I am ready to go home but feel sad that our trip is coming to an end. Oh, to sleep in my own bed again!

It was a remarkable time. Our vow renewal ceremony on Rock Island was the highlight of our trip. We were surrounded by strangers that became friends. There was hardly a dry eye at the ceremony. It was so beautiful.

Then something unexpected happened, right after the ceremony we talked about divorce. A happy marriage seemed to remind several of their bad experiences.

Why did our marriage make it and theirs didn’t??

Both guys said that many people warned them not to marry the person they did but they didn’t listen. I could’ve easily been in the same boat. I met Paul when I was 21. Before I met him, I was engaged twice.

The second guy I was engaged to was Mac. We were going to fly to Vegas to get married but it cost too much for the plane tickets. I bought my own engagement ring because Mac had bad credit. Why did I ever like the guy anyway??

In every relationship I was in, I was the pursuer. I liked the chase, the challenge. But being the chaser, I was never sure if the one that I pursued liked me as much as I liked him. Mac was different. He relentlessly pursued me. He made me feel like he couldn’t live without me, that I was special. It was all flattering at first…until he started pushing me around. My story could’ve been different if that plane ticket wasn’t so expensive (and from a lot of prayers from my mother).

I listened to their stories and I felt sad…I felt sad for one couple in particular. The guy said that being married the first time forever ruined marriage for him. His long term live in girlfriend was never married before but would love to marry him. It was her birthday the last day of the trip. I felt bad because I didn’t know soon enough to get her a present. It had to be hard for her to watch my ceremony knowing that she most likely will never be a bride. I wanted to make her birthday special for her but didn’t feel like I could.

The thought crossed my mind that it could be her last birthday. My new friend, although just a couple years older than me, has cancer. She just went through several rounds of Chemo and was scheduled for an 8 hour surgery later in the month. This sailing cruise was her last hurrah before the most difficult part of her grueling fight. She gave her boyfriend a way out but he decided to stay by her side. I am happy for that..

The last day all of these thoughts swirled through my mind.

Once again the sky grew dark. We made it back just in time. We unloaded our things from the boat just as thunder boomed in the distance. A strong storm with hail was coming. The winds picked up. We sat in the clubhouse watching the storm come in worrying about George who was far behind us with engine trouble.

Even though our paths were different, we all made it home safely.

Day 8: Oconto


I don’t want to do this anymore. What choice do I have? I could get a ride home and leave Paul to sail home alone. What kind of wife would that make me? Deserting my husband after the lovely vow renewal ceremony where I promised that I would never leave him.

I feel sick. I feel like I didn’t sleep last night. I spent my night rocking violently back and forth with the waves. My mind took me to strange places. I thought of the song Rock-A-Bye Baby. Rocking…when the wind blows…when the bow breaks…repeating on replay through my mind. Perhaps the song was about a boat after all?

The plan was to get up at 5 and set sail by 6. But it is still really windy this morning so we left later than our anticipated time. I feel seasick. I could tell when the wind changed direction overnight by the movement of the boat.

I struggled to get out of bed this morning which never happens. To tell you the truth, the only thing that got me out of bed was the ping of my phone. I got a Facebook message, but it was just another single guy friend waving at me. What is it with single guys Facebook waving at ungodly hours on a weekend morning?? I thought that something was wrong. Nothing gets me out of bed faster than panic.

We are finally underway. I still feel seasick. I decided to get something to eat. Either I will feel better or I will throw up. So far I’m feeling a little better.

Last night I felt like I was sleeping on an airplane with turbulence. I am hoping it helps prepare me for the 18 hour flight to Asia. The thought terrifies me but I don’t want fear to stop me from doing something I love, traveling.

Now I feel nauseous like the time I was on a scary carnival ride that I wanted to get off of. But that only lasted a few minutes instead of hours. Maybe I need a drink of water? Then I will surely be sick. I will, later. Paul tries to take my mind off of it by talking about the highlights of the trip. He tells me to look at the horizon, but I can’t seem to lift my head.

