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Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Blog, Sailing | 3 comments

Sailing to heal

Sunset view of the neighboring French boat

May 3, 2012, 10:15 p.m.

21º44.53 N 72º17.39 W Sapodilla Bay, Turks & Caicos Islands

This was the view from the cockpit tonight here aboard Wild Matilda, the boat I am crewing on for this trip down to the Virgin Islands. It’s lovely here in spite of the high winds that have kept us in port here for more than a week. We cleared out through immigration and customs on Monday and we have been sitting on the hook ever since, unable to go ashore, working on computers and reading.

While there hasn’t been all that much to do, this has been good for me because I am still feeling the loss of my little dog Chip, my buddy and partner of 16 years. I was thinking about him tonight and realizing that I had another dog when I got him and this is the first time I have been without a dog in 22 years. Our animals, be they cats or dogs or birds or guinea pigs do enrich our lives. Chip made me get out and walk, he made me laugh and there was nothing better than working while his little heart beat against my legs as he slept soundly on my lap. I was not so alone when he was alive.

For that reason, I jumped at the chance to do this delivery with my friend Bruce, to help him get his boat through this patch up nearly 800 miles of upwind work. We will leave in the morning and we hope to sail all the way to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, arriving sometime Monday morning. Sailing long distances keeps you busy around the boat and it takes time. Time is what I need to heal. To get over this inner sadness and hollow solitude.

Some folks would say it is silly to feel such an attachment to an animal. I certainly never thought of him as my child – I always knew he was a dog. But I believe we are able to create bonds across species, and I did love him. Without him around, I just don’t laugh as much anymore.

Fair winds!



  1. Touching story, and well written, sorry for your loss…when I first saw “Sailing to Heal” I thought it was needing to heal from being a writing teacher!lol

  2. Sorry to hear of the loss of your best friend. I can relate to needing the dog to keep you out walking. It’s just too lonely and pointless to go without him.

  3. Very sorry to see this, Chris. Losing a friend is a lot to deal with, and dogs really are great companions. Hope you can sail till your blues diminish, and hope to see you on the book beat this year.


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