Relationships at Sea Feed

Songs of Love

In a post on October 17, 2010 "Where did We Go Right?" I introduced you to three of our favorite songs. Here's a recap, with the addition of our fourth favorite song (which is actually our first).

We've enjoyed two Valentine's Day celebrations "at sea" and a lot of water has passed under the hull. Currently, we are at 18.19.054 North and 64.57.563 West, anchored off of Water Island in St. Thomas.

Music has always been a part of our lives together. In fact, our first official date was a B.B. King concert. EW got me to commit to that date when we first met, then wooed me for the three weeks leading up to the concert. During that time, we saw each other every day except for two days when I had business engagements in Augusta.During the second day, I arrived home to change for a reception to find a hand written note from EW. He hadn't the words to convey his feelings, so he wrote out the lyrics of a Martin, Bogan, and Armstrong song, Honey, I'd Do Most Anything For You. Prophetically, one of the lines is "I'd cross that ocean wide." At the time I didn't know he meant with me instead of for me.

Much later, after we moved aboard La Luna, EW picked up a Guy Clark CD and Boats to Build became an instant favorite. I played that CD over and over the year we bought La Luna while I made a new dodger. (A task known as the "Project from Hell".) Still like the song, though. EW sang it with David Jacquet at our public farewell party shortly before we left Maine. David kindly sent him the music for the song, and EW has continued to practice it and played it during many of the Sunday jam sessions in Grenada. 

Here's Guy with Verlon Thompson performing Boats to Build:      

Love that song.  "It's time for a change ..."

Our new song is one written for us by David Jacquet AKA MoJoCaster on Twitter and Mojo Twanger on YouTube. David is a singer, songwriter, and guitar teacher who ran the open mic night after our part at J. P. Thornton's. The next day, David sent us this song:     

Gonna sail around the world, just me and my girl, we'll team up with the winds and the tides and the seas. Don't wait for me. Don't wait for me. When the sun goes down just know that we are smiling.... We're living the life. Me and my wife. 

Wonderful. David isn't a sailor and has no first hand knowledge of our dream, but he got it right in this song -- except for the "we'll fish when we're hungry part", and I can't hold that against him.

Two years before we left Maine, one more song found a place in my heart, Where Did We Go Right? as performed by Jonathan Edwards. Jon hadn't performed this song for a while but I heard it on a CD of his and asked him to sing it for us when he played at Jonathan's in Ogunquit. He has since performed it again when we are in the audience and graciously dedicated it to us. Here he is. 


"And what we have is what everybody's trying to find

Peace of mind

In a world turned upside down

Our love keeps spinning around.

And you know it makes me wonder

As the rest run for their lives

Where did we go right?

Where did we go right?"

        Song written by David Loggins and Don Schultz

Somewhere we took a right turn found ourselves heading in a new and adventurous direction. Thank you for following along with us.



What the Wife Says and What the Husband Hears

There’s an old Gary Larson cartoon that tickled EW and me.  In the first panel, under the title, “What We Say to Dogs”,  the dog owner says, “OK, Ginger, I’ve had it!  You stay out of the garbage. Understand, Ginger? Stay out of the garbage or else!” In the second panel titled, “What They Hear”, we see, “Blah, blah, Ginger, blah, blah, blah, Ginger, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

On a recent evening, I decided that sometimes communication between wife and husband is similar to communication between owner and dog. Yes, I just compared EW to a dog, but I love dogs. They are cuddly, and loyal, fun to have around, and they keep the bed warm. scan0027Jake in bed(Not that a warm bed is important to me in the tropics and semi-tropics.) EW is also cuddly, loyal, fun to have around, and he too, (unfortunately down here) keeps the bed warm. But I digress.

When EW talks, I listen, and I respond. Communication is a two-way street and I travel it at warp speed. I can’t tune him out, even if I want to. If EW talks, I listen, and I respond—not always in the way EW expected or in a way that is conducive to effective communication—but I do communicate, dammit!

EW tunes me out. Or, if he is listening to something and decides it doesn’t need a response, he doesn’t respond. On one memorable moment, I said, “Just because I talk a lot doesn’t mean I have nothing to say.” That caused us both to pause and laugh.

