Hello, I'm Henry.  

Welcome aboard my blog's home. 

If you come along with me, you'll become acquainted with my motley mates and faithful crew:

Experiences, Sightings, Observations, Impressions, Ideas, Reflections, Remembrances, Insights and Commentary.

They, after all, have accompanied me for as long as I can recall. Their tenure has helped me turn my tiller, fill my sails, and transport me over seas to distant lands. Maybe if you take the time to get to know them, a few will do the same for you.

Click this way and scroll along if you please...Enjoy your stay.   

Experiencing Essence

Experiencing Essence

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My friends often ask me what my plans are. My answer is usually my plans are always changing so I refrain from making them, I prefer to consider possibilities and decide when the time is right.  Of course, sailing anywhere requires many course changes.  Reaching any destination frequently comes with ups and downs, twists and turns, highs and lows. And any sailor knows in the course of life that the shortest distance between any two points is never a straight line. Some may reluctantly recognize, acknowledge or even accept life's destiny as rarely a definite destination. While humans may like to assume a foregone conclusion, uncertainty within a life's journey is a major certainty.  For instance, knowing where my compass is heading doesn't mean that's where I will end up. Sometimes I have traveled gone far and wide to discover where my heart resides. 

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As I sat buckled to the backseat on the way towards La Garde Freinet, Ray, our professional driver, weaved circuitously through Provence's La Mourre Mountain range.  Contributing to my dizzying condition was our hair-raising hairpin-turning, ravine-railing ride the last 30 kilometers to the village.

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In order that my stomach and intestines might persuade the half sandwich I ate earlier to stay put, I decided to unbuckle my seatbelt.  It was then I started feeling like a bruised, battered and beaten apple rolling around an empty fruit barrel, I was more than ready for our voyage, oh, I mean car ride,...to dock...oh, to park!

Sorry about my land departure...for a second there I thought I felt my lunch bob up and down my catamaran across the Florida Straits' Gulf Stream.

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 During a kindergarten class photo Lainie (bottom row left) and I (top row right) sat on the front steps of the Country School in 1956. Little did we know how close and connected we would become over 50 years later.

During a kindergarten class photo Lainie (bottom row left) and I (top row right) sat on the front steps of the Country School in 1956. Little did we know how close and connected we would become over 50 years later.

During the summer of 2017 Lainie and I began to correspond from afar - she in France and I ensconced on my catamaran near Miami. Somehow credit Facebook for bridging the time and space between old friends.  As elementary classmates we had more developed in common ways than we realized, but as we weaved our way into more 21st century familiarity, we discovered we had much more than a common birthplace and schooling.

So after a month or more of conversing, we decided to meet in the US when she returned to our hometown of Easton, Maryland.  Finally in the same time zone our innocent reacquainting banter seemed to spark a deeper connection. So instead of waiting until I was safely situated in the Bahamas, we decided to meet in the US.

When I couldn't find crew for sailing 1300 miles to the Chesapeake Bay to visit her, I instead chose to fly to Maryland to her and see if we had any in person chemistry.  So with the excitement of two school age kids we reunited at her Easton home around the corner from my birthplace. It had been almost five decades since I left the Eastern Shore for other adventures. In many ways it felt surreal that I was returning to where I grew up and fall in love with an old friend there.

As the two of us became better acquainted, we reflected on the circuitous route we had taken to join forces. I had sailed away from Key West a couple of months before Hurricane Irma arrived and decimated southern Florida.  Then the week before Irma arrived, I flew back to Florida to ready my Mystique for Irma. Two days before her arrival, I left her safely anchored near Key Biscayne. When my flight to Baltimore was cancelled, I was resigned and ready to stay aboard when the 100+ winds would engulf the Miami area.  While I had been in Miami for the previous October's Hurricane Matthew, the prospect of surviving a Category 5 hurricane on an anchored boat was much different from Matthew's 30 knot gusts.

