Smooth seas never make a good sailor. I feel like I can relate to this statement on so many personal levels throughout this journey of buying my first sailboat. A little background information on myself; I have always felt like I have salt in my veins in many regards over my life. One section of my life I was completely obsessed with spending hundreds of hours underwater via scuba diving (in tropical waters). I dedicated many years researching and studying coral reefs in some of the best diving destinations around the globe. This gave me the classic nickname of Mermaid Meaghan; due to the little oxygen I would consume on your typical dive. Next, I moved on to working on the water. Pulling easy 9-14 hour days, 6-7 days per week exploring and educating people all over the world about the wonders of the Salish Sea and all of the species that encompass it. The next stage of my life would only be complete by living on the water. You would think that I naturally had a specific sailboat that I had been dreaming of, with years of research on the ideal make, model, and size. Most importantly, a bank account that could support such an expense. After all, I did know what the acronym for BOAT was – Bring Out Another Thousand.
This is not how it happened. The complete opposite is more accurate. The reality was more along the lines of massive stress, taking a big risk and depleting all of my savings. To note - this all happened in less than 24 hours of finding out that this boat was for sale. I did not exactly dream of living on a sailboat, not so soon anyway. I had visions of being retired and cruising around the Gulf Islands with a Golden Retriever at my side and it all being extremely easy and carefree. I thought I had about another 30-40 years to get to this point. Reality check – I had overnight to get to this point if I was willing to take the plunge.
The real story begun just over three years ago. It was mid October, an old co-worker told me about a nice little sailboat that was for sale and suggested I take a look. She told me that the owner was doing a fast sale to move to Mexico and would be taking off in just a few short days. The problem was, I had just moved into a beautiful three-bedroom house near the ocean a few months prior, so I definitely was not in the mindset to do a major downgrade into a tiny shoebox on water– or was I.
I would consider myself the type of person that likes to take risks. They are somewhat on the calculated side, but I swear the older I get, the more I crave change. The thought of owning a sailboat opened up countless new adventure opportunities and an entirely new outlook on the Pacific Northwest (PNW) that I had grown a deep love since migrating here. I got extremely excited over this possibility. After making a phone call to my parents that reside in Calgary, Alberta (yes, I grew up landlocked) and pitching the idea, first I got a sense of “are you crazy” but with a bit of weighing pros and cons, it wasn’t long before I could hear a spark on the other end of the phone.
I did not sleep that entire night considering the owner was giving me the night to “sleep on” the decision. This boat had a few people in line for purchase, but I was top choice. I decided to pull the trigger that morning and purchase the 1989 Hunter 28’ sailboat. I was through the roof with excitement! Until reality started to slowly creep in and hit me hard, really hard. I did not know the first thing about owning a sailboat or even the slightest on how to sail one. After the purchase I realized that I had never physically stepped foot on a sailboat in my life, until I handed over the cheque and it was in my name.
So this is were it all started; having a deep passion and connection to the ocean and the conservation of it. This blog will be a collection of stories connecting individuals to nature. My connection will outline my journey on my love/hate relationship with my boat Spyhop. It will highlight the true reality of owning a sailboat, the many lessons I have learned (always the hard way) over the past three years. It will also celebrate the many small victories and grin worthy accomplishments.