It is incredibly difficult to be back on Juniper without Scott. I stepped onto the boat and into the cockpit where he would hand me our bags from the dock. Where I would wait while he went downstairs into the cabin, making sure all is well. Where I would help him run the power cord to the dock box and get us plugged in. Instead it was just me, alone, staring down into the cabin’s silent dark abyss.

Juniper has been our home since 2015 and there isn’t a spot on this boat that’s without a connection to or a memory of Scott. He’s just everywhere on this boat. The nav station where he often sat working. Or the forward starboard salon that was his usual spot. The beer opener in the shape of an anchor he installed in the galley. Our ham radio custom call signs he laminated and taped up. The cockpit where he lounged with a beverage in the early evenings. Doing his boat tasks reminds me of him: hooking up the shore power and propane, filling the water tanks, turning on the breakers, checking the batteries and the bilge.

Then there’s the town. The malecón where we walked every morning. The familiarity of walking along the docks. The streets in town. We’ve been here for quite a while and getting coffee, tacos, picking up groceries at the local bodega or shopping at the Saturday Farmer’s Market means interacting with people who knew us, watching their eyes widen and their faces fall when I share the news.

When Scott first took me to see this 1999 Pacific Seacraft in Alameda back in 2013 he had already begun planning our future. I remember sitting in the cockpit listening with skepticism as he talked about cruising, sailing down to Mexico and up into the Sea of Cortez, doing the “Puddle Jump” to French Polynesia and visiting ports beyond. He was animated, passionate, convincing. He had already done his research and he’d been following cruising blogs for years. When I asked how long we would do this for he said, “until it was no longer fun,” quoting Lin and Larry Pardey, lifelong cruisers.

Scott loved sailing and he loved the cruising lifestyle. He loved the journey. But most of all he loved the freedom and independence it afforded us in life. Scott often talked about how the most valuable thing we have in life is time. It’s why we retired early and set sail at forty two. This freedom is what he worked so hard in his life for.

For five years Scott and I sailed and frolicked and ate and drank and laughed and talked and tinkered and traveled. We had the time of our lives with the love of our lives. We were grateful, thankful, lucky, very happy, and so in love. I’m thankful that I said yes to cruising, yes to this dream; that we didn’t wait until we were sixty five.

We weren’t done. We were still having fun. We thought we would have a lot more time.

3 thoughts on “Absence

  1. Viviane, I never met Scott, so I appreciate you sharing your story and photos. I am so sorry for your loss and hope that your beautiful memories help you during difficult times.

  2. This really hurt to read. I’m so sorry for your loss. We were good friends in high school. Always thought I’d run into him again someday:(

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