Get me off of this boat I thought as I started throwing up!!

I fell into a light sleep and awoke feeling a little better.

We have been heeling to the side for hours now. It takes a lot of effort to move. Everything is flying all over the place. As the conditions worsen, Paul asks me to get the life jackets in the compartment behind the toilet. I thought that while I was there, I might as well go. The boat rocked violently at the wrong time and my pee poured down the back of my pants and underwear.

As I struggle to get out of my urine soaked clothes and find new ones, Paul is hollering that he needs me on deck. I’m naked!!!??! I am really starting to feel pissy, figuratively and literally.

Like a marathon nearing the end, I want this to be over. I never want to do this again. But by next weekend I will be ready for another adventure. It is exciting and excruciating in the same breath.

Did I tell you that I am feeling rather sick? I want to fight this feeling but it is taking all of my energy to hold this pen.

Pleeeeeaaassseee get me off of this boat..

There are storms coming.We are hitting 4 ft waves that are spraying against the bow. We are huddled below. I’m getting used to feeling this way now.

The storms part around us but more storms are heading our way. It is scary seeing them pop up while we are in the middle of open water on the bay. We are still motoring against the waves. Paul is outside by himself now while I hide out below. Despite the rough water, I fall asleep. I open my eyes every few minutes to make sure Paul hasn’t gone overboard.

Soon we were nearing the breakwater in Oconto. I prepared myself for storms as I put the fenders out. The motor wasn’t working right and we hit the dock hard.

Once again the storms parted around us. This time we were rewarded with a brilliant rainbow. After 10 hours of sailing, we finally made it to shore.



Day 7: Weathered in

We awoke at 4:30 AM to the sound of thunder and the howling of a great wind. The waves rocked our tied up sailboat like we were on water. I worried about George and Beth who were planning on leaving at 5:30 AM to beat the strong winds, but the wind was already here. They are still having problems with their inboard motor. Their options to get back home in their boat are facing strong winds or waiting a few more days and sailing without wind. George has to get back to work and there aren’t any slips available to stay longer.

Water is starting to trickle into my bed on the berth. The boat just slammed into the dock. The tied down lines are flapping. The waves are crashing against A dock where we are staying. Water is spraying across the dock and trickling down the other side. The boat is creaking. I’ve never been on the boat in so much wind.

Paul is still sleeping. It was a rough night’s sleep. I awoke to the sound of a ping thinking it was a message from George. Instead, it was an early morning Facebook wave from Paul’s step-dad Darryl.

When Paul woke up, he told me that George did not sail out. There is a gale warning on the water. It will be dangerous walking down the wet A dock to get to the shower.

Paul and I walked down A dock hand in hand to get to the shower. Paul was worried that a monster wave would send me over the edge slipping on the wet dock sliding into the water electrocuted by boat current or something of that nature. We made it safely to shore but we really didn’t need that shower since we were already soaking wet. Standing water was pooled on the dock. The tops of my toes were chafed from my wet sandals and a few of my toes were bleeding.

We went shopping this afternoon downtown. I bought a pair of sunglasses that everyone said made me look like Zsa Zsa Gabor. Wait, isn’t she dead?? I also bought an anchor ring to remind me of the vow renewal ceremony. I bought these lovely items at Al Johnson’s. It is the place with the goats on the roof.


When we arrived in Sister Bay, I thought that I was seeing things when I saw goats on the roof nearby. I was told that the goats were eating the grass on the roof of a restaurant named Al Johnson’s. I had to ask if the restaurant was like Red Lobster. Do I pick the goat I want to dine on tonight and they cook it up for me kind of place?? Surprisingly, goat was not a menu item. Oh my! Thankfully sometimes things aren’t the way my wild imagination thinks they could be.

That night when we came back to the boat for the evening we heard something buzzing. We discovered that we were out of water and the pump was running like crazy.

