Thursday, April 20, 2017

Our easter blows!

My hair is airborne. Resenting it’s roots, it beats my face relentlessly. Medusa, spaghetti wars, the wind’s bad influence has made it all wild. I pry and pat and pull frantically, dragging strands from my mouth, trying to enlist my ears as clips. It’s all to no avail.

This is ‘our easter’. Not to be confused with the ‘other’ Easter; the Christian observance where a bloody cross is dragged through the streets, nor the highly commercialized holiday where children run around madly looking for eggs layed by a monstrous imaginary white bunny. And where there are chocolates. Lots of chocolates.

Though here in Bimini on ‘That Easter’ we did observe the massive cross being dragged up the one and only road that connects the two tiny towns. This one had a wheel at the bottom though, so, cheating really. We sat with the rest at Stuart’s Conch shack, our easter blowing the sharp stench of rotting conch shells toward the merry makers who listened to the local singer belt out his reggae versions of random songs. We all drank beers and for the brave, the infamous local drink, ‘Bimini Knock Out Punch’. 
No, our easter involves good old Mother nature. She has a vengeance against the west. Not the ‘West’ which refers loosely to countries like America, but in this case, down Florida way, she does seem to be ceaselessly battering the eastern shore. And it has been weeks. And we were there, trying to head east. In a sailboat. Doesn’t work so well. 

Though we did choose a day, motivated by visa concerns and the imagined worst case scenario involving coast guard and cops, not wanting to ‘overstay our welcome’; we made the first crossing into the Bahamas. And the ocean, wild and wavy, told us what it thought of that with a big bitch slap of salty water, right up and over the helm. The instruments, cockpit, even our indoor rug were all soaked. I stood there, dripping, shivering, completely indignant. Yet as the sea tends to teach, there is no time for self pity, I was changed and dried and back up at the helm for another nine or ten hours trading off and on with JW before we reached the safe harbor of North Bimini.

And here we are. Days and weeks have blown by. And boy has it blown. Our easter blows constantly. She is not concerned with the ‘one week off a year’ tourists up at the fancy rooftop pool of the Hilton. Those whose cocktails are pushed over, making sticky puddles that are then blown slowly across the fancy tiles… Where the infinity pool is splashing all the wrong places. Where the umbrellas are packed away for safety concerns.

Our easter has zero concern for our seasonal sailing plans, which involve leaving this tiny sliver of land and heading east. Oops. East. Sorry sailors, claims our easter with a wink. You won’t be going anywhere just yet! If you can keep your boat anchored without dragging like some of your neighbors in the face of my wrath, you have accomplished something! But sailing onward?! Ha!!! (She is heartless our easter).

And so we are here, the little A on the map. On this tiny island, 7 miles long, by only 200 ft wide, with a population of roughly 300. Plus us. 

The water is blue. The beers are cold. But the wind, she blows. 

We’ve had our first annual ‘talking heads’, however due to prevailing conditions, it was not in a bay on a remote island, but the huge hot tub of the Resorts World Bimini’s Hilton. We brought our own beers, the wind was provided.

We did sneak out of the inlet one day to investigate the Sapona, a massive concrete and steel wreck that was once a famous rum runner in prohibition days. Now, a tourist attraction and man made reef. But we had to retreat back to the relative protection of our bay. Our easter so demanded.

The weather sites are predicting a lull in the wind followed by a change of direction early next week. We’ll believe that when we see it, or sail it!!! For now, it’s not so bad to be stuck here; we found a Laundromat and refilled our propane tank. And we’ve got a beach and 5 pools to choose from. We can walk into town for cheaper beers and decent grilled meat by the roadside. 

We’ve heard the supply ship is coming from Miami today, so there might be something fresher than moldy $5 avocados. It will be the highlight of our day walking into town to investigate. Ok, maybe there will be a sojourn in the hot tub after that. Life is pretty good despite our easter. I just have to remember my hair ties!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Of luck and lateness and launches...

My eyeballs are pressed deeply into black rubber, protruding slightly toward the scene. As if I could perhaps tip right into the launch pad if I pressed the binocs into my face a little harder.
My elbows resting on the cool concrete of this beachfront condo roof, I am a million miles away, consumed by what unfolds before me. The voices of the other ‘observers’ around me fall away, lost in the nip of the evening breeze. For me this has become a personal show. A rocket is about to launch.

