Starting in 2010, we raced Serafina, cruised Northwest waters, and worked on her. After four years of sailing in the Northwest, we felt ready to go to sea in our little boat – which coincided nicely with us both being able to withdraw from our jobs.
Since then, we’ve sailed over 20,000 miles in open ocean, we’ve seen unforgettable sights and we’ve tested our own strengths and weaknesses. It has been a way of life for us, and offered unique experiences – one of the most striking of which is being at sea at night, hundreds of miles from the nearest street lights (or sometimes, for that matter, from the nearest human being), and seeing the brilliant night sky nearly as it looked thousands of years ago. Orion seemed follow us – our buddy at sea, and we always welcomed his appearance. Dolphins, fish and sea turtles moved through the water around us.
But it’s maybe important to say that, while the natural world is still out there, it doesn’t care whether we come or go, sail or sink. It will go on with or without us, despite how important we humans feel we are…
Travel on a small boat is very different from modern life on land. Mostly, there are no white lines on the road, no marketing, no officials, no interest in money. Sun, safety, wind, drinking water and food are the things that tend to weigh on your mind. And we were so fortunate to have Serafina as our stalwart companion. It’s been said before, but we were never afraid that she would let us down. Stable and sturdy, yet graceful, she was steady as a rock in all conditions, facing wind and seas without fear or fuss.
But we definitely didn’t do it alone! Hannah Stapleton traveled further with us than anyone else, and was a wonderful and creative crew member. But there were many! Just to list those who sailed with us on our Seattle to Sicily adventure, besides Hannah, there were Andy Seglins and Anita Straupenieks (several times, including in the Panama Canal and later in the Ionian Sea!), Luis and Janice Buen-Abad (twice), Sean Callahan, Sean Regan, Dan Crookes, Cato Genneper, Sarah Stapleton, and Ellie Workman.
Once we were in Sicily, we had many visitors and co-sailors, including Matt Kutys and Sarah, Bill and Paty Glancy, Anita Petersen and Tanja Petersen. Then there were people who helped along the way – Ove Aspoy and Bitsy Snipper, Howard Petrick, Lisa Glancy, Pete Seidman and Nancy Cole hosting us in Miami (several times!), Anita Straupenieks doing weather for the Atlantic crossing, Mark Halgren keeping us in contact, Kerstin Frenzel in Spain, and other friends and family who tolerated our distance and helped in other ways – too many to list without leaving out someone important.
We met interesting people, often helpful and generous, everywhere we went, and made some wonderful friends along the way. Among the many fellow boaters, two stand out, Morten Hustad and Anne-Inger Bae, not only for their friendship, but for having given us many miles on their boat in the rivers of France!
This in no way diminishes the many other fine people we have met, and bonded with in one way or another, including warm and generous Siciliani in Licata and not-so-Sicilian Licatans like Ruth Frick and Ueli Schwotzer. In particular, one of the great accomplishments of the trip was our introduction to Licata, Sicily, where we have felt welcomed, entertained as well as challenged, and introduced to an ancient culture that still exists in the hearts of so many here. The marina staff has been great (Maria and Mara – that means you!) and our five-plus years based in Marina di Cala del Sole have been a treat. We have also had many visitors here in Licata, all very much appreciated!
But Serafina has been the real star of the show. Now she’s ready for some new adventures, as are we, with a grandchild arriving, the pandemic hopefully waning, and many options to explore.
Now that this adventure has come to its natural completion, and now that Serafina has a new owner, we’re staring at that fork in the road. What’s next? We have competing pulls on our hearts – family and friends in the US, family and friends in Europe, and a continuing passion for the sea. We’ll have some decisions to make about how to live in a way that gives us access to the most precious things in our lives.
Serafina has a new owner and caretaker, Samer Elias. Here’s some information about him – http://www.eliasleadershipandrescue.com/ – although he apologizes for its being slightly out of date.
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