Life on Trawler Clare is good – what I love about this lifestyle❤️

Morning swims fresh out of bed, and the chance to jump in and out through the day and evening to cool down and clean up. Particularly appreciated during this hot summer we are experiencing. Now that we are out of the Hudson River and Erie Canal, the waters have been clear and refreshing, not super chilly like Maine! A few laps around the boat loosens my stiff RA joints and gets me going.

Quiet time with my bible, reading, and tea each morning up on the “bridge,” the upper boat deck. A peaceful beginning to the day, and we get some planning of our route completed before anchors up.

Exploring new towns and cities by walking, biking, or guided tours. We are fascinated by new areas and new places to learn about. We’ve enjoyed poking around on our own, biking the local bike paths, and taking a guided trolley tour of Kingston ON to get the big picture of the city. We may not pass through these areas again – check them out while we can!

Cape Vincent NY was a lovely coastal town to explore!

Walking, hiking, or kayaking to discover the new islands, bays, lakes, rivers in different states and countries. We try to get off the boat daily not only to stretch our legs and explore on land, but also taking Clare into off-the-main-path areas. The Bensley gunk-holing trait continues and we’ve found some hidden gems along the way.

Diving into the history, culture, geography, and people of the new places along the route. We read books about each area, consult numerous guidebooks, visit historical sites, and ask numerous questions of the locals. The lock and marina staff are extremely knowledgeable as well as generous and helpful. And people love to chat about their hometown area.

A hike up Rock Dunder, overlooking Morton’s Bay and, literally, Dean’s Island

The people we’ve met along the way and the friends and family we’ve traveled with. Striking a conversation with other boats, other Loopers, people on the docks or the lock staff, or people on the towns and cities has been a highlight. As I’ve said before, Dean is super social when immersed in the boating culture and takes every opportunity to strike up a conversation. We learn so much from the people whose paths we cross, even if just for a moment or two. And time with those we love who take time to visit us is a gift from the boat. Away from most distractions and isolated to 36’ for days, we have time and opportunity for meaningful conversations and laughter that sometimes get missed. Additionally, we’ve made some new boating friends whose friendships hopefully will endure past this trip.

After a month, our paths diverged and we said goodbye to our fellow Monk friend, Steve.

The “slow trawler” voyaging. Our dear old (1988) trawler Clare is a beautiful but slow girl, and I am thankful. She is not built or equipped for speed, so we get to travel at 6-7 knots which is a wonderful way to see the world. We also have heeded the advice to avoid a tight schedule, and thus can travel slowly and pause as we wish. Because we are Looping (traveling the Great Loop) in segments over a few years, rather than one+ continuous year, we have the gift of time and don’t have to rush the northeast portion to start heading south before the seasons change. Life in the slow lane is good.

Lock dock stop

Simplicity – easy uncomplicated and fresh meals. The available ingredients on the boat are basic due to limited storage, refrigeration, and availability. We want to keep cooking (and clean up) to a minimum while we enjoy each new anchorage, dock or mooring. That carries over to all our daily routines, since we are equipped with sufficient yet simple supplies, in the fashion of our dear friends the Elkinds, who travelled across the Grand Route 5 in Europe last year with only what they could carry in a backpack. What is really necessary? This boat feels luxurious by comparison.

Time to reflect, write, read, and photograph: these are activities I like to do when I have the time, but seldom make them a priority when I am home because of the busyness of life. I enjoy capturing beautiful things in Creation as well as preserving memories. Writing, for me, is a means of processing and remembering, a means of encouraging others and saving important stories. I enjoy the process and sharing with others. I love to read fiction and nonfiction, and usually have several books and one Audible book going at a time. Between boat activities, relaxing and reading in the sunshine is wonderful.

“Either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing,”
~ Ben Franklin
as quoted in a bookstore window in Clayton NY

The view out my windows from the galley kitchen and salon as I go about my tasks, the ever changing landscape as we move through the water. I find cooking prep and cleaning tasks much more enjoyable in our trawler home.

Last, but far from least…

Time with my husband and sharing this journey together. Dean has always wanted us to do an extended adventure and is happiest on a boat. I savor the time with him and the impromptu discussions and observations. We’ve had many reminders throughout our relationship, especially recently, that life can change in an instant so we opt to embrace each day with joy. Even though we are often no more than 36 feet apart for days at a time, life with him is wonderful and easy – I am truly blessed.

To be honest, there are a few things I do miss

  • Our sons and their wives and family and friends – although frequent phone calls and video chats keep us feeling involved in their lives. Thanks to all who join us and call!
  • Traditional family activities that we’ve done for years, some for generations, such as our Prouty team bike/walk fundraiser for cancer research, our 3 generational weekend at Camp Merryweather, birthday celebrations, and just doing our usual activities in the Maine coast area.
  • My Peloton bike, my source of ~ daily exertion 🚲 that keeps my joints fluid and my muscles strong; I have found replacements with kayaking, swimming, walking, and exercises, but I do love my Peloton bike and community. It waits for my return.
  • Easy access to whole plant foods – for health reasons, I eat a careful WFPBNOSGF (whole food, plant based, no oil/sugar, gluten free) diet to help control my autoimmune disease. Finding non dairy and gluten free alternatives is tricky as we travel, and sometimes the fresh veggie and fruit choices are limited, but keeping meals super simple helps.
  • My coworkers and the families I serve as a pediatric physical therapist – BUT I know they are in good hands (literally) and thanks to Facebook, I get to see their continued accomplishments. Miss you all!

Wouldn’t trade this trip to regain any of these at this point, but have a new appreciation for them. For now, we travel on and are thankful.

By the grace of God we go,

~ Karen and Dean

Wonder where we are? You can find our daily travels via our Nebo log here

Categories: Canada, July2019Tags: ,


  1. Love reading about all your adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing. Very interesting. And a very interesting read. Thank You. And Enjoy. George IN CENTRAL NEW YORK STATE


  3. Hey Karen & Dean! I enjoy reading about your amazing adventures ~ I know Chris is looking forward to joining you! Xoxo Ellen 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: