This is how I’ll remember her

Diana Jessie at the helm of Totem, tacking through a fresh breeze on Banderas Bay: smile on her face, wind in her hair.


We have lost a dearly loved member of our family.

Diana and her husband Jim came into my life through through Jamie: he originally met them while backpacking through Europe in the 80s. There’s a story that involves wandering the docks in Dubrovnik, and being irristibly drawn by a friendly hail to the pretty sailboat with “San Francisco” as her hailing port.

They’ve been an integral part of the fabric of our lives. It’s a simple fact that this life I love so much- choosing to live afloat, embrace a nomadic path, be proud of what makes us different- I owe to the Jessies, and to Diana in particular.

A spiritual mother, and a very grounded one, Diana opened the door for me. She demystified what felt like an unattainable dream. She was passionate about sharing a woman’s perspective and experience of cruising, to put open-eyed women in the drivers seat of what had long been a male-dominated realm.

As our life goals shifted to follow in Diana and Jimmy’s wake, she stood by and supported our steps to realize the dream. She was there to encourage us, to answer any question: some we asked, most she simply anticipated. She knew what we needed to hear, and she always had an opinion.

We knew that eventually we’d probably experience the loss of a loved one from far away, where we wouldn’t have the option to physically join the collective grieving and remembering process… the gathering to mourn and celebrate and share and heal that our culture uses to mark a passing. We knew it would be difficult. There’s just little irony in the fact that it was Diana who taught this lesson originally…to anticipate and make peace, as we lived every day to the fullest.

9 Responses

  1. My heart aches for you Behan. I only knew her through her writing, but I know the whole cruising community will mourn her loss. How blessed you were to have her touch your life in such a meaningful way. Hugs to all of you.

  2. What a lovely tribute, Behan. Diana will be missed truly missed. We had some wonderful walks together. Diana was truly a pioneer and great example for all of us.

  3. Oh Behan–I recall the moment of magic when I first met you IRL and realized you had Jim and Diana aboard as guests. I think I told you then–when we were cruising the first time we crossed paths with Jim and Diana. They introduced us to gin fizzes and Diana told me how I could make a life of cruising and writing–advice I’ve followed. She was a strong and giving woman and her legacy is something to be in awe of. Love you sweetie and there will be extra hugs for you on Tuesday…

  4. Well said Behan. I second all of that. She is part of the fabric of our cruising life as well. Sure made it less scary to leave the dock. Hugs to you and your family.
    Dennis, Carol & Josh

  5. A lovely tribute to a lovely woman – I agree with Ana, a Pioneer she was, leading us down a watery path full of awe and wonder. A raised glass to Diana , and to Jim. sv/ El Tiburon: Sarah and Darrell, and Sparky too.

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