Soon we turned in for a restless night of sleep.


Day 6: Sister Bay


We couldn’t escape the rain.

If we left the marina today, we would’ve been faced with the strong winds and waves of yesterday with the addition of rain. We decided to stay an extra day or two in Sister Bay. Tomorrow we are facing 40 mph winds and a high of 62 with the cold front that came in.

We caught a glimpse of the schooner we saw out on the water a few days before snug in the slip across from ours.

This afternoon our group is taking a cab to the winery.

As for now, I am sitting here in the boat writing while watching the rain fall.

We are doing a load of laundry. Last night after finally being able to shower, we hung out our towels to dry but they never did. My towel smells so musty that after showering today I felt dirty drying off with it. Paul threw everything together in the washer…towels, dark warms, dark colds, and whites. It really threw off my anal laundry sorting fetish, so I had Paul do the wash..

It’s starting to thunder..

The clothes didn’t dry well in the dryer. We couldn’t put them in longer since we were leaving and our friends were waiting for us to use the dryer. So we hung half wet clothes and towels around the boat.

The cab driver drove up from Green Bay which was quite the hike (almost an hour and a half one way). She took us to the Lautenbach Winery where we sampled wine, took the tour, and did the cherry pit spitting contest. Paul and I won the cherry spitting contest based on our gender. Wow, I bet that would look really good on a resume.

I bought a bottle of my favorite wine Summer Breeze with the sailboat on the label.

Then the cab driver picked us up and took us back to the marina.

I decided to wait in the cab by myself with the driver while everyone braved the rain to walk their wine back to their boats. The cab driver proceeded to tell me her whole life story and all of the issues she is having with her teenagers. I really felt rather uncomfortable.

Who shares all of their personal life experiences with a complete stranger?? Oh wait…isn’t that what I do?? Damn…who am I to judge then?

The rain keeps falling..

Day 5: Our 20th anniversary/Death’s Door


Just like that, the weather changed and we had to leave the beauty of Washington Island behind. We had to leave early or risk being stuck on the island in bad weather for several days.

I got up early. I couldn’t sleep. I admit, I am a little nervous about the day to come. We are looking at strong winds and waves as we sail around Death’s Door (the tumultuous waters where the bay and Lake Michigan collide).

We fully suited up for foul weather in our rain coats over our pants and life jackets. The warm weather was gone. I felt like I was weighed down with a bullet proof vest.

It was rough heading out against the waves. There were 2 men on kayaks in the channel. One dressed for the weather with a life jacket and the other in just a swimsuit. It was nerve wracking trying to maneuver our sailboats around them. We were surrounded by shallow water.

Once again it was fun riding the waves at first. But then came the moment of panic. It was a get me out of here because I feel sick like turbulence on a plane.

We put the main sail up as we were sailing around Death’s Door. I was anxious keeping the boat in irons while Paul put up the sail. The waves were knocking the boat around making it hard to keep it in a straight path. We heeled the boat to the side to keep it in irons and it was a scary feeling. Paul tethered himself to the boat in case he fell off. It didn’t rain but we were wet from the waves crashing against the bow.

After we put up the main sail, we saw a trimaran sailboat struggle through the strong winds. They were moving very fast and we weren’t sure if they were in peril. Paul had me grab the binoculars and turn on the emergency radio while he steered closer to them. They gave us a thumbs up. Just a bunch a thrill seekers sailing the high winds through Death’s Door.

It would’ve been a very bad day for our vow renewal ceremony. I’m not sure where we were at the exact time we got married 20 years ago. I think it was close to the time that we were sailing underneath the parasailor. Paul wanted me to put the camera down and focus on getting to shore. I didn’t have time to count down the minutes to our exact anniversary. As we got closer to shore, the wind got stronger and the waves grew higher. We had difficulty earlier getting the sail down.