Sometimes I want to stand in front of him and wave my hand and say, “Anyone home? Hello?” That isn’t conducive to effective communication, either. That happened on the recent evening in question, and I immediately thought of the Larson cartoon. Fortunately, I didn’t share that thought with him, nor did I get ticked off – because, really, what I was saying may not have been effective communication to begin with. (OK, it was a mini rant that began with “After this, I’m done with (whatever we were talking about) and ended shortly after the sentence that began with “You should…”) Yep. Can we all agree that isn’t effective communication? (And it is sort of reminiscent of the owner’s rant to Ginger.)

EW didn’t call me on it, and he couldn’t argue with me because I was right – in a be-witchy way. (You know what I mean.)  He just went about his business and didn’t respond at all, as if I hadn’t spoken. Since I was doing the dishes and he was shutting the boat for the night we weren’t having a face-to-face, look-into-my-eyes kind of conversation, so I was easy to ignore. Me. Easy to ignore. Go figure.

Two thoughts came to me simultaneously:

One was the Gary Larson cartoon. We’ve had two wonderful dogs and I know they heard “blah, blah, blah, COOKIE”. This felt exactly the same.

The second was, “Oh my gosh. What if ignoring me sometimes is the best thing to do?

That can’t be right. Can it?

If it is right, what if I just ignore some things that he says? Instead of taking umbrage and getting on my high horse, as my mom used to say, what would happen if I just let some things roll off my back with no response? No response and no repercussions or left-over gotcha anger.

If he can do it, I can do it.

What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Turn about is fair play.

None of these phrases effectively communicate my real intention here. In fact, they all contain that “gotcha” feeling.  What if I choose to ignore meaningless stuff rather than get defensive and sling back a sharp retort?

“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Barb.”

I’m all over it.


NOTE: Both photos above are of Jake and Me. Jake was our second lab. Coffee also enjoyed boats and human beds.

Dingbat in a Dinghy (Blond Jokes Allowed)

We have ordered a new dinghy from West Marine. It’s not likely to be in stock in time for us to get to Puerto Rico, shop, and be back for Christmas, so it will be a New Year’s dinghy. In the meantime, EW has tried twice to repair the new leak in the inflatable floor.

Yesterday, I was not the image of Patience as I waited for the repair to cure so I could go ashore to take photos. In truth, it was time to be off the boat by myself for a bit. EW and I had begun to fall into the old anti-communication habits and we needed a break. He was a bit short with me, I was a bit impatient and short with him, and neither of us was fully listening to the other. That means it’s time for a solo excursion ashore. I was ready.

Well, I thought I was ready.

EW decided that the floor needed more time, and agreed that I could take the dinghy in without the floor. He did ask me to use two area rugs and the yoga mat to protect the bottom of the dinghy (and help to keep me out of the water). So I loaded those into the dinghy, strapped on my camera and jumped aboard. Now that we attach the dinghy safety key to the key for the security locks, I never forget the safety key--without which the motor won’t start—so I jumped in and started her up. EW obligingly untied the dinghy and handed off the line and I headed for shore.

Tum, dee, dum. I’m going to shore. And the motor died. It sputtered, I looked back at it as it stopped and …..  I discovered I’d forgotten to load the gas tank into the dinghy.  Of course, it was out because EW had to take everything out in order to remove the floor. I knew that. So, there I was drifting toward the sea with no gas, no gas tank, and no oars. The seat is broken and we only have one oar, so why take oars?

Dumb and Dumber. I let myself drift (like I had a choice) until the dinghy neared a mooring ball, and then I secured the camera, leaned over the bow, and paddled like hell for the mooring. Having tied on, I waited. A short while later a sailboat came into the mooring field, and I thought they were heading for “my” mooring. I called to them, and they pointed beyond me. The woman called back, “Do you need help?” 

“Yes, please. My motor died and I’d like a tow to our boat.”

Pointing to her companion, she said, "He’ll be over as soon as we tie on.”

They nosed up to a small sailboat on a mooring and the man jumped into the dinghy to attach their boat to that one, leaving two on the mooring. Then he came over to me. Now, it’s telling that I have few photos of this debacle. I know I take a plethora of photos for any of EW’s “adventures”, but the bottom of the dinghy is wet, and it’s bouncy, and I didn’t want to get the new camera out of its safe bag. Imagine an older gentleman in white shirt and white shorts, driving a large, older inflatable. He deftly secures my dinghy painter to the stern of his boat and asks me to point out La Luna. I did and he turned toward my home. No other words passed between us.

As we neared our boat, I called out to EW who appeared in the cockpit. One glance and his face fell. I knew he believed that he’d have to tackle “Another” Project, but I had no intention of easing his mind in the presence of the kind stranger. “What happened?” called EW. The stranger was facing forward, and I was still behind him, so I put my finger to my lips in the “shhh” sign and EW (amazingly) stopped talking. He took my line and we both thanked the nice stranger, who immediately went back to the two boats.

There I was, sitting in a bouncy, damp, bottomless dinghy, and I looked up to EW who was standing on La Luna’s deck. “I forgot the gas tank.”

Once he stopped laughing and could form words, EW said, “You better blog this!”

So I did.


If the situation had been reversed, I wouldn’t have let EW out of the dinghy until I’d snapped his photo. Unfortunately for him – but fortunately for me—he doesn’t think like that. (Poor EW.)



Here’s a photo of the dinghy taken after I finally made it to shore. Imagine the red gas tank gone, and you’ll see how I set off the first time.

Beware: Blogger Aboard

We recently had a lively game of Mexican Train Dominoes on board with John and Dora from Windrifter. We are moderately serious domino players, and chat, laugh, and call our rivals nasty names such as “Triple Swine Dog”. (That’s mine and I may use it forever as my nasty swearword to describe some low life person – such as the one who blocks my ability to get rid of a double ten.)

At some point, the discussion turned to this blog, probably because something was uttered or happened and I said, “That would make a good post!”  EW rolled his eyes, while John and Dora laughed, and we all agreed that EW wasn’t the only person in my sphere who had to worry about being a “Topic”. 

John said, “Maybe there should be a burgee to let people know there’s a blogger aboard.” John and Dora in Rodney Bay 7-3-2011 1-01-41 PM

“Just like the anti-curmudgeon kana I want someone to design,” I said. We all agreed.

This conversation was triggered by Dora’s Excellent Dominoes Night. She took the lead early and held it. Since I can be just a tad cut-throat I exhorted my fellow players to try to stop her by playing an unfulfilled double. “Hey!” said Dora. “I deserve to win. I’m the person everyone knows ‘isn’t a threat’!” Oops. In a recent post about our life in Grenada, I’m afraid that was how I described Dora at the dominoes table. Good thing she’s a good sport and better friend.

I have a few personal rules about blogging, here they are”

1. I make it a practice to ask whether I can share someone’s photo on the blog, and whether I can use their real name. At Goddess Day, the jam sessions, and on our hikes I would generally announce that I’m a fairly consistent blogger and ask whether I can put them in the blog.

2. I try not to embarrass anyone and don’t tell another’s bad or embarrassing story. For example, one of the people who joined us on a trip in Grenada had not had a good time, but that wasn’t my story to tell. That person read and enjoyed the post and thanked me for not including that person's particular situation as part of our day. This is an honest blog, but not a “tell-all” blog. By contrast, the curmudgeon story was mine to tell, but I would never identify the boat or the curmudgeon described.

3. I try to curb my snark. I don’t always succeed. (See the curmudgeon post. Sometimes snark is funny.)

4. EW has veto power for any post in which he is featured. He is also my conscience for snarkiness. 

By the way, here is how the Urban Dictionary describes snark:

Combination of "snide" and "remark". Sarcastic comment(s). 
Also snarky (adj.) and snarkily (adv.)
His commentary was rife with snark. 


My rules are to designed to protect the rights and privacy of others and to create fewer opportunities which may require me to publish an apology or retraction.

Which brings me to Dora. Here are the scores from our most recent game:

Barb     403 (ouch)

John     374 (this is a huge upset)

EW       291

Dora    213

For you who are uninitiated to dominoes, the lowest score wins and all of these scores were pretty high.  Just to let you know how much we need to learn, the winner at ladies’ dominoes at de Big Fish two weeks ago had a score of 28. When I won at the ladies’ game, it was with a score of 169—must have been an off week.

Regardless, since this is an honest blog, I now must announce that, as it pertains to Mexican Train Dominoes, Dora is now a threat. I repeat, Dora is now a threat. Do not underestimate her. (Thank goodness she also has an excellent sense of humor.)

