THE END OF AN ERA – part 2

THE END OF AN ERA – part 2

“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” – William James

How he found us, we may never be entirely sure. A true mystery if there ever was one. Vibes in the universe? Some sort of transfer of energy? It’s just basic physics after all. I do ramble on don’t I?  All of this to say R.E.D. has a new home.

We splashed for the season. Decided to sell.  Posted sale notice. Received an email. I responded with our contact number. Within minutes the phone rang. ‘Hi this is Stanley’ …. Deal sealed in principle.  Our heads were spinning.

Never realizing what we had set in motion by advertising a 2013 MacGregor 26M for sale, we were overwhelmed with the interest. Yeah OK, R.E.D. is kind of famous….and pretty….pretty and famous. The blog has a very healthy following. We’re the Crazy Canucks after all. What about the time  anchored near Boldt Castle in New York during the fourth of July fireworks and someone yelled out “Hey there’s R.E.D.”? Or in Ramouski, Quebec when someone approached us saying they had read an article about us in The Port Hole? Or the most epic of all, that moment we were photographed in front of the statue of liberty, the only Canadian vessel, in a flotilla of 145 boats, with the great French ship Hermione?

Hermione flotilla

Aside from feeling out of breath, I no longer feel sadness. Belly butterflies, yes. Sadness, all gone. R.E.D. has found a new family. I think that really it was our hearts that chose them. And believe me, there were easier options. Two other serious buyers and local at that. 

The change over was going to be anything but simple.  The buyer lives in the Yukon. You read that right. Way the heck on the other side of the country. Almost 7000 km away.  But where there’s a will, there’s a way.

First of all we needed to hatch a reasonable plan. Transport. And I felt we really nailed one that suits both parties.  We haven’t trailered R.E.D. a lot in our seven years other than bringing her home from Hamilton, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec. The second time was when we brought her from Montreal to Trois Rivière for our first summer adventure. The last time of any distance was when we moved from Montreal to Nova Scotia three years ago. But we were confident a good tow beast could handle it and that the trailer didn’t have any significant  mileage. We did however have the trailer inspected to make sure it could safely haul longer distances and it passed that first hurdle.

Final Haulout

Secondly, we decided to offer to bring R.E.D. part way. We do love our road trips and it just felt like the right thing to do…at the very least. So, crossing four provinces, we agreed to meet in North Bay, Ontario for the final hand-over.

First Leg

Keep in mind this is all happening during the Covid19 pandemic.  As of the writing of this, we in Nova Scotia currently have no active cases. Yukon has no active cases.  But there’s a whole lot of stuff happening in between.  We all will have to be extra careful. Once back home we’ll be quarantined for fourteen days as per Public Health orders.  As Francois said: ‘Kathy, sometimes you need to choose to do the right things for the wrong reasons or the wrong thing for the right reasons’. I’m still not clear which of the two we have chosen but I know in my heart it feels right.

Final Leg

So, the plan was set and agreed upon by both parties. We set off for North Bay, Ontario, stopping once for the night, buyer grabbing a gruelling long flight from Whitehorse. We arrived all positive and excited. Francois immediately jumped out to inspect. Cursory first look.  All good. A more thorough check showed excessive cupping on one trailer tire. Not the positive proud presentation we had hoped for when we met the buyer the following day. Keep in mind this deal was sealed, sight unseen. The reputation based purely on the merit of this blog (and believe me, I blog the good, bad and sometimes ugly) and a strong sense of two honest trusting parties.

Tire Wear

As if the buyer didn’t have enough to worry about…jet lagged, humongous rental tow beast to get used to and trailering a 26’ sailboat 5000 km through six provinces safely over seven days by himself. Without going into too much detail, and the fact that it was a Friday in a cottage country/ RV/boating region in the middle of summer, we took our chances and trailered to a nearby tire expert.  It was obvious he didn’t have the time, but he took the time. We asked a multitude of questions, had him mount two new tires and hoped this would be enough for a safe journey home. A million thank you’s Alex for making it right for us all.

On to the closing details…

The Pen

This is the pen I purchased for Francois several years ago while in Paris. It has been used for significant milestones in our life. When we purchased R.E.D., our tow beast, our condo buying and selling, our little RED by the Sea purchase. It was first used during the handover of Francois’ military command in Shawinigan, Quebec so it seemed very fitting that it be used for this final handover….one captain to another.

My Motor

Francois’ Trailer

Stanley’s Boat

We feel honoured that the new owners are keeping R.E.D.’s name, her original home port of Montreal and the poppy logo referencing Francois’ military service. It’s part of what gives her soul, part of who she is. Because of this generous gesture  there is less finality and more of a continuation…a passing of the torch so to speak.

