Wow. How do you tell your Story? How do you tell what your Story is? I think most often we just go through life living our life with things happening to us and around us, and we don’t often think how it is a part of our Story. But as we look back and reflect, we see there is a Story and it impacts us and those around us. We hope we have been a better of helping people be better.
It is also our prayer that through the weaving of our story so far, and into the future, that we reflect God’s love for us onto those we meet and engage with, including work and pleasure. We know we don’t always do this as well as we would like, but we are always wanting to become more like Christ as we move through our different stages in life.
Both our children are out of the house so it’s just Sharon, Dave and, of course, our faithful dog, Max (albeit he is always on a leash outside the house, so really, he can’t leave us!) This is a different stage of life where the busy-ness of younger families is past. Not that life isn’t busy now, it’s just different.
We have been challenged often to not settle, but to dream. Sharon’s parents were always people who ventured out there and did things that were not always what other people did. They weren’t afraid to be adventurous and push the limits a bit. If they didn’t, they probably never would have left the Netherlands and started a whole new life – even after Sharon’s Dad was past 40 years of age!
So travel and seeing and experiencing new things have been a part of culture after we were married in 1983. We always camped, a tradition begun and flourished by Dave’s parents. This was a great tradition that was shared by Dave’s sister and family and we drove many miles throughout the US and Canada on many trips in seeing our amazing country. We went out farther with our two girls when they were a little bit older by spending a month traveling through Europe, exploring and seeing so much including a number of Sharon’s relatives living in the Netherlands. We even visited the school where Sharon spent her junior year of college in Vienna, Austria.
Our girls have continued their travels and wanting to see the world by going to Romania, Ghana, China for two years for Lisa, Ghana again for a semester for Kristi, and even South Africa.
So maybe it’s no wonder that Sharon and Dave would like to experience even more of the world. We have been to St. Maartin, Riviera Maya, did a few cruise ships in the Caribbean and have chartered sailboats on three occasions in the British Virgin Islands, in addition to occasional trips to Boston to see our youngest daughter, Kristi.
All this leads to our sailing adventures. We purchased a small 14′ daysailer back in the mid-90’s and traumatized our girls on it on numerous small local lakes – it took us a while to figure out how to actually sail! We purchased a 25′ Catalina trailerable boat in the late 90’s and then upgraded to a Catalina 36′ sailboat in 2002.
In 2014, on a return trip from South Haven to Muskegon aboard the Catalina 36, Leigh Marie II, Sharon and I asked each other: “What if? What would it take? What would it take to get a different boat that could carry us even further than our Catalina did.” We had spent hours and days aboard Leigh-Marie II and traveled farther than we ever imagined aboard her in the past 10 years. We had gone up to Petoskey, across Lake Michigan a few times, down to South Haven a couple of times, not to mention countless day/weekend trips to Grand Haven, White Lake and Pentwater. But what if we had a boat that could go even farther? “What if? What would it take?”
We listed Leigh Marie II for sale at the end of September 2014, and our research started. It included stepping aboard a number of other boats to help determine what we wanted, and didn’t want in a boat. It also included a lot of searching online. We found the better we knew what we wanted the fewer the choices that were out there. We looked at a boat in Chicago, one in Muskegon, rode through Wisconsin, went aboard one in the Detroit area, but eventually found a Beneteau 411 named Miranda in Kingston, Ontario.
Yes, it was a long way away when we went out to tour her! But what a boat! It was built in 1999, resided in Florida for the first 7 or 8 years, and then came up to Canada. It was a considerable upgrade from our 1984 Catalina, and it was in great shape. The former owner had lists for everything and was a master at labeling things! Definitely suits me well!
She became ours in December of 2014, and we drove back in April of 2015 for the sea trial and to pack her up for her trucking to Michigan. She departed Canada on May 4 and arrived in Muskegon after an adventurous trip through the border on Wednesday, May 6.
We spent the summer of 2015 getting to know her and learning so much. One thing we learned on her right away happened when she didn’t start the first weekend. The wire to the starter motor came loose, probably wiggling loose while in transit. Thankfully it wasn’t an issue getting her to the slip the first time!
We are now looking at upgrades and going through the boat more thoroughly this summer to prepare her for the future. An electric anchor windlass is the big thing this year.