Dora playing dominoes 9-28-2011 12-47-36 AM

I “Heart” EW


News about EW – my partner and captain.


Early Stew

Early EW. Before my time.


(The photo below is from our honeymoon.)

scan0008I always knew he had a magnetic personality. Now he positively glows.   As you may remember, last week, I got caught in a storm while in the dinghy when EW was aboard FoxSea, helping them to take her to the travel lift. It was a fierce storm and lightning struck a couple of businesses in the area – and EW was jolted as well. He was standing on FoxSea, holding on to the handle of the bimini and the guard rail on the binnacle. (Both are metal). ”I felt a jolt and it went right through my arms  - hand to hand – across my chest. Then I heard thunder. My hands were buzzing and I sat right down. It was quick.”   I first heard the story from Vicky, who told me I’d better “watch him.” I have no idea what to watch for – twitching, hair loss, religious conversion.

When telling the story, he takes his hat off and exclaims that his hair turned white. Long pause and then he laughs. (NOTE: When we met over 27 years ago, he was so grey then that I wondered how old he was – I can assure you that lightning did not turn his hair white.) Two days after the strike he was approached at the mall by missionaries who want to introduce him to Jesus. He’s a lapsed Catholic and I think it’s going to take more than one lightning strike for him to convert. Just sayin’.  So far he’s not twitching, either.

P6280225Color me green for envy. He is in great shape and he doesn’t seem to work at it.  We both lost weight at the start of the trip, he continued to lose more weight after Hampton, Virginia. I did not. I’m happy for him, but a slimmer body has presented problems. Before we left he had purchased three sets of swimming trunks in Maine and he’s been complaining that they are now a little loose, but that hasn’t been a problem when we swim off the boat and snorkel. However, when he attempted a manly lunge out of the pool at Port Louis Marina, he placed his hands on the edge and launched himself up into the air. The trunks did not follow. EW felt a draft and immediately fell back into the pool but not before he had mooned everyone. I’ll probably have to tailor his trunks a bit. 





P8080064Getting back to above his shoulders, some of you may have noticed that EW looks a bit scruffy in recent photos. Yes, he’s due for a haircut and finally, he’s going to go to a barber and get a professional cut – the first since Maine.

But it’s more than a shaggy head of badly cut hair.

EW is growing a beard.

We are past the “Oh my god that’s prickly!” stage and I quite like the feel of it now. It’s a good kind of tickle and very useful. ‘Nuf said.

Though I am clearly affected by this growth on EW’s face and neck, I wasn’t consulted. It took a few days to realize that he did not intend to shave for the foreseeable future.  I didn’t have any power regarding this issue, and from chatting with other cruising wives I’ve found that this is a common occurrence – particularly by men of a “certain age”. They don’t want an earing or tattoo so they show their cruising freedom by ditching the razor.

Most of these men have nicely trimmed cruising beards. Once EW’s beard has enough hair to shape/style/trim he says he’s going to do all of those things to make it look good. In the meantime, I’m married to Captain Scruffy – and that’s OK.  Of course, neither of us know how to shape/trim/style a beard. This should be interesting.

The currency of EW. Astute readers will have noticed that in the Carnival post I listed the price of the package as $70.00 EW. I’ve fixed the typo, but “King EW” was mentioned, and I think he’d like having his own currency. He may be a scruffy sailor with a magnetic personality, but he’s my scruffy sailor.


IMG01003Bonus round. Why do I call him EW?

If you know this, you can stop now. For new readers ..when we lived aboard year-round in Maine, we were frequently interviewed by local reporters looking for a new human interest story. One of them spelled our last name incorrectly and I was not pleased. When a different paper approached us a week later I was insistent that the young reporter get it right. “He’s an EW Stewart”,  I said – with some force. OK with a lot of force and insistence and I may have said it more than once … or twice.

When the article appeared my husband had become “E.W. Stewart Hart” and was referred that way through the entire article as in, “E.W. Stewart Hart is ..” and “E.W. Stewart Hart said ..”  So, on Twitter and on my blog, he is EW. 

Thank goodness my scruffy, svelte, kingly sailor is a good sport.