Registered Trade Mark

As a final act, I hid her heart somewhere inside the cabin for them to find. A little something to keep her safe on her long journey, a little treasure hunt for when R.E.D. reaches her final destination.

R.E.D.’s Heart

It’s a pure silver Canadian minted coin we bought in 2012 just after signing the contract to purchase R.E.D. In the centre is a Swarovski  garnet red crystal we chose because of it’s significance of safety, strength, prosperity, abundance, and gratitude.

Final Details

…so many details! Trying to fit in answering as many questions as possible before departure I can imagine we left R.E.D.’s new captain with an exploded head.


After all the rushing and stress of it all to make it right and safe, we bid Stanley farewell with a promise to stay connected. Strange how this simple act of selling a boat has put into action a tidal wave of new possibilities for us all.  Even Piglet and new buddy Yukon Beaver are forever linked.

Pig and the Beave

Stanley and family, we felt such a wonderful and immediate kinship with you. We wish you nothing but good health and continuing adventures aboard R.E.D.

Post Script:

I delayed publishing this post until I had word from R.E.D.’s captain that all was safe. He seems to be enjoying the attention R.E.D. is garnering on this epic journey back to Whitehorse. May the road rise up to meet you.  May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face…and may your compass always be true….and may those tires hold out at the very least till you’re safely home.

New adventure. New direction (click on image for final departure)




Well folks, this may be one of the most difficult posts I’ve had to write….so if you will indulge me I’ll just tear off the bandage.  Our lovely RED is for sale. Yes, you read that correctly…FOR SALE!

We’ve both known for a while that this was coming…each of us individually struggling with the thoughts of letting go…neither of us talking about it to each other.  But the other day when we splashed her for the seventh season something was missing.  Certainly not the happiness of finally being on the water for the season. And certainly not the exhilaration of feeling the wind in her sails.

I watched with great amusement as Francois drew her from her off-season home using his new toy…and those who know him know how he LOVES his toys. I watched as he scrubbed away winter grime, caressed her sides with seasonal coats of wax and painted her underbelly with antifouling.

What I didn’t see was the usual enthusiasm and joy.  What I didn’t feel was my own enthusiasm and joy that always accompanies the beginning of each sailing season. The things I felt were resentment about paying insurance for a severely truncated boating season. And those docking fees…however reasonable…for what?…a couple of months?  For god sakes! We used to live aboard for almost six months each year.

What I felt was extreme sadness for how we were letting RED down in some way after all of those wonderful adventures from past years. It scared me to entertain thoughts of letting her go.  But I had to say something. And I did.

Oddly we had each been thinking the same thing. Once said…once it was out in the open…it felt right…so incredibly sad…but right.

I couldn’t help but go back through some of the things I wrote about our adventures together and the following was, I think, one of my favourites:  

“For us it was love at first site. We saw one (a MacGregor 26M) that a friend had purchased. We asked questions. Did some research about what the Mac could offer. Never owned a boat together. Never sailed together. We saw our retirement plan unfold in a few short months. Every time we think about maybe going a different route we keep coming back to the reason we bought her. People ask why not buy something different, bigger and it still comes back to this boat. At a club we used to belong to someone told us how stupid we were to buy a Mac (his words exactly). Francois’ comment: Who is he to crap on our dream!? We are entering the 3rd year of our 6 year R.E.D. plan and we can still see years beyond that. We can duck under bridges while others can’t leave the same lake. We can travel through lock systems. We can pull her onto a beach. We can sail off channel into shallower waters to avoid the bigger boats. We can trailer across the country and pull into camp sites. If this is stupid, I’m really happy being stupid.”  

Looking back over our time with RED, we did all of those things and so much more. And the weird serendipitous thing is, I wrote then, in our third year, about our ‘six year plan’.  This is our seventh, so maybe all of what’s happening now, what we are feeling, is right.

Maybe it is the right time for a change.  What Francois said to me tonight makes perfect sense…and made me feel less sad. He said: “Kathy, it’s the same adventure with a different heading.” We do have some exciting ideas we are hatching for future adventures and I can’t wait to begin writing to you about them and this new heading.  Maybe that should be the title of my next post: ‘Same Adventure Different Heading’.  Our journey is far from over my friends…..

PS If any of you know of a like-minded soul who will love and care for our dear RED as we have please pass the message. Here’s our kijiji ad: RED for Sale. Thanks

Post Script: our For Sale advertisement link has been disabled because R.E.D. has found a new home. Many thanks to those who shared for others to see.


THE GROUNDHOG DAY EFFECT- update from the isolated

THE GROUNDHOG DAY EFFECT- update from the isolated

Greetings all of you ‘Covidiens’.  How are you doing with your respective lives in isolation?  Here in our little piece of East Coast paradise we are coping quite nicely, thank you. It’s certainly not perfect but we are beginning to see a tiny bit of light on our horizon….beautiful welcoming orange morning light.