There were several marinas near the area we were going to. We didn’t know which was the right marina or even how to get into it. We couldn’t see the opening. We were near Captain Tom who knew the way. We turned the boat around to follow him and got hit by the waves. We were soaking wet. It was hard to get to shore with the wind and waves as strong as they were. Things got a little messed up as someone was in Captain Tom’s slip. Finally our feet were on shore!

After relaxing for a minute, we were excited to finally have a hot shower after a couple days without. Everything was going great until I went to put on my makeup to go out for supper. The cover came off of my liquid foundation and it poured everywhere making a big mess. I had to throw out some makeup and my bag as wiping it up smeared it all over the place.

We went out to eat at the Wild Tomato. They had the best pizza, but they also had over an hour wait for a table. So we sat at the outside bar and listened to live music on a Wednesday night. Our group laughed and talked like we’ve known each other forever instead of just meeting. There was absolutely no conflict the whole trip. Everyone got along great.

That evening it cooled off. I could hear the wailing wind and crashing waves from my bed in the berth. It looks like the weather is going to be bad the next couple of days. We might get holed up here for a few more days.



Day 4: Vow Renewal Ceremony


Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.  Ruth 1:16-17


Captain Tom officiated our vow renewal ceremony on the beach. I read my original vows from the book of Ruth. Paul found a few words to speak online as he no longer had the original words. I sang Morning Has Broken and read a few words that I wrote.


It seems like yesterday that I said these words to you.

I chose my vows from the book of Ruth. I remember getting criticism for stating the words ‘may the Lord deal with me be it ever so severely if anything but death separates you and me’. Could I keep that commitment not knowing the path before us? To think that Ruth said these words to her mother-in-law!!!

It has been a wonderful 20 years. I would like to think that we already encountered our hardest days in life before we met. Those struggles strengthened our determination to fight for us.

I recently heard it said that nothing changes much in a day but when we look back everything changed. What is 20 years? It is 7,300 days to be exact. Days that go by in tortoise speed but looking back it went by as quick as a hare.

I’ve heard that slow and steady wins the race, but not in any race I’ve ever competed in. But this is one race I want to face hand in hand slow and steady with you. I am not ready to finish this race fast and can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring.


The day before our 20th anniversary (the vow renewal ceremony)


Our wedding day.


Day 4: Rock Island


We awoke early this morning to the squawking of angry birds. So I did what any photographer would do…I shot them with my camera. It was another hot and beautiful morning on the island.

I was wished a happy anniversary, but it wasn’t our anniversary yet. But why couldn’t it be? Our 20th anniversary was tomorrow, but we were planning on leaving the island early the next morning to avoid bad weather.

I decided to have our vow renewal ceremony a day early.

I didn’t shower, nor did I wash my hair for several days. Paul told me he walked around this morning and found a bathroom nearby with running water. I took my fancy clothes and a wash cloth to wipe off my grimy, sweaty body. There wasn’t enough room under the sink to wash my hair.

I locked myself into the windowless bathroom watching the bugs crawl across the floor as I was trying not to pass out. It was stifling hot in there. I started to sweat after I washed off. My body swayed from too many days and nights on the boat. People knocked repeatedly on the bathroom door. Somehow I managed to look somewhat presentable.


After I got ready, Paul and I did a photo shoot on Washington Island. I found the person with the nicest camera in our group to be our photographer which was George’s wife Beth. George and Beth were the only couple in our group that were married longer than us.

After an hour of photos, we loaded up in Captain Tom’s sailboat and headed over to Rock Island. Captain Tom’s wife made me a beautiful bouquet.


The island was the most beautiful place in the world to have a vow renewal ceremony, or a wedding for that matter. It was our first time on the island, but not our first time married to each other.

When Paul and I got married, we had a very traditional wedding. We got married in a church with three couples standing up plus the miniature bride and groom. Then we had a reception at a place called the Rock Garden. It seemed very fitting that we would remarry on Rock Island.

I was hoping that we could do the ceremony at the exact date and time 20 years later, but it wasn’t worth risking lives over.