Three Things I’ve Learned About Staying Happily Married


Twenty-six years ago today, EW and I were wed at Holy Cross Church in Portland Maine. I became a wife and a 003_3step-mother, and had a lot to learn about filling both roles. We all had a lot to learn – and EW and I still work at it. Having been married and divorced when we met, EW at first flatly refused to discuss marriage, saying he was never getting married again. When he proposed, I was so surprised that I asked him if he were serious and threatened bodily harm if he “took it back”. Not the most romantic response, I know.

We both very quickly got used to the idea – in fact I picked out my dress the very next day! EW began to set limits, “I’m not sure that I can be married for life,” he said with a sly grin. “That’s fine”, I said, “but I want a 50th wedding anniversary. Can you handle 50 years?” He said that sounded OK; this morning he (predictably) mentioned that he only had “Twenty-four to go.”

We’ve had our ups and downs – still do, even on the boat – or perhaps especially on the boat – but we’re committed to being married for 50 years and I’ve taken an option on the next 50. Priorities and lessons change with each year, month or day; today I am sure of three things that will help us reach that Golden Anniversary: first, a sense of humor is vital (see above) second, we don’t have to agree, but we do have to forgive; third, sharing a dream and working to make it come true adds spice, excitement, and a reason to make things work.

Many years ago we both attended a course led by Ivan Brunell founder of International Personal Development. We learned a number of techniques that we try to put into practice, though both of us have had times when you’d never know it. Ivan said that if you still get angry about something that happened in the past, you haven’t forgiven the other party, no matter what you tell yourself and others. And you know something? Two smart, creative, strong people will never, ever agree about everything. Relationships create conflict and it’s how you manage that conflict that determines whether you move forward fully or not. That was brought home to me recently as EW and I “discussed” an old issue that was creating new conflict because I couldn’t let go, accept what is, and move on. I’m working on that. It’s my belief that the inability to truly “agree to disagree” and let it go destroys many marriages. I’ll not let it destroy ours.

We are living our dream and that is a wonderful thing to share. Though having a boat and sailing to distant ports was a dream EW brought to the relationship, he made it abundantly clear that he would be happier at sea if he could share that dream with me. Through the years this became our dream and we worked, plotted, read, asked questions, attended boat shows, and visualized our shared adventure at sea.

Last year, late in June, I was stunned when he expressed concern that he hadn’t thought of something exciting to do for our Twenty-fifth anniversary. I told him that he was taking me to sea in a few months – that was excitement enough! Now, one year later we’ve weathered squalls off Cape Fear, fixed the boat in beautiful harbors, met others who were living their dreams at sea, and traveled from Maine to St. Lucia. No life is perfect, no relationship sunny every day, but as I write this with rain beating down on the deck, I know that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, with anyone else.

Anniversary 5 St. Lucia 2011 7-6-2011 1-19-10 PMFor me, this is perfection. I love you, EW. Thank you, for giving me at least 50 years of your life, all of your love, and making our dreams come true. P7060031

The view off our stern at Marigot Bay, St. Lucia. Not a bad place to spend a wedding anniversary.

Hair Cut in St. Lucia

haircut front 6-17-2011 9-16-01 AMI got another haircut!  Yippee! 

Really, this is big – who knew getting a good haircut would cause such angst?

Before we left, EW was going to grow his hair out to have a pony tail and I envisioned being married to a “Silver Fox” and running my fingers through his glorious wavy mane. (How’s that for a visual mixed metaphor?) By the Bahamas, we both realized that EW’s waves straightened out as they lengthened and that the long locks were driving him crazy – particularly when he snorkeled. So, I’m now cutting his hair and thankfully EW has no “hair ego” and doesn’t look in a mirror often. I know what I want to achieve but have no idea how to make it happen.  I have kept the back longer than his stylist did, and that does give me silky waves to caress.

As for me, EW refuses to cut my hair, even after I absolved him from all blame, pre-cut. I have very straight, fine hair and have had a lot of bad cuts in my time – one provided by my mother when I was six or so. She evened up the bangs so much that they stuck up straight when she was done – but they were even there was no denying that. To catch you up, after years of getting my hair cut by Darlene every four weeks in Portland, ’ve had my hair cut three times since September 2010: 1) Jacksonville in November, 2) Luperon in February, and 3) here in St. Lucia last week.

