Go With the Flow...

Go with the flow... We are quickly learning that this is the state of mind we must adopt if we are going to be sailing and living on a yacht in a country that is not our home. Everything takes longer than expected and is more challenging to sort out due to a lack of understanding of the French language on our part, and differences in French business practices (love that the French take a two hour lunch break, except when we urgently need something between 12 and 2 and have forgotten they do so… c’est la vie!). At this point, we had expected to be underway on our sailing adventure, but as I said, everything takes longer than expected. When we are told that the mechanic will be by to fix the AC/Heat unit tomorrow, it really means maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day, maybe in 5 days, or many never. Or when we expect a new boat key to be made in a few weeks, but it actually takes a few months. And then it finally arrives the day after we were supposed to set sail. Qui sait?! 

Anyway, all of this is to help explain why it has taken so long to get our blog out there. Our Starlink dish arrived approximately a week or more later than anticipated. (There is a whole saga around this, but that story is for another time). Alas, we are now linked in to the world again and are able to share our future adventures with any who are interested.

It has been three weeks since Neil, Finnegan and I left Toronto on April 4th, heading to Montreal in our rental van with 6 large suitcases/hockey bags, two carry-on suitcases, two backpacks, and a dog carrier. It was a lot of stuff, but not the full amount we anticipated taking with us. However, after two additional bags were declined when checking in online with Airtransat, we frantically had to repack to condense the load. Al and MP, at this point, graciously stepped away to give us the full use of their living room to reorganize (or maybe they were prudently taking shelter in fear of the potential outcome of our heightened anxiety). Apparently, one cannot take extra bags despite being assured when the booking was made that this was not a problem as long as we pay. A few tense phone calls to customer service revealed that one cannot take extra bags, but one can overstuff/oversize the bags and they would not be rejected. So, that is what we did! We were ready to go, at least physically.

Emotionally? That was a different story, at least for me. After a week or more of very difficult “good-byes” to friends, family and especially Julia and Ben, we were underway heading towards Montreal in a snowstorm. Our spirits were a bit subdued as I believe we were all absorbing the reality of what we had been through to get us to this point. (More about that to follow)

Many times I have been in airports and seen people with their luggage carts piled high with large suitcases and bags, wondering to myself what their upcoming adventure would entail. We were now those people with two carts loaded and a dog in tow. I cannot praise the Airtransat employees in Montreal enough, and still wish I had taken the name of the young gentleman who checked us in and carefully went through the procedures for checking in our third child, Finnegan. I, as many of you know, was very worried about how he would handle the experience of being in a crate for up to 9 hours (or maybe how I would handle having him go through it!). After a vet-approved dose of anti-anxiety medication, for Finnegan not for me (although the other kind woman who was checking in her dog did offer me a pill), we were told to bring him back to the check-in counter 2 hours prior to our flight in case of delay. And a delay there was. It was only two hours, but that would have been more time away from Finnegan, so I appreciated their procedure of making us wait on the pre-security side until that two hour pre-flight window. We were taken to the “Oversize Baggage” area to have the crate security scanned and to have Finnegan, with his Airtag on his collar, placed in the crate which was then secured with strong ties. The security guard, who fancied himself as a bit of a comedian, kept the mood light while the previously mentioned, very kind agent walked me through the process of boarding Finnegan on the plane. Airtransat’s procedure is to attach a yellow tag to the crate that is given to the owner (me) in the cabin prior to the plane’s departure. I was told, “If you don’t get that yellow tag when they are closing the doors, you stand up and start yelling”. Thankfully for Neil, I did not have to resort to making a scene, but after a lengthy wait I did inform the flight attendant that I was expecting the yellow tag. He assured the anxious mother that all was in order and they were aware there were two dogs on board. In the end, the tag was produced and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that at least Finnegan was with us. Meanwhile, Neil watched a movie…

All arrived safely in Marseille - two backpacks, two small suitcases, one large suitcase, three hockey bags, two humans, et un chien dans une caisse pour animaux. Finnegan rolled along the oversized baggage conveyor belt appearing quite calm until he noticed us and then the barking began. We couldn’t get him out of the crate fast enough. He was extremely excited to see us, jumping into my arms. This was immediately followed by a good drink of water, a few treats and then all was in order as if the experience of flying, good or bad, was all forgotten. We had a very tired puppy on our hands.

We were now in France on a beautiful, warm and sunny day on our way to pick up the rental van that would take us to the marina where our new home, VikingBlod, was waiting to welcome us to our new way of life.


  1. Oh my! What a start to an exciting adventure! Can't wait to follow this journey!

  2. Congratulations on starting your new adventure! You guys are courageous! I hope you are going to add more pics and a description of the new boat.

  3. Sounds like an adventure already. Wishing you and Neil a safe journey and look forward to reading about your adventure.

  4. Hey Carole, Neil and Finnegan! So glad to get an update on how you are settling in to your new adventure! It seems like your experiences are similar to Savannah! Here, we call it "Slow-vannah". Contractors, workers, everyone is on a different clock! Just go with the flow! I know you are anxious to get on with it, but everything will fall into place, all in good time. I am looking forward to future posts and perhaps some pics of your new home once you begin your journey! Laissez le bon temps rouler! Safe travels!


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