Our first wedding was wonderful, but I always wanted to get married on the beach. I wanted something small and intimate with only close friends and family. So I did the next best thing. I got remarried on the beach with virtual strangers in attendance.


It was a short walk to the beach.


We found a secluded place on the beach for the ceremony. Captain Tom renewed our vows. We had to speak loud over the crashing waves.

We said our vows, I read the words I wrote, and sang Morning Has Broken. I sang a song that was sung by someone else at our wedding. I always wanted to sing for my own wedding.

The ceremony was so touching and beautiful that there wasn’t a dry eye all around.

After the ceremony, we popped a couple bottles of champagne and waded into the cool water.

Suddenly the sky grew dark and distant thunder rumbled. We grabbed our belongings and quickly made our way back to the boat. We weren’t sure we would make it back in time. Once again, the storms parted around us.

The group bought us some gifts to remember the day.

Beth made tie the knot cupcakes.


It was truly wonderful…better than I hoped, dreamed, or expected it would be.

I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring.

Day 3: Washington Island


The storms parted around us and we arrived late afternoon in paradise. The marina in Jackson Harbor on Washington Island was small, rustic, and quaint. I was taken back in time to the 1980’s without the big hair.

There wasn’t a big boater’s lounge here. In fact, there wasn’t a boater’s lounge at all. The weather channel was not blasting on a big screen TV. There wasn’t coffee and magazines set out to enjoy. There weren’t any showers or bathrooms besides the pit toilets down the road. There wasn’t a wifi password and most of our group didn’t even have a cell signal.We weren’t constantly bombarded with several forms of media. I didn’t even find out what my facebook friends ate for breakfast.

It gave a sense of seclusion. It took me back to the pleasures of simpler times like having an uninterrupted conversation and being content to watch the sunset.

Instead of modern conveniences, this marina offered amenities such as peace and tranquility. I thought it would be the perfect place for our vow renewal ceremony, except for the no shower part.


The marina was also the home of old cars and boats. Next to the marina was an area where old cars were parked for a monthly charge. I saw many cars that reminded me of my childhood. I saw an old station wagon like the one my aunt drove. I saw more old cars than newer models which also gave the feeling of nostalgia for times past. I didn’t realize how much I missed the quiet.


I also took some pictures of the old fishing boats. Shortly after, a man left on this boat to go fishing. He probably thought I was a bit crazy for taking pictures of his fishing boat with all of the beautiful sailboats around me.

City folks come up north to take pictures of trees and country folks go down to Chicago to take pictures of skyscrapers. How easily we tend to become immune to the beauty of our everyday environment…


There was a feeling on the island of getting away from it all. Getting away from the noise. Getting away from the money, crowds, and big boats. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of tourists.

There was a small cafe and a concession stand on the island with limited hours. There was also a museum of some sort that we didn’t have the opportunity to walk through.

It was my favorite marina by far.


From the marina we saw this small building. We had to walk across a bridge to get there. The door was unlocked so curiosity got the best of us and we opened it one night. Inside there was a small ice packaging display. Some of the tools looked like they belonged in the closet of some of our states serial killers. But we won’t talk about that today.

We stayed in this paradise for two nights until the wind pushed us in a different direction.


From Jackson Harbor we were able to view Rock Island. There are no cars on Rock Island. It contains some historical buildings, hike in campsites, a lighthouse, and a sandy beach.

This was the place where I wanted the ceremony, but stormy weather was headed our way.

Crossed i’s

I had every intention of posting another day on my travel log. Although I have been working on it for a few days, it seems to be lacking something. Emotion, perhaps? Oh, I think I will more than make up for it today.

It has been a rough week. I haven’t been sleeping. For every good night of sleep, there are 9 nights of not sleeping well. Maybe if I felt rested things would be easier for me.