I made the appointment with Debra, the owner of Soothing Touch Massage Spa at Rodney Bay, and she called Vanessa, the hair stylist to confirm the day and time. Vanessa also works at a salon in Castries, 11 kilometers from Rodney Bay and has to take a bus to cut hair at the Soothing Touch. As we got acquainted,  I showed them the photo of my Luperon hair cut and they both said, “You want a Rihanna.”

My first thought was, “Really, I want a Rihanna? I don’t think so!”  Not wanting to insult someone’s potential heroine, I quickly thought back to any Rihanna hair style I could remember from glancing through People Magazine in various waiting rooms.While I vaguely recalled a style somewhat like the cut I got from Anna in Luperon, I also know that Rihanna has had a lot of different hairstyles. She’s young, beautiful and probably has a stylist at her fingertips. I am fifty-something, and live on a boat. Style isn’t one of my priorities, but I don’t want to look ridiculous. (EW knows that and hence, refuses to cut my hair.)  But I had shown Debra and Vanessa the photo and they seemed like nice women, so I sucked it up and said, “Yes, I want a Rihanna,” fingers crossed and knowing that the cut would probably be shorter than other previous cuts. Vanessa wet my hair, got out some clips and began to carefully lop off 2 inches and more of hair.  I hoped to get the Rihanna below right,

 Rihanna - Bob Haircuts 


not any of these Rihannas:


(If you want to know more about Rihanna’s styles, you can vote on your favorites at Who knew? That is where I found these photos.)

We had been joined by a woman who was in the area for a job interview. I don’t think either of them knew her,S she just wanted a cool place to wait for her appointment and she also enjoyed participating in my haircut. “She wants a Rihanna," said Vanessa. “Oh, yes,” said the other lady. “Not the new Rihanna,” Vanessa clarified with disdain for the star’s newer style. The three of them agreed that the fake red color was not attractive and they didn’t like the shorter spiky styles they’d recently seen sported by the singer. Internally, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was getting the “good Rihanna” cut. Whew.

We had a great time conversing about babies (Vanessa has a 2 year old daughter) weight loss, and renovations (Debra is going to remodel her two room salon/office) and food (I love learning about the local foods). By the time Vanessa had finished the cut, there was a lot of hair on the floor.  and we three were better acquainted.

Haircut iron 2 6-17-2011 9-03-42 AMAfter the cut, Vanessa had Debra heat up the irons.  I have very straight hair.  I have never ironed my hair and I suspected that I would pay more for a cut and style than I would just for a cut. Still, Vanessa had taken a 20 minute bus ride just to cut my hair. I sat still. She applied product to my short “Old Rihanna” cut and used an iron to curl the back under. I heard sizzling and only barely managed not to twitch with the hot iron millimeters from my exposed neck.

“What makes it sizzle?” I asked.

“That’s the wax I put on your hair to protect it,” said Vanessa. “You didn’t think I was burning your hair did you?” S

“No, I’ve burned my hair before and know what it smells like. I don’t smell burning hair.”

All three women laughed. One related that a certain local woman had burned her hair in church. “So did I,” I said. “With a candle at a rehearsal for a Christmas pageant.” They all laughed at that visual, and Vanessa kept heating up and applying the irons. My hair looked great. I asked Debra to take some photos for the blog and Vanessa asked whether she could take photos for her Facebook page. I readily agreed.

It’s a good haircut. I don’t have to use hot irons to style it as the back curls under just as it should. Whew. I do have to remember to apply sun screen to my exposed neck.

Oh, and EW likes it.

Memorial Day, God Moments, and Family


Memorial Day is big in my family. When I was growing up my folks ordered plants for the concrete pots on the family grave sites. We'd travel to Athens, Maine for my Dad's family and Farmington, Maine to plant flowers for my mother's family. Frequently, we'd spend time in Farmington seeking the stone of one of our anscestors. Beginning in junior high and continuning through high school, I marched with the band every Memorial Day. We were a consolidated school district and six towns had Memorial Day services, so the junior high would march in three towns and the high school band in the other three - swapping towns every year. As my folks aged, EW and I would travel to Athens and Farmington in their place and some of my best memories are the couple of years I was able to coordinate those visits to the cemetery with those of my cousins and my aunt. As we got more involved in the boat and EW began to work on weekends, I did not travel to their graves as often, but my mom and dad and others who have passed remain in my heart.

Here we sit on the hook in Deshaies, Guadeloupe and this morning a Facebook entry by one of my cousins moved me to tears. I love what her minister said about God Moments. Fran is certainly one of those people who create God Moments for others. To her credit, I know that she felt this adventure was a God Moment for her, as well. Here's Fran's message to me for Memorial Day. 

Best wishes to all and please, watch a parade for me on Monday and water some flowers on a grave this week. It counts.

Hello, thinking of you on Memorial Weekend. We have had a 68 year old student minister who asks us to look for the God moments in each day. I had more than my share today and it involves you. I said Barb must be thinking of going to the cemetery but cannot. So as it happens Ken and I happened to be going through Athens today. We were on our second three day (more like 48 hours) part of our 40th Anniversary trip. Ken's Mom has been very ill and we were not comfortable going far so this part of our trip took us to E. Millinocket and Greenville.

Coming home I said wouldn't it be nice if we visit the Huff lot for Barb. Ken did his version of eye rolling and reminded me we had tried this once before and hadn't even found the cemetery. I plowed right ahead; now I had technology on my side. I will call Barb's sister. Try getting the free 411 operator to understand Pat's last name. Well it worked but they weren't answering. So to my new GPS and only one cemetery comes up in Athens. (I found out later there were 3.) The road name was different than "Lena" knew but after our first pass by she found the cemetery for us. Then the non-eye roll again.

Ken: Do you know how many stones there are here?

Fran: But it is quite new and see how many old ones plus I remembered it is on top of a hill.

Ken: And why would I trust your directions? (Barb here: Ken says this with love – some exasperation, but love. I know Ken.)

I see a man about my age 50+ lbs overweight with no shirt mowing. I follow him for a while. Too noisy to hear me. Stand almost in front of him. He shuts down the mower and stops. You have to know we have had about a week + of rain. Grass is very tall and he is trying very hard to get the grass cut before Memorial.

Mower: Huff- which one there are about 30 here? Marguerite sounds familiar. Where is it?

Fran: On a hill.

Mower takes me to about three other Huffs on a hill. I apologize for disturbing him and offer to look on my own.

Mower: But I really want to help you. We don't even have a chart. By now he has put his shirt on and is moving at a good clip over the cemetery saying Marguerite I remember her, I think I helped bury her.

I look up and there is your folks’ gravesite. He insists on waving and yelling to Ken to bring him to the grave before he leaves. As if a slightly hard of hearing person 10 rows away could hear him. Someone had left a very nice window box of flowers. I went to the car. Picture 80+ and we still have winter jeans on wandering all over the cemetery.

Fran: Take a drink fast. Ken Double non-eye rolling and I grab his bottle and mine and empty them in the window box. Now for all the hay on the graves from grass being so long when mowed. Well Ken just happened to have purchased a new rake on our trip. So back I go up the hill and rake. Ken: So what are you going to do with the grass?Fran: How about in the woods? (Barb here: We always put the dead flowers and grass in the woods. Their site is pretty close to the woods. ) He agreed and then we left to go to a convenience store to get some water.

Later, Ken: Good night.

Fran: I will be a minute just writing to Barb.

Ken:  You aren't telling her everything are you?

Fran: Of course! We all have our adventures... 

One more moment from today, a man whose 86 year old Dad who has had a stroke came up as he couldn't find his grandfather’s grave that his Dad had sent him to find.

New man: Do you work here or are you tending a special grave?

Fran A special one but if you stand in front of the mower over there.........

Love, Fran.



So, How Are Things With You?

Girlfriends 7-10-2010 6-02-11 AM


“We’ve got to talk.” That was the subject line in an email I sent to a dear friend, today.  She’s a busy woman, and I wanted to set up a time when I could call her via SKYPE. I’d been getting some news about her life via her daughter’s Facebook updates and passed on from EW who exchanges emails with my friend’s husband.  My friend and I were college roommates freshman year and have remained friends for life, so we are absolutely thrilled that our husbands get along, but I’d like to hear some of the news first-hand. Plus, when we talk, I get more information such as the rest of the story, things the guys don’t consider important.

