Pictures: Pre-Trip Life

Living in Chicago can be a challenge in the winter. Here are a few reasons we're headed for warmer climes...

  Ken Shoveling Snow   Ken Shoveling Roof

Before we discovered sailing, we did a lot of canoeing in Quetico (also known as the "Boundary Waters") in Canada. Portaging over narrow, rocky paths and through mosquito-infested swamps can be challenging...

  Beth portaging in Canada   Ken portaging in Canada

But the fishing in Quetico was fantastic and the isolated, pristine wilderness was breathtaking. We were always excited to catch fish -- especially since we never brought along enough food. Walleye, pike, trout, and bass were delicious over a camp fire...

  Ken with 18 lb. Northern Pike   Beth with Small Mouth Bass

Even before we got the bright idea for this voyage, we had gotten interested in sailing. Our first boat was a Hobie 16 (which we sailed across Lake Michigan) and then we graduated to a Nacra 5.5SL...

  With MaryAnn Laird on the beach at South Haven, Michigan after sailing 'Northern Light' across Lake Michigan on our Hobie 16   With 'Horizon' (Nacra 5.5SL) at Illinois State Beach in Zion, Illinois

Later on we got involved in frostbite sailing. We'd sail El Toro's all winter long in Waukegan Harbor -- as long as the harbor wasn't frozen! We also tried some kayaking during the winter in the local rivers around Chicago, but it was always a challenge to find places to put in...

  Ken frostbite sailing in Waukegan Harbor, Illinois   Beth looking for place to launch Kayak during February in Chicago

Small sailboat racing was tons of fun and really helped develop better sailing skills. We also raced a JY15 in Waukegan Harbor during the summer...

  Ken and Beth sailing out of Waukegan Harbor on JY15 for Saturday regatta

We got our first large sailboat in 1996. "Havoc" was an Express 37, racer-cruiser and we had our share of adventures on her sailing Lake Michigan...

  Sailing 'Havoc' close to the wind   Beth looking for ships in the fog on 'Havoc'