And as the cajoling and countdown subside, it takes over the world in a firelit spectacle. Millions of dollars and planning hours burst into the sky and head into space as a curly cloud of smoke lingers behind. A minute later the low rumbling of the take off hits our astounded ears.
We are ‘stuck’ in Cocoa Village Florida. The boat is sick. One of our two well used engines has been deemed dead. Irreparable. A transplant is necessary. And no one seems in too great of a hurry to get the replacement done. Once the reality sunk in that we actually needed a new engine, and choked down the horrendous ‘cruising kitty crushing’ cost, we were ready to have it over with and move on. Move south.
But two days have become two weeks and we have long overstayed our welcome on the free public dock. Our cabin/bedroom/engine room is a workshop of broken engine parts and our mattresses line the hull/hallway while we wait. And wait…

Our buddy boat had to bid us farewell and head further south, to meet up with others and continue the partying and reunions that we had planned. And each day we awake, wondering what this little town will have in store for us.
This morning we hatched a loose plan to catch the bus to the beach, take a nice long walk in the sunshine and take in some live music at an Irish fest.
By the evening we had met some amazing new friends, found ourselves in their gorgeous home sipping wine and eating organic wild boar that he had hunted himself, marinated in a rum barbecue sauce and served to us with some fresh baked Irish soda bread. We listened to music and planned the launch viewing up on their roof. 

This is our life. We make plans, things go wrong, then unexpected miracles happen. All the time. It is amazing and I will never take it for granted.
We arrived back on Shiloh after an epic Canadian road trip back in January with a plan to be out of the boatyard and into the Bahamas by the first week of February. But alas we are here, in central Florida in late March, sipping the richest café Americana at Ossorio Café, where the waiters now know our names. In a town we had no plans of spending a day in.
We have met up with a friend we once met in Grenada 4 years ago. His boat is anchored in our bay. He has taken us touring and for Wednesday night drinks with his buddies in town. 
People have reached out to us to console us on the break down of our engine. We have spent a moment or two wallowing in self pity over our predicament. But it’s all part of this amazing journey. Whatever we think is a curse becomes an adventure. We’ve got our tans back. The sun shines and there are long sand beaches to walk on. 
It takes an open mind and an open calendar. It’s freedom and it’s frustrating at times. But it’s a cruiser’s life and I’ll take it any day, or night for a rocket flight!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

When you don't have an address - the flip side of paradise

My nose is an icicle. Apart from my icy forehead, it’s the only part of me exposed to the artic air. Beside me the captain lumbers. He is a hibernating bear. If it wasn’t for his body heat, I’d have died during the night.
Outside there is the constant thwap thwap of some boat’s halyard’s and then she howls – the wind, through all the masts in the boatyard. It’s eery. And it lets me know it’s going to be even colder outside. God forbid one of us has to use a toilet. The walk across the yard is unfathomable.
 A week ago we arrived back in Florida, back to our boat. As we drove, we peeled off layers of Canadian winter clothes, migrated from coats, wool hats and leather boots to rubber flip flops. I announced the rising temps on our dashboard as we made it further and further south. And when we arrived, there was a full week of shorts and t-shirts and big silly grins on our faces.
But then winter followed us here, and it does not care about our lack of insulation. It doesn’t give a damn that when boats are on dry dock and you are silly enough to live onboard, you cannot use your own toilets and have to walk half a kilometer across the yard to use the grimy public ones…
We thought we were quite clever back in August, buying a car to take on an epic road trip – all to avoid working on the boat in the excruciating heat. We’d come back in January, we said. We’ll do the work in the cooler weather we said. Well here it is. I was far warmer in Canada on the minus 21C days. At least there was heat.
There’s a boat behind us that sits quietly for days at a time, waiting for it’s sensible owners who come down from wherever their home is, when the weather is good. And they work on her a bit, getting her ready for a season in the Bahamas, and then they go home again.
Home. It turns out that it’s not just a concept. Home is where the heart is, and all that. Nope. Those of us who have no home – except one that floats – come face to face with this all the time. “We live on our boat!”. “But where is ‘home’ really?”
For JW and I, the issue is even more serious. We have never lived together in either of our home countries. If we wanted to, it would involve a lot of immigration red tape. We lived in Ghana, we live on a boat. People thought it was exotic when we lived in Ghana, but this living on a boat?! We’re practically insane.
And to border patrol agents, we’re a couple of potential drug smuggling, tax evading, dirty-hippie, good-for-nothings.
We came through the border from Canada, like all the day trip shoppers in the queue of cars. And then we pulled up to the little window, handed over our passports and said those fateful words. “Where’s home?” “On a boat!”
“Please pull over to the right and enter through door 2.”
Oh no! And so we did. As all the people with homes drove through without incident.
Three hours later, we emerged from that interrogation shaken visibly. I wanted a cigarette and I don’t even smoke! I wanted a whisky too but had to make due with warm Diet Pepsi that I’d left in the car when we went through Door 2.
The moral of that story was ‘NEVER SAY YOU LIVE ON A BOAT.’ Even if it’s true. And if you are part of a couple where neither is legally allowed to live in each other’s home country, just give two separate addresses. Even if it’s not true.
It turns out that our officer-de-jour was hell bent on catching us out, proving we were smuggling something, evading something, living illegally in the states. Because no one lives on a boat, so we MUST be lying! In order to catch us out he interviewed us together, then threw a piece of paper at me and shouted, separated us and interviewed us with the same questions in different forms.
“Where do you work?”
“We don’t”.
“What do you mean you don’t work?!”
“Ok then, where do you pay taxes?”
“We don’t.”
“What?!!!! How can you not pay taxes?”
“Well neither of us work or own any property in either of our countries of origin and since we don’t live in any of those countries…”
“Stop, stop talking.”
“So,” He asked, with a snide demeanor, “you say you live on a boat?! Where is your home port then?”
“Toronto, in Canada, but the boat has never, and will never go there.”
“Why not?!”
“Well it’s too cold, and we’d have to pay duties and taxes…”
“So where are you going in this boat when you get to it?”
“WHERE in the Bahamas?!”
“Well it’s a sailboat, so hopefully lots of places.”
That was obviously taken as insolence. He was sooooo unimpressed.
“Where will you dock the boat? What will be the marina base?”
“None. We anchor everywhere.”
Big big eyeroll. “Go sit down!!!!”
He then called me up alone and asked me “what contraband items am I going to find out there when I search your car?!”
So, shaking in my seat, I admitted to the bag of pitted dates I’d bought at Costco a week before…
“What?! Dates?!” He guffawed, rolled his eyes and dismissed me. And the dogs descended on our car.
So nearly three hours after it had begun, he called us both to his desk and admitted he could find nothing to hold us for or deny us entry. And he confided in us, “If you don’t want this to happen every time you come into the states, don’t say you live on a boat!!!”
So there it is. Our lifestyle is socially and legally unacceptable.
And it sucks when we are in a boatyard too. Way too hot or in this case, bloody cold. I can see my breath as I write and my fingers are seizing up. Also, when we are out there on the ocean there are storms and bad seas. Lots of things suck.
It’s definitely not always paradise. But it is amazing. It’s freedom. And when it’s good it’s nature and beauty and long walks on uninhabited beaches. 
But not today. Not this month. All this work will lead to one of those days, though. And then it will all be worth it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Happy birthday from another world

My bum is numb. Most of my outer layers of skin have lost feeling, but for the random involuntary shivers. This hockey rink is freezing. Despite my efforts to stay warm – donning a full body sleeping bag/coat, thick stodgy Uggs, and matching teddy bear hat and mittens, complete with bulbous knitted nose and ears. Very chic.
I sip at my flask of pretend coffee, wiping the deep red wine stains from my lips after each little swig. I’m trying to fit in here and hoping my teeth aren’t noticeably purple/grey.

The parents in the stands jump and shout after each play. “Noah! Rebound control buddy!!!” It’s all very aggressive and serious. The players out there are 7 and 8 years old. The smallest one is my nephew.
It is our last day in Canada – unless the winter storm warning in effect delays us by a day. We’ve been here, visiting the house I grew up in, for over two months. At once I am sucked back into the rhythm of suburban winter life, and also repelled and alienated by the contrast to the life I’ve led for the past 21 years away.
My captain – so far out of his ocean realm, sits beside me on the stands, enthralled by the fast paced game on the ice below. His new cozy winter toque, pulled down over his ears, he blows into his bright red, dry and freezing hands in the futile attempt to warm them. I’ve dragged him here, into my family, my past, my people. And despite hockey’s foreign rules and cultural intricacies, he has fit right in.
Hot chocolate, egg nog, minus 21 temps. He’s shoveled snow, used the snow blower, poured warm water on our frozen car doors to get them open. Welcome to Canada baby!

I cannot believe it’s been 4 months since we left Shiloh and our sailing life behind – left her to face hurricane Matthew alone while we visited potato festivals in West Virginia and sampled Moose pie in Newfoundland. We 'oohed' and 'aahed' at the colours of the Cabot trail in Cape Breton, and marvelled at the 40 ft tidal swing at the Bay of Funday. We walked the red sand beaches of Prince Edward Island and sampled the world's best scallops in digby Nova Scotia.... Luckily Shiloh and her boatyard friends all weathered the storm without a scratch.

It’s been months since I had to steer the 15 ton boat up to a fuel dock, weather a storm, navigate a port entry… All my life stresses have been replaced by GPS driving stresses, finding motels, and finally juggling all the family and friend visits over the holidays.
Everything about life is in flux. Within a few days we will evolve from our hats and scarves to capris and flip flops.
Everything has been in flux – we’ve visited over 80 cities, towns, villages, islands in 2016. We are lucky. And yet the worst tragedy to befall a mother is my reality.
There is the matter of my six year old son, who today would be eighteen.
There are things I can reconcile – weather, financial strains, family differences, friends who disappoint.
But my baby boy – the one who coveted his can of red Pringles, who cuddled all the girls and declared that food is not food without rice! My Shiloh – who loved Power Rangers and Bob the Builder and Spiderman. My little guy, with stubby brown fingers and a soft blond peach fuzz on his silky little neck…  that he was born 18 years ago today. I cannot reconcile this in my feeble mommy brain. My mommy heart has missed the years between 6 and 18 where my boy would have grown, but where instead there was a void. A void within my heart, a place where the world stopped spinning and simply sat, dumbfounded by a loss so great.

So today, as I watch my little nephew barreling down the ice, caught up in the spirit of the game, I decide there is no reconciling the things that happen in this life.
We simply find ourselves in places in time and we must soak them in. We must exist in the here and now – all the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘could haves’ held at bay. Life is in this moment. This right here. The smell of warm chocolate contrasted by the bitter cold air and the cry of the overbearing parent.  The sour kick of red wine with the metallic aftertaste of the flask. My boy is gone but this boy is here, and he is life – all new and hopeful. And there is love that transcends. It holds families together, it holds us all together across time and space. But all we have really is what is in front of us right now.
I have memory, and love and family and the frivolous concept of plans. Adventures await.
For now, happy birthday my angel boy and Go Adam! Our boy of the day.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Stillness, sting rays and canned peas

I could count the hours until this is over. In fact that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for days. Within 24 hours we will be in international waters, leaving the Bahamas behind for the hurricane season, heading for Ft Pierce and destinations further north.
It could be said we’ve taken 6 months of Bahamian island hopping bliss for granted and now it’s all about to disappear behind us in a blue haze…
But that’s not true. The truth is that I pinch myself (well not literally) all the time. The things we see, feel, and are surrounded by are simply amazing. It does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Yesterday the sky and the sea merged. They came together, enveloping us in an endless loop of blue. And I had to catch my breath. No buildings, no boats, no ripple on the water. Just us and blue heaven. Even the air was sucked away.

It was an eery calm that inspired deep thought. Thoughts about what we do with all the moments of our lives. Existential thoughts. And then peace. Hot, sweaty peace. Didn’t even crave a rum cocktail ;)
It was 36C in our saloon and our tiny cabin fans spewed out hot still air that landed on us and blanketed us with sweat.
We had just circled Sandy Cay in the dinghy – our home island for the last few days. 

We hopped in the 35C water to cool off. LOL. And then we had visitors. Wild sting rays who swoop gracefully between our slippery bodies, hoping for an offering. 