Francois has found a new passion. Torching stuff. He builds it then he burns it. It’s an ancient Japanese method of treating wood called shou-sugi-ban to preserve wood by scorching the cuticle of the wood to seal and protect it. For a brief video of his method click here IMG_1331.

He built a lovely bridge to span the incoming stream at Duck Pond and finished it with this method. Burning with a propane torch then lovingly rubbing every square inch of  it with linseed oil. The process became a neighbourhood curiosity. One neighbour dropped by (socially distanced of course) and ask what the heck he was doing. She had been watching the build process from her home across the road but when the propane tank and torch came out her curiosity got the better of her.

Bridge over Calm Waters

One early morning, I looked out our bedroom window and saw our friend Fred perched on the bridge, bright red umbrella and fishing pole in hand. He’s quite a quirky character, always bringing a smile.

Old Becomes New Again

Francois also used the same burning method on our outdoor furniture transforming  each piece from Ikea tan to rich Asian black tea.  Quite a striking difference!

Papa’s Bridge

My daughter and son-in-law, loved the bridge so much that they asked if Francois could build one for them too.  She ordered the materials, had them delivered and paid for his services with virtual hugs and free beer.  Not a bad deal.

For Hugs and Beer

Speaking of hugs, Mother’s Day came and went. My daughter parked down the lane near the shore so we wouldn’t see her car, then the three of them toddled up the hill. Her four-year-old asked if he wore his mask and held his breath, could he give Gramma a hug. However heart-breaking, the answer was ‘no’ but I will remember the moment forever.

Mother’s Day Surprise

Nature continues on its spring journey oblivious to what’s happening in the world. Grass is green and lush. Birds are choosing partners and homes for their future families. Swallow Condo has at least three tenants now and from time to time we can see little heads poking out. I love sitting on the deck with my early morning coffee watching them dance and soar, listening to their happy song.

Swallow Condo

Francois has started a relocation program for some of our visitors. Monsieur and Madame Marmotte (our groundhog couple) are now several kilometres away, repositioned in a much less populated area. And Rocky Racoon and his Missus – the true Covid mascots, with masks and incessant hand-washing – have been deposited deep in the forest as well.

Uninvited Guests

Our gardens too have come to life. The tulips Francois planted last fall are in their full glory. The seventy-five bulbs from Holland commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Netherlands’ liberation following the end of World War II….a sea of beautiful orange blossoms.

Liberation 75

We both are enjoying our Crow’s Nest, planting seeds and watching them poke through the soil in the heat of the day. In the past I’ve bought seedlings from local green houses but with so many restrictions in place this year we’ve opted for online/no-contact seed and other supply buying from a company in Halifax. Mostly everything grew, surprisingly, considering it was our first time gardening on this scale.

Francois was quite proud to pose for you in the warmth of the ‘shed’ holding a flat of healthy greens for Naked Gardening Day.

My (almost) Naked Gardener

Four weeks ago Nova Scotia entered phase one of loosening restrictions. We celebrated with lobster, cooked and prepared at the world famous Shore Club. Paid in advance and pick-up time-slot assigned, deliciousness placed contact-free in the trunk of our car. Each year they host a Mother’s Day Celebration with a seafood feast. Three seatings, each sold out well in advance…but these are not normal times and we were more than happy to support their modified event in the comfort of our own home

Shore Club Lobster

The best part of this phase-one of isolation relaxing was the hugs. Hugs upon hugs upon a million hugs. A day spent with our ‘bubble’ family…and those million hugs…was the best therapy I could ever have asked for.

Healing Hugs

Papa Hugs

How to Calm a Wildling

Now that our provincial beaches are open I can begin to make use of my birthday gift. I’m not very stable yet so the 14 knot cross winds made me nervous….yes, she who has no problem heeling at 30 degrees in a storm can’t handle a puff of wind in a few feet of water. I will persist.  Francois was a champion though. Even a tumble into the frigid water didn’t phase his at all.

Trial Run

Sad little RED sits patiently in the driveway, winter cover removed, waiting for whatever summer months might bring.  We’re not sure when she will be splashed but lobster season is now over in our south shore area with traps removed so it might be soon. I remain hopeful.


So now you are up to date. As you can see our ‘day to day’ is not quite so ‘day to day’ as the ‘groundhog day effect’ might suggest. There is more than enough variety to bring us pleasure. We’re loving the simpler slower pared down version of our previous life and hope its continues. The other day, Francois mused that after isolation is lifted he would like us to remain isolated. Some things may have to change in order for that to happen – like being able to say ‘no’ more often. But we have time yet to work on that.

Thanks for stopping by.  We love it when you do, keeping connected in this rather disconnected way.