I would never have predicted n 2017 I would sail away from Key West mere weeks before Hurricane Irma devastated it. hurricane blew down, swamped and saturated the area....that my boat would somehow survive 130-150 mph winds and torrential rains a few weeks later when many other vessels were lost. That I would drive 23 hours north and return to my birthplace.

 After our arrival, I slept for about 5 hours ....meanwhile Lainie slept an hour, shopped for some groceries, house-cleaned and then futilely attempted to wake me and then prepared our delicious dinner above. 

After our arrival, I slept for about 5 hours ....meanwhile Lainie slept an hour, shopped for some groceries, house-cleaned and then futilely attempted to wake me and then prepared our delicious dinner above. 

 On our first full exploration day, we drove up a nearby mountain near St. Croix to view Le Garde Freinet - a medieval village at one time guarding Provence in the 12th century.

On our first full exploration day, we drove up a nearby mountain near St. Croix to view Le Garde Freinet - a medieval village at one time guarding Provence in the 12th century.

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 Market day and the scented lure of local flowers.  Le Garde Freinet's village exuded a relaxed, carefree, friendly essence. This feeling was especially noticeable during Wednesday's farmer's market in the center of the village.  Her residents appear to live with a delightful simplicity reflected in their relaxed pace and delicious food.  

Market day and the scented lure of local flowers.

Le Garde Freinet's village exuded a relaxed, carefree, friendly essence. This feeling was especially noticeable during Wednesday's farmer's market in the center of the village.  Her residents appear to live with a delightful simplicity reflected in their relaxed pace and delicious food.  

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Now after a week in Provence, I have noticed French essence in almost everything. Sharing Lainie's petite maison, I found her essence in her French home.  Her aesthetic talents on display, her culinary skills at mealtimes, her stick-shifting skills on serpentine roadways and most of all her delightful intelligence, calm and congenial nature coupled with her infectious smile and laughter.  As I have enjoyed her companionship, she has introduced me to a mountains, markets villages, people, food, air.  No wonder southwest France is such a wonderland!

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 Love how the French honor trees when highways stand in their way.

Love how the French honor trees when highways stand in their way.

 On our second full day, we spent an afternoon sunning on Plage de E'scalat - a Riviera beach.

On our second full day, we spent an afternoon sunning on Plage de E'scalat - a Riviera beach.

 "Say CHEESE" - One of the TWO ALL cheese aisles at the E. Lecierc grocery store. 

"Say CHEESE" - One of the TWO ALL cheese aisles at the E. Lecierc grocery store. 

 A four-hour dinner with Brits Lorraine and Bob at the La Petite Fontaine restaurant in La Garde Freinet served the four of us essence. Our immediate connection was both refreshing and enlivening. Although I had just met them, we conversed like old friends.

A four-hour dinner with Brits Lorraine and Bob at the La Petite Fontaine restaurant in La Garde Freinet served the four of us essence. Our immediate connection was both refreshing and enlivening. Although I had just met them, we conversed like old friends.

 A healthy lunchtime salad at the Lainie's Healing House before the tasty coffee and dessert arrive.

A healthy lunchtime salad at the Lainie's Healing House before the tasty coffee and dessert arrive.

 Then two Tarte Tropeziennes accompany a decadent chocolate rectangle while we two ravenous diners anticipate their delicious yet albeit questionably unhealthy lunchtime treats.

Then two Tarte Tropeziennes accompany a decadent chocolate rectangle while we two ravenous diners anticipate their delicious yet albeit questionably unhealthy lunchtime treats.

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 The essences of life can be experienced on any bridge between sea and land.

The essences of life can be experienced on any bridge between sea and land.

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Ever since I started to follow my instincts and intuition....GO with FLOW, life has . In the journey, I discovered more about relationship and love than I could have imagined. And to my surprise, I gradually unearthed more about myself and my destiny as well.

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Observing Magnifique

Observing Magnifique

Following a Lead

Following a Lead