I awoke this morning crying. My MIL visited me in a dream. She looked the way she used to, all full of life before the cancer devastated her body. We hugged and said how much we missed each other. Then her husband Darryl started giving me his belongings in the dream and we feared he would commit suicide. It was all rather horrifying and something that we worry about.

Loss is hard. It hurts sometimes to care about other people.

I found out this week that one of my best friends is moving a couple of hours away. This weekend my daughter will be leaving to go back to college. I feel pretty bummed out. I feel a little lost actually.

To make things worse in my life…while I was updating my travel post for the ninetieth time, I received a phone call from a friend of a friend. It wasn’t a social call. It was a call asking what my son was doing this past weekend.

Apparently, my son was going to pick up his daughter to go to her cabin for a party. Her dad busted her with alcohol and grounded her. She told her friends to go ahead without her. So about 20 teens showed up at her family’s cabin, did some hard core underage drinking, and trashed the place.

It didn’t go well confronting my son. We implemented a no staying overnight at friend’s houses policy for a month, a curfew of 10, and he would have to contact the parent to apologize for his part in the party. He was really upset when we told him he also needed to contact his girlfriend’s parents. He was afraid that her parents would make her break up with him. Thankfully for him his girlfriend told her mom about it.

It’s been really hard to concentrate at work with all of the stress and lack of sleep. Next week we have an auditor coming in. We need to make sure all of our t’s are crossed and our i’s are dotted. I feel like I’m crossing my eyes.

We had employees take off this week due to illness or sick kids. I felt a little jealous. Is that sick or what?? Maybe if I was sick I would be able to sleep and be oblivious to the world around me.

Don’t worry…tomorrow I will post about travel. There will be a lot of nice pictures and a lack of nasty little emotions.

Day 3: Our journey to Washington Island


We had another late start this morning. George was having electrical problems and issues with his inboard motor. Capt. Tom was able to solve his electrical issues, but fixing the motor would involve taking it out. That wasn’t going to happen, so George tried to sail as much as possible on this trip so he wouldn’t have to use his motor.

It wasn’t long after we left the marina that I got a message about a problem at work. After all, it was early Monday morning. I felt frustrated. I wanted to be able to get away!

But is that really what I wanted?

I hardly slept the night before due to worrying about my teenagers at home. I felt a lack of control being away.

It would take many hours to get back by sailboat. Once we got to Washington Island, it would take a long time to get home by car. You need to take a ferry to get to and from the island. If there is bad weather, sometimes the ferries don’t run.

It can be a difficult passage by boat through Death’s Door. It is the point where the waters of Lake Michigan and the bay collide. There are 3 marinas on the island. This trip we are going around Death’s Door and not through it.

Washington Island is very secluded which is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

On our way, we passed a schooner full of tourists.

Wisconsin is a truly strikingly beautiful home state. There is nowhere else I would rather spend my summers.

I was in paradise and found myself to be feeling completely miserable. Is this all there is for me?? Worry?? I couldn’t seem to let go of the worry about my kids or the stress of work. More than anything I really wanted to enjoy this time away.


Near the end of our journey for the day, we stopped at Schoolhouse Beach. The water was 150 feet deep near this rock formation. Once we rounded the corner, we sailed into the cove to get to the beach. I’ve heard that there is only one other beach in the whole world that has the same geological rock formation, in Iceland.

We rafted up in 20 feet of water near the beach with 3 other sailboats. It was a hot day and it felt good to jump into the icy water. There wasn’t any sand on the beach, just smooth white rocks the size of the palm of my hand. The water was clear and it was amazing to see the rock bottom.


I took a picture of the beach from the boat. I didn’t want to take my camera or my phone to shore on the dinghy. This picture does not do it justice.

Most of us jumped into the water from our sailboats. We had an incredibly hard time climbing the rocks to get to shore and kept falling into each other. It was easier to crawl or slide to a place to sit. Some of the rocks had paint splattered on them but I am not sure why. The rocks were comfortably warm against my skin.

We spent an hour at the beach until the rumble of distant thunder prodded us to get back on course.