It’s been 6 months – this year alone – in the Bahamas, and I still cannot be calm when they come around. By now I should be petting them or at least taking them for granted. But no – if you want to see fast movement, watch me as two 6 foot wide stingrays make a beeline through the still water at me. Holli lounging in the deep water becomes giant splash-kick-splash and voila! Holli safely up in the dinghy.
These are the challenges I face. For now.
Hard to fathom that in 2 days my challenges will include traffic and homeland security bureaucracy and too many food choices!
Right now we are on an ‘inventory reduction diet’. The freezer is empty and there hasn’t been a vegetable onboard for 2 weeks. We had stopped in the island/town of Grand Cay (population somewhere between 200 and 300), in hopes of finding a cabbage or a tomato to sustain us through our last week. But no. It was a couple cans of soggy-sodium laden pseudo-veggies. The trade offs of life in paradise. Scurvy. Call us pirates.
So after a supper of ramen and canned mush we looked out at the utter stillness. And as the sun set, somewhere beyond all the calm, a pink sky developed. Took the place of the blue, and it reflected on the water and once again we were enveloped in something so natural yet so ‘otherworldly’. 

How can we leave this all behind and surround ourselves with honking car horns and pollution and shopping malls and fast food joints with their garish coloured road signs, screaming adverts at us constantly?
It’s a sailor’s dilemma. We need the things from shore. We need towns and stores. But out here, there is another world all together. A world everyone should experience.
Forget the mosquitos, no-see-ums, rolling anchorages, lightning squalls, dumb founding heat, cramped quarters, moldy cabins, culinary sparseness… forget all that because tonight, our little mattresses and pillows dragged up front, as we lie out under the stars and slowly drift off to sleep with meteor showers above us, nothing else exists.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

TWISTER! What's next? Tsunami or maybe an earthquake?

I’ve never wished more for monstrous 350HP engines and a sleek fast speedboat in my life. I actually looked down at my leathery bare feet, dangling from the (too tall) helm seat, wishing they were red slipper-clad, and that my name was Dorothy, and that there was truly a Kansas I could wish to disappear to at that instant.
Minutes before, we had been heading out of Nassau’s hectic harbor, Shiloh chugging along slowly with her 40HP engines purring perfectly, as the ‘fast toy’ electric blue and Florida orange speed boats zoomed in and out by us, literally leaving us rolling in their wake.
We were sighing that sigh you sigh when you leave a city for the country on a weekend after a busy week. Shaking off the lists of things to do, repairs, Government agencies who e-mail you requiring payments of $15 be made by money order and requiring letters to be faxed. Faxed?! What era are we living in?!
But I digress. We spent the week getting our errands done between massive storms that rolled in each afternoon, soaking our groceries and propane tanks as we headed back to the boat in the dinghy. Storms that blew over 45kts and obliterated the towering Atlantis resort behind a white wall of water. Storms where the thunder rolled continuously like the sound of fighter jets in the sky with a constant light show of our favourite menacing bolts…

But now, on a Saturday morning, leaving through a light sun shower, we head toward Rose Island – a little oasis only 5 miles outside Nassau. A place of beaches and clean turquoise water, swaying palms. Sigh…
But as we round the edge of New Providence, about halfway between our city anchorage and the relative safety of our beachy spot, our boat buddy calls on the VHF radio. “Shiloh, Shiloh, AlleyCat.”
“Alley Cat go ahead!” we answer, grinning at our escape from town.
“Look right guys.”
And we did. And I blinked. The sky, divided in two – the sunny expanse to our left and above us, pushed by the bully - the ominous end-of-world billowing charcoal sky to the right, complete with two perfectly formed water spouts, spinning down onto the ocean surface.

Wow! We thought at first. As if it was on TV and a great spectacle to therefore take time to watch. We took photos. We marveled. And then we realised. It was heading toward us. Fast.
I sped up. LOL. Shiloh went from 4.5kt to 5.3kt (as in slower than your average walking speed). We were NOT going to outrun a raging ocean tornado that was kicking up water around it to what looked like a hundred feet in the air.

Our little lightning gadget – bought on after our FIRST big strike – was beeping and beeping, like a tiny bird sent as a messenger of doom. “Beep beep! Beep beep! Beep beep!” the display warning that strikes were detected a mile away. A mile away!
AlleyCat had his radar on and assured me over and over that the storm was moving away – south and west. We were heading north. Like a snail with a lion in hot pursuit. 

Every time I looked back the spout was bigger, wider, the water below visibly churned up. I knew if we were in it’s direct path we would be no longer. We would be lifted, shaken, and tossed across this expanse of water in many pieces like a cheap child’s toy.
Nothing like blood-curdling fear to get your adrenaline pumping.
We sped up again, Shiloh’s little motors growling and panting and moving us a little faster. In the distance a sun drenched little sand spit of an island beckoning us. 

