Its absolutely true.. Party of Five is approaching our 1 year anniversary of moving aboard. On March 23 we will officially cross that mark. Things have come and gone, we have learned to sail (better), miles have passed under the keel, we have met fantastic people, our family has become closer. Looking back, it has been amazing… However, I have decided to dedicate an entire blog post to our 1 year anniversary. I just wanted to bring it up here as I was struck by the changes we have seen and I realized its only been a year!
Speaking of changes….. Life aboard a sailing boat is all about changes. The country we are in changes, the water we float on changes, the beaches we see changes, hell even our view changes on an hourly basis as we swing on anchor! However the changes that have the biggest impact on our life is the people. As you can imagine cruising is very fluid and people come on go on a weekly, if not daily basis. Cruisers are moving up or down the island chain. Running to see this island, setting off to meet family over here, short notice moving somewhere to get work done. However, although we spend a bunch of time waving at boats that fade in the distance, we almost never say “Good-Bye”! The Caribbean is small(ish) and has many “catch points” where cruisers congregate. Almost every time we wave at a departing boat, we know we will see them again somewhere in the chain later in the season.
Unfortunately, the thing with a “season” is it has to come to an end. All those nights at anchor enjoying the beauty add up and before you know it, the season has marched on. Plans need to be laid, tracks need to be planned, provisioning needs to be done and sadly “Good-byes” need to be said. Although we are only just over 1/2 this cruising season the carefree days are coming to an end and real plans need to be laid. Tough questions can no longer live in the recesses of our minds. Procrastination is ending and we are forced to answer the tough questions.
– What is the plan for the remainder of the season?
– What remains to be seen!
– What work is still crucial to finish.
– Are we still enjoying it?
– Are our kids being educated, or are we failing horribly as teachers?
– Where is the plan for next year?
– Beyond that?
Now imagine.. All the boats we know or see are asking themselves the exact same questions and we all have different answers. This has set a completely different tone to cruising recently. No longer are we waving “farewell” to other boats, we are finding that we need to say “Good-Bye” now. Real “Good-Bye” where we really don’t know if we will ever see those friends again. Of course we are the slackers of the group and haven’t answered those questions above. Worse, each “Good-Bye” seems to affect our momentary outlook on those questions. A rollercoaster ride of happy, sad, worry and even jealously as people we have come to love and adore follow their own paths. The last 2 weeks have been particularly hard as we had to say 2 actual “Good-Byes” to long time buddy boats that we respect and love (Avanti and Syrena). Both those boats have left a void. Both boats contain amazing people that have done amazing things long before they every decided to head off to sea! We feel lucky to have had our lived enhanced by them.
However the departure of those 2 boats have not only left a void, but sent our thoughts an plans into a tailspin. Avanti and Syrena have chosen paths at complete opposite ends. Syrena has decided to move onto other adventures and are making their way back to the USA for an end to the cruising life (a boat sale). Oppositely, Avanti pointed their bows towards Panama and plan to transit the canal, then head off to adventures in the south pacific. Now you would think that talking at length with both of them about their plans and reasons would help in directing our decision. Unfortunately NO, it has only added to our indecision!
Sigh… I know I know.. We are lucky to be stuck in the position where we need to make that decision. As much as I agree, it doesn’t make it an easier decision to make. I find it so much easier to sit here reminiscing about the things we have seen, experienced and learned. About the people we have met and how they changed our lives! I know eventually I will need to “Man up” and make a decision, but today I’m, content to remember some of those moments as the sun slowly sinks over the stunning Caribbean sea! Sit back, have a drink and enjoy some of those moments with me!
P.S. This is just a small taste of our one year post!