When The Water Calls ... We Follow
By Jim and Lisa Favors
July 1, 2013
When the Water Calls ... We Follow is more than the title of our first book; it's the theme that has accompanied our boating endeavors during the last eight years.
When we left Charlevoix, Michigan in 2005 to cruise the Great Loop, a circumnavigation of the eastern United States waterways by boat, we never imagined where that trip would take us, physically, mentally, or sociably other than the obvious completion of a 6,000-mile boat trip. Eight years later, after having been live aboards for five years and logging approximately 20,000 cruising miles (and counting) while boating through 27 States, Canada and the Bahamas, we fondly look back to the beginning. It was at that time we first felt the gentle pull forward, like a steady unwavering magnet. Those beautifully calm and sometimes stormy waterways first enchanted and then quickly engaged us… to follow.
As we sit in our living room talking about how to begin this article we gaze out at the waters of Lake Michigan, only 300 feet from the front porch of our home. The discussion affords us time to reflect, reminisce, and perhaps be a little amused at the reality of how we've structured our early retirement lifestyle. We talked about how it often seems that if we are not on the water, close to water, planning for a boat trip, talking about boating or working on our boat, we are still not far away from the water's pull. Don't get us wrong, we have plenty of other interests including a growing family and many friends to balance out our given time on earth, but when we feel that draw, the one that triggers our growing wanderlust, we answer the call knowing it will keep in check our, not so secret, recipe for a healthy and active lifestyle. For us boating is a lifestyle choice not an activity.
A coupe of years ago we made some major changes to how we boat, we downsized to a 27-foot trailerable trawler. We both felt it was time for us to gain a little more flexibility in our explorations, we wanted to open up new avenues of boat exploration possibilities. We also wanted to establish a home base where we could reside when taking breaks from cruising, we wanted to work on balancing our lives by dividing our time between boating and time spent with loved ones. With the ever-present pull of the water still calling us we sensed our boating fix might be better satisfied if we were not tethered to large boat. Although we are just getting started (two years this August) in trailerable boating, we've already opened up and experienced new to us cruising grounds — destinations we could have never experienced without having a trailerable boat or chartering a boat on location. Inland lakes such as Lake Powell in Utah/Arizona and Lake Tahoe in California along with some time spent on the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon and a return trip to Puget Sound and San Juan Islands in Washington State were some of our first trailering adventures. We were also intrigued with the possibility of using our trailerable boat as an RV while traveling across country to a cruising destination.
We are not writers by trade, writing has been a learning adventure for both of us born of a great desire to share and inspire boaters or future boaters to leave the comforts of home to explore. We like to encourage our readers to take a break from their known lives to investigate other possibilities to grow and expand their horizons while embracing opportunities to enrich their lives. If you've read our Logs, Blogs and books you'll already know that this is the way it happened for us, we were inspired by another couple, long-distance cruisers from Seattle, Washington. Dale and Linda, on Bacaruda, shared information with us and encouraged us to take the leap; they said we could do it. It was all the encouragement we needed, we were both immediately on board with the idea though we really didn't know how we would do it at first, but we were determined to put a plan into motion. Fast forward three years, we were 1085 miles into our first Great Loop boat trip when we started to feel as if we were at the mercy of the alluring waterways we were traveling. The water underneath us, whether it was a lake, river, bay, or gulf, held seductively engaging powers, it captivated our hearts in a way that surprised us, we suddenly felt an overwhelming need to share.
We started a personal blog in 2005 to keep our family and friends informed of our travels and whereabouts while we were away from home. One of the hardest things adventures and travelers, at any level or method, have to do is leave someone behind. Although in the beginning, when we shoved off the dock to start our first Great Loop trip, we were reveling in the freedom and lightness we were experiencing as we headed into open water away from home, but the weighty absence of our loved ones soon followed. In the end, it was this feeling that led us to reorganize and re-balance our course a few years ago. We think our growing passion for adventure emerged when we began writing our personal blog — 75 days into our trip our enthusiasm morphed into the idea to produce a book, When the Water Calls ... We Follow, a compilation of 27 Looper's (boaters we met while on our first Loop) personal stories and experiences while cruising the Great Loop boat trip. We thought the many voices would make for a more powerful book presenting differing perspectives of the Great Loop adventure. We remember having a conversation about how special it was being a member of AGLCA (America's Great Loop Cruisers Association) and being part of a group of boaters doing the Loop trip at the same time. While on our trip we learned how invigorating each aspect of the cruising lifestyle was, especially all the friendly people we met whether on other boats, at marinas or on shore in the towns we visited. We were already planting the seed of becoming live aboard cruisers ourselves for a longer time period than the one-year we originally planned for. Simply put, we thought more people should know about what an exciting adventure it can be to become a Looper or long-distance cruiser.
It was soon after our first book was published that BoatUS presented us with an exciting opportunity, writing twice-monthly BoatUS Cruising Logs, covering our boating exploits starting with our Great Loop boat trip and two years ago our trailerable trawlering adventures. In 2009 another book idea formed while we were still living on board Kismet and spending the summer in the Chesapeake Bay area. Women On Board Cruising is a compilation of 25 women long-distance boaters who share personal perspectives and first-hand experiences of cruising or sailing around the United States or to other countries (one circumnavigated the world). By the time this current BoatUS Cruising Log is posted, a new book, Upside Of Downsizing To A Trailerable Trawler, will have been published, the beginning of our new EBook series on trailerable trawlering. The first book in this series will begin with how and why we made the decision to downsize. We also tried to cover all aspects of trailerable boating, from the truck, the trailer and the boat while including the inherent issues, benefits and flexibility of cruising with a trailerable trawler. We think trailerable boating is a choice more boaters will be making in the years to come and there are a lot of exceptional boats produced today to adequately satisfy the growing interest.
