Way back in April when Colin accepted his brother’s offer of work for a few months in our off season this day seemed so far away. At the time I was 7.5 months pregnant and the uncertain future of a COVID world was definitely making me nervous on countless levels. But, Colin and I are no stranger to challenges life can offer and we learned very quickly that as long as we have each other, we will always be ok because we will work whatever the problem is together. We watched as COVID struck at the mainland, filling our isolation time as well as we could and constantly tossing around ideas about what the future would hold and what we could and should do. We talked the subject to death as we worried for our ability to both provide for our family and protect our health but we maintained faith in each other, and God. As the COVID uncertainty settled in, those stresses were amplified by the fact that we did not know where we were going to be living over the next few months. We had been living aboard Breath, our gaff rigged ketch we are restoring but had decided to move to land for the end of the pregnancy and first few months of newborn world. While we look forward to moving back onto Breath in the future, something about no running water, no refrigeration, minimal power and more just seemed like too much with a newborn in the mix. Unfortunately, some problems arose unexpectedly with our plan and we were also trying to figure out another solution. At 7.5 months pregnant we honestly did not know where we would be living when the baby was born. But, sure enough, I was right to have faith. Colin’s brother reached out, saying “Colin’s always got a job here if he wants to come up to work for a little while.” The decision wasn’t even a question if I am honest with myself – even though we pretended to think on it. While we were/are nervous to leave St. John in hurricane season we decided going to work for that time made the most sense for a few reasons. Colin’s family all still lives in the town he was born and raised in, Sitka, Alaska and we are sadly rarely able to see them
because of the distance. The work is right up Colin’s alley, commercial diving, a field we have much affinity for and interest in. The ability to spend a long time with his family with our new son while Colin got in a couple months of work during a time where our boats wouldn’t be chartering anyway was perfect. Plus – with diving you’re always wearing a mask! haha! We decided we would wait till early August to go, with our son due in late May we felt it was worth it to see if we could salvage any bit of season and let Thatch get a little older before going on such a long trip.
By the time we reached mid June much had changed. We had found a place to call home for the interim and welcomed our son on May 3rd, 3.5 weeks early and started booking some charters for July. The plan was for me to come to Texas to my mom’s in late July and Colin to follow but of course, life had a couple curveballs to throw again and I had to come to Texas way earlier than planned. On 6/28 we said teary goodbyes and Thatch and I headed to Texas accompanied by my stepmom to help. The first month and a half of Thatch’s life had been quite a special time ironically much due to COVID. Since we had no work, Colin was able to be home with me at the end of the
pregnancy and give me the help and love my whale like self so desperately needed during that time. He was able to share so much more of those amazing newborn moments, from the constant cuddles to projectile pooping – it was all so much better with him there. Thanks to an amazing person friend with a heart of gold we also had a beautiful place named Alice By the Sea to call home during this precious time as well. Despite the fears of COVID travel, my mom and stepmom also made it to island and quarantined so they could be with us.
So, the beginning was like a little love bubble of newborn world, an oasis of calm in all the confusion and worry. But all that bliss promptly came to a halt as I traveled to TX and the realization set in I would not see him for at least a month. And even worse, that he would be missing any of these precious moments as Thatch grew. But, just as I said before, we do what we have do to and as long as we have each other, if only from a far, we will make it.
The month of July was….long. Very long. Colin was busy, working both on charters and getting all of our boats and life secured as best as we could to be away for hurricane season. Time just crawled for me, but I am sure the fact that I was up almost every two hours every night just might have had something to do with it.
(PS Single moms & dads out there – y’all all deserve a freaking gold medal and so much more!) But finally, last Wednesday, our family was complete again. My mind and heart must have been in some self protection mode because while I missed him terribly I didn’t truly realize how much until we have been back together again. Love truly is an amazing thing.
Tomorrow, the adventure begins as we board the plane to Alaska. We have done our very best in leaving our home, Breath, powerboats and all of our other stuff protected in the face of a hurricane season forecasted to be the most active we have seen in over 70 years. With everything buttoned up on St. John and packing and planning in full force here, we are looking forward to an all new experience in these next few months. We will be back on island by the end of October, ready to welcome a new charter season. From now until then, our crazy little family – including the Scup Pup, will be embracing a silver lining COVID bore. Our aquatic life will be a little cooler, but aquatic all the same. Where we are heading, things like humpback whales, grizzly bears, and gold panning are normal, a little change from snorkeling with octopuses and eagle rays but amazing all the same. Epic mountains with views of a lifetime, hikes along the sea, cold water diving, and so much more await. Although its totally different than St. John it is alike in that Sitka is one of those rare places that is mostly natural and untouched. I never would have dreamed this would be where we were spending our off season, but that’s part of the joy. And so, the adventure begins!