Be a Light...

“I can be a light, you can be a light, we can be a light to the world…” 

It is a song that our kids have been singing since their first Sunday School classes, and it is still one of their favorites to belt out loud.  For a preview, look up Sweet Tart in iTunes, and you'll find the smash hit! 

Each time we sail into a new harbor we are guided by a lighthouse.  Not at night, thank goodness, but during the day.  They are just as helpful a navigation tool when I can spot them on land and then compare it with the charts.  There is something reassuring about coming into port and seeing a lighthouse there.  A beacon that has stood on that very spot for many, many years, guiding boats to safety and welcoming their passengers.  Every time we pass a new one, I cannot control my need to photograph it, even though there is no way I will keep track of where or when I saw every single one.  They demand a photo, and I have no choice but to oblige.  I hope I won’t bore you completely, but I’ll just include a few.

Brant Light
Tarpaulin Cove
Gay Head
Wood's Hole
Cathy and Charlie from s/v Surprise
The past couple weeks we have been guided and welcomed by more than just literal lighthouses.  When we docked our dinghy at Edgartown Harbor in Martha’s Vineyard, we were shocked to see our friends from s/v Surprise standing there!  It was not planned, and they were just as shocked as we were to simply happen upon each other!   We had met them months ago in the Atlantic Cup Rally from Tortola to Bermuda, and we really enjoyed their company.   That night we met at The Wharf Pub and Restaurant for dinner.  

They were suddenly our lighthouse.  The next day they gave us a full island tour and invited us over to their home.  I was thrilled when Cathy asked me to bring over any laundry that needed to be done!!  Fellow boaters just get it!  We have a very small washer/dryer combo on board that works wonderfully, but can only wash very small loads at a time, and each load takes almost 2 hours.  So while the laundry was tumbling, we got to chat with them about their cruising in Maine and really pick their brains about where we should visit while we’re there.  The Maine Coast Cruising Guide by Taft ( was brought out, as well as a game of Candyland for the kids, so everyone was happy! 
Wampum jewelry
While touring Martha’s Vineyard with Cathy and Charlie, we saw each little town on the island.  Each one had its very own character and charm.  We saw the cliffs at Gay Head in the town of Aquinnah, where a man from the Wampanoag tribe sells wampum jewelry.  Rings, beads, and earrings are made of the purplish colored quahog clamshells found on the nearby beaches.  The Wampanoag people lived throughout New England, and it was this tribe that helped the Pilgrims at Plymouth learn how to live off the land.  The kids have been studying all about them, so it was great to see the jewelry up close. 

As our tour continued, we came to the bustling little town of Oak Bluffs where the kids got to ride the oldest carousel in the country at Flying Horses, and then we walked through a quaint area full of ornate gingerbread-style cottages.  

Michael collecting the rings on the antique carousel!
Look at the details!  Over the windows, around the roof!  So cute!
This one looks like the perfect dollhouse!  And people live in all of these!
And a tour of Martha's Vineyard would not be complete without some mention of Ted Kennedy's connection here...

This is the ferry that brings people back to Edgartown from Chappaquiddick, the famous island where the "incident" with Ted Kennedy occurred.  Here's the story, if you're interested.
Martha’s Vineyard was beautiful.  The landscapes are varied and unique.  The New England charm is palpable.  But it would not have been nearly as en’light’ening ( I know, forgive me, I couldn’t resist) without our unexpected time with new friends.

Our next stop on our journey along the Massachusetts coast was to visit a couple that Mark has known through work.  Mike and Kimberly live in a small town of about 6,000 people called Mattapoisett. Their lovely home looks out onto a small bay in which we moored.   Their 8-year old daughter and Elizabeth were fast friends, and once again, I felt guided and welcomed to a new place.

Playing with the "Wing on Wing" sail configuration
Mike and Mark were like little boys as we set out for an overnight in Tarpaulin Cove.  They were trimming sails, tacking, and navigating every second of the trip.  

The kids loved the playtime with their daughter, although Michael did get a bit left out when the American Girl dolls came out!  Elizabeth wanted “girl time”, and I can’t blame her.  One of the tough things about our adventure is the isolation from others and yet the overexposure to each other.  I was just as excited as Elizabeth to have “girl time” with Kimberly!  When we came back to their house we were invited to do laundry, go to the grocery store (with a car - which is a huge deal, since we’re usually schlepping groceries by hand, taxi or city bus!), and then I even got a pedicure on our last day visiting!  Kimberly and I got to know each other quickly, and I relished all of the girl talk we got to have.  

While we were anchored with them in Tarpaulin Cove, we kayaked, searched for “heart stones”, and enjoyed hiking to the lighthouse there.  The kids had a blast exploring the beach.  Again, so different from other beaches we'd been to.  New creatures, new landscapes, and lots of new discoveries.
Mike and the kids cruising in the kayak!
Exploring the shore of Tarpaulin Cove
Hiking to the lighthouse, trying to avoid poison ivy!
What goes up, must come down!  See Field Trip anchored in the cove?
Cool, slimy, hairy rocks.  Looks like Oscar the Grouch remnants!
Kimberly entertaining the very tired kids!  So glad to have another MOM aboard!!  

Mark noticed a familiar catamaran anchoring nearby.  S/V Hands Across the Sea is a boat that we learned about from our friends from s/v Stray Kitty (another Antares 44).  Hands Across the Sea has a remarkable story.  They are being a light to the world.  Their mission, after visiting many islands in the Caribbean and seeing the overwhelming poverty, is to provide new books to the school libraries there. 

Their story can be found on their blog (  We just had to dinghy over and say hello.  It was a pleasure to meet them, along with another cruising family that had worked with them while in the Caribbean.  Hopefully, we will meet back up with them and join them in their efforts to help the children of the islands.

Throughout this journey, we have been learning.  Learning how to sail, how to live in close quarters, how to adjust, how to slow down, and how to do this cruising thing.  And although we still have so much to learn, things have calmed down a bit.   I’m not as nervous as I was before.  So now Mark and I contemplate what our mission can be as we travel.  How can our family be a light to the world?  How can we make a difference for others we meet along the way??  It is such a blessing to be guided by all the “lights” we’ve met, but how can we be the lights to others?

A quote by William Bradford, the first Puritan Governor to rule in the original Plymouth settlement.

"Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many..."


  1. Greetings from a Greek islander.
    I really really like your blog. It's inspiring and full of happiness. My heart, my soul, my entire life lies with the endless blue of the sea and the sky...
    Keep up the good work!
    Take care :)

    ps: Sorry for any possible mistakes.

  2. Thanks so much for your comment. I showed the kids where Greece was on the map, and they were so excited to think that someone so far away was following us! We hope to someday get out there!!
    Take care, Sarah

  3. Hello! I've been following your website for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!
    Here is my web blog - Sandpoint waterfront FSBO

  4. Sarah, you are a light to anyone that knows you. You and you're family are as much a blessing to the people you meet as they are to you - It's shown on your blogs! The things and places you and Mark are showing the kids are as much a "small light" that will brighten the world going forward. Don't stress about the rest; it will come naturally. Love you, Tamara


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