While writing this article we are pausing often to look forward to discuss some of the loose ends we need to button up before we take off for our next four-month trailering adventure. With four weeks (as we write this) to go before we head west, first cruising the Flaming Gorge on the Green River in Northeast Utah, then Puget Sound and up to Canada's Golf Islands, Victoria and Desolation Sound, we find the pull of the water calling us again. The excitement is almost too much to bear. With our anticipation level building, it feels like a balloon that's been filled to the max with helium and on the verge of exploding, a little dramatic you might think but nonetheless it's pretty powerful stuff for us. To relieve the pressure and satisfy our need to take in a few trips locally before we leave, we decided to plan a few pre-departure shake down cruises in and around our home cruising grounds. We look at these pre-departure outings like a cruising appetizer to the main Pacific Northwest cruising event. Now that we have some short and longer term cruising plans laid to rest we both feel a little more relaxed knowing we'll get our fix soon. This provides us the energy we'll need to continue household and land based preparation chores, something we'll be glad to leave behind as we head out, first trailering and camping on land as we travel across country, then on the water for four months.
With this new found energy, and with us both feeling as relaxed as we can get not being on the water, our minds changed gears a bit to reminisce about our past boating experiences. As mentioned earlier we have been serious boaters since 2005, when we left on our first 6,000-mile Great Loop adventure. We both feel we've been very fortunate to have been able to live our dream of being full time cruisers and live aboards for five years, cruising America, Canada and part of the Bahamas by boat. During this time we were able to capture our boating experiences into a chronological permanent record writing these twice-monthly articles for BoatUS over five years.
We feel no greater compliment or justification for our writing and sharing endeavors than to hear directly from our readers who have often taken a minute or two to let us know we inspired or helped him or her in some way. Many have emaiedl us with boating questions or have called us about cruising advice and more than we can count have stopped by our boat to visit us at a marina just to say, "Hello, I really liked your BoatUS Cruising Log on Lake Powell," or "I really liked the funny Log on propane" or any number of others. One couple, Louis and Diane Wade, on Bella Luna (if you've read our Cruising Logs for 2008 and 2009 you know who they are, we traveled with them often, they have since become good friends), came up to introduce themselves in Charlevoix, Michigan. They stated in a very friendly and thankful way, "Its because of you we're on this Great Loop trip." Another example occurred after we had towed our Ranger Tug south on I-75, through Atlanta, Georgia, on our way to Florida last year. A couple of days later we received an email from a couple stating they'd seen us on I-75 just outside of Atlanta and recognized our boat from our BoatUS articles. They went on to thank us for writing about our boating adventures. When we drove west to take possession of our new Ranger Tug R27 in 2011, we attended an MTOA Rendezvous in Gig Harbor, Washington, and another MTOA member couple made a point of letting us know they already felt they knew us from our BoatUS Cruising Logs. It appears we've made a slight impact on some people's boating lives in a positive way, we owe a lot of this to our relationship with BoatU.S as they gave us the opportunity and venue to share our boating exploits.
However, we would be greatly remiss if we did not state that as much as people have found our boating activities to be interesting or amusing, we ultimately feel that we are the ones who have gained the most from all the people we have met or communicated with over the years. Because of the writer/reader connection, we feel it's a two way street, we learned a lot from other people, mostly boaters who shared with us their own stories, experiences, accomplishments, tips, education and joy of boating.
As we think about the last five years of writing twice monthly articles for BoatUS we marvel at the range of topics we've written about. In 120 articles including this, our last, we've covered everything from the 6,000 mile Great Loop boat trip and all it entails, we've covered Canada's North Channel to the Florida Keys, the Abaco Islands, Lake Powell, Lake Tahoe, Puget Sound, Chesapeake Bay and San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest. We've covered the building of two boats, how to equip and operate a proper tow vehicle and trailer, provided numerous maintenance procedures and tips — the ins and outs of propane usage for one (one of Jim's funniest Logs), social and boat club events and so much more.
Did you catch our statement in the paragraph above? We stated that this would be our LAST BoatUS Cruising Log. No, we have not stopped writing or cruising, far from it, but after five years of writing articles, we felt compelled to make a change. Much like we've changed from being full-time cruisers solely living on a boat to now being part-time land dwellers who explore interesting waterways with a trailerable boat. It was just time for a change.
As stated above, water and boating are never far from our thoughts when we're not on, in, or around it. We can't imagine a life not spent on the water. As much as writing did not come naturally to us in the beginning, like our boating lifestyle did, we've grown into it, writing has become part of what we do and who we are, consequently it's also how others perceive us. Because of this and our desire to share and provide our tales of adventure in whatever capacity for our readers, our writing will continue, just differently.
We want to extend a few special thank yous, first to you, our faithful readers, where would we be without you? Next, we'd like to give thanks to Bernadette Bernon for all her support and encouragement over the years during our association with BoatUS Last but never least, we thank everyone we've worked with at BoatUS over the years and look forward to doing special projects and staying in touch.
As we continue to explore the United States and Canada with our trailerable trawler Kismet, we'll continue writing about the trailerable boating lifestyle and the destinations we've sought out. We'll persist in encouraging our readers to take the plunge to experience the adventure of long-distance boating for themselves. We'd love to continue to be of assistance if you need to ask a question or seek support. You might just be surprised where you'll find articles published that we've penned, but after reading this article one thing you'll know for sure, if we're not actively planning a future trip or traveling to a body of water we'll be out on it stretching our necks out to see what's beyond the next bend.
Please follow us on our next adventure this summer. We'll be trailering Kismet to the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Trip updates will be posted to our Trailer Trawler Life Blog.
See you on the water!
Jim and Lisa Favors