Being a Dear Friend Forever she immediately emailed and said, “I know! We do have to talk.” and gave me times she’d be near a phone over the next few days.  But she also said, “I’m reading the blog so I feel we’re in touch ”  We get that a lot. When in the company of our friends and family we have been known to listen and ask questions. We enjoy talking with people – not to people.

Friends and family read the blog and know where we are and how we’re doing, so they feel connected.  “Favorite”, AKA Mo, EW’s son and my wonderful bonus son has evidently been very busy and recently sent an email telling us that he owes us an email. We knew that. If he weren’t able to read about us on the blog and know we were doing just fine, he’d be in touch more. He’s satisfied that we’re safe and happy, and we believe that he is as well and we know that he has had a very busy six months.

So what’s my point? If it weren’t for the blog, I think more Dear Friends and Family would email us more, because the best way to find out about someone else is to send a bit of news about yourself and ask them what’s up. I truly want to know. I’m starved for information, dying to know what’s going on, thirsty for a gab fest. Can we talk? If not, comment on the post or better yet, send me an email. What’s happening in your life? How did finals go? How’s the new job/recovery from surgery/move? How are things? How’s the dog? Any new baby photos? Where are you going on vacation? How’s the new employee working out?

I suspect other travelers, whether by boat, RV, or plane, have the same issue. We all want to hear from those we love and care for. You know how things are with us – heck the whole world could know if they wanted to. We’d like to know how things are with you. We’ve got to talk.

Funny You Should Ask - A Tuesday Relationship Post from BarbAtSea



Here’s LaLuna, anchored in Five Islands, Antigua last week. Yesterday we sailed to English Harbor and plan to stay here on anchor for at least a week.

P4240039It’s a charming, well-protected harbor with a short ride to the dinghy dock and excellent wifi in the anchorage. These things make me very happy. The wifi isn’t free – but it’s fairly priced and it’s fast.

I went ashore this morning to pay the environmental and port fees and met three lovely ladies from England. They flew here with their husbands who are participating in a “Shooting Match”. Somewhere on the island teams from England and many of the West Indian Islands (as the Brits say) are firing rifles at targets. Their wives – or these three, anyway – are touring and shopping and “We don’t tell them how much we spend, dear.”

When I told them we were here on a boat and had sailed down from Maine, they asked me some of the usual questions, and then one said, “You must get along well. What happens when you argue on board?” “Funny you should ask,” I said with a laugh. “We had a moment yesterday afternoon.” They all laughed. We did have a moment and I must admit it still rankled a bit until this morning, and it certainly felt last night as if the boat wasn’t big enough for the both of us. But right after the moment (or in the midst of the aftermath), we knew that we had a boat issue and we had to work together to fix it.

The topping lift – a line that extends from the end of the boom to the top of the mast – had somehow gotten tangled around a spreader when we furled the main yesterday. Someone had to go up the mast to the second spreader and that someone was me. So while each was justifiably angry with the other (joint fault here – I was not a wronged party), for the second time in a week I had to strap into the boatswain’s chair so EW could lift me up the mast – higher than I’ve ever been before.

We calmly got to work, both pleasant to each other, though I was certainly quieter than normal. He made perfectly sure I would be safe, gave me careful instructions and used the anchor windlass to lift me so high that I had to work my way around the radar dome and a Firdell Blipper. (The Firdell Blipper is a second radar reflector; EW says that we have two because he wants to make sure we are seen. I can get behind that.) Once at the level of the second spreader, I was able to reach out to the end of it and flick the topping lift off. Then EW lowered me slowly back to the deck and made us G & T's.

We still had some things to talk through, but really – how can you stay mad at someone while working together in these conditions? So, yep, we have challenges like any married couple. So far we appear to be resolving them just fine – with La Luna’s help. I may try to convey to her that next time she could choose an issue that doesn’t require I end up 40 feet above the deck.

Oh! Here’s progress for you – I wasn't scared spitless at this new height. I’m definitely getting better at it.  Next time I may look down or take in the view. 


John up La Luna's Mast



Yesterday was not a photo op so here is John from Great Island Boatyard, working on our mast before we left. Immediately above John is the radar dome and the white blob above that is the Firdell Blipper. (Love that name. I didn’t know I had a Firdell Blipper. Now I want to use it in conversation.)

John is at the first (lower) set of spreaders. I went higher this time.