And then as if by wishing alone, the storm retreated. The water spouts spinning sideways, getting further and further away like the kites strings of demons… the storm moved away. South and west.
Half hour later, boats anchored in a mild swell, we sat waist deep in the luke warm water at the edge of an idyllic beach, squinting at the sun and marveling at our adventure.
The thing about this life, this cruising thing, is that life can come all at once in a day.
An hour after our swim we were barreling toward Rose Island to avoid the huge swells that had built up out of nowhere, knocking us from side to side while another storm threatened in the distance.
The first anchorage we tried was worse. We then headed around the south of the island toward the storm and through a choppy bouncy inlet between rocks where the waves splashed angrily up through our trampoline onto the front windows.
We crawled along the coast in the swell trying to imagine how horrible the prospect was, of dropping anchor in this washing machine but it was getting late and not much time to get all the way back into Nassau Harbour. So we’d have to make the best of it.
We tucked up into the furthest end of the island where there was a bit of protection and made the best of it.
An hour later – no joke – the wind and waves were flat, calm docile. We sat waist deep in the luke warm water, beers in hand, and marveled at our adventure.
Then we ate supper, watched TV and were about to retire to bed – as you do – when a huge wind picked up about 11pm and the full moon sky disappeared behind a thick black clouded ceiling.
By 2am no one had slept and the wind blew like a horror film, whining and howling and bringing spurts of rain. Close the hatches. Listen. Hope it won’t pick up and drag our anchor in the pitch black of night.
But alas, the worst of that one missed us. Or took pity on us and allowed us some rest. And this morning, despite the daylight and the heat, captain JW sleeps. We take our moments when they come to us. Cruising is supposedly a lifestyle of freedom. And it is. Freedom from many things. But we are slave to the weather. We respect and fear the moods of mother nature. On her time we relax, on her time we are vigilant.
Today the wind is light, the water calm. We can relax. For now…

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Days like these...

If there is no breeze, not a breath of wind on a sun-baked Exuma day, is there any air at all?
The wall gadget that survived our lightning strike tells me it’s 35 celcius. The digital man is smiling, stiffly standing in sunglasses, a t-shirt and shorts. He thinks it’s safe to assume it’s gonna be a hot one out there. But I know this already. Sweat trickles down my back. My front. Well all around really. And then I just step outside into this world. The stillness and the beauty overcome me.

Is it not all a turquoise mirage created by a fabulous artist with perfectionist tendencies? The innumerable blues along the water, the slightly too imaginative cloud formations. It all points to a world in a frame, not to be disturbed by the reckless movements of the human animal.
Indeed, on days like these, with no one else to share the beauty, to verify its existence or ours within it, I need to pinch myself.
Yes, our boat is still crippled after the lightning strike of lottery winning odds. We are well on our way back to fix it all up. The journey toward Nassau first to hopefully replace the main electronics, and then either straight back to the US or slowly, to replace the rest.
But thoughts like this have no place here. Insurance coverage? Groceries? Document printing, scanning and e-mailing? What? Does not compute.
Paddle boarding along with an outgoing tide, through the glorious silence of the mangroves – yes! Swimming through the mouth of the river with the rushing tide out into the ocean – yes again. Baby lemon sharks come to see us as well, no problem. 

This is Shroud Cay, northern Exumas. We’ve been here before. So has every expat from Nassau on a Saturday afternoon, appearing in droves as they do, in a whir of manmade noise and engine power. Beers at the ready, picnic baskets, children shrieking. But never mind. We need someone to pinch us. This place really is. We can sneak away to random secret beaches by dinghy, our footsteps breaking the crust on pristine white sand. 

And at night when the sun has burned out, a fiery orange at the horizon, and completed it’s nightly performance of pinks and purples, we can see the haze of light from Nassau. 30 miles away, 30 million lifetimes away. And gone are the power boats, back to the dirty streets and air conditioned houses, and we are here alone.

The season is winding down. The cruisers are heading north, back to Florida, to the Carolinas, some all the way to Canada for the summer. Leaving a paradise that we cling to for a few last days. Responsibilities, practicalities loom over there where the haze of light beckons. Here only heat, and colour, and showering with sharks.
A few weeks ago, in the aftermath of our strike I was talking to a fellow cruiser in George Town about it – he raised his eyebrows at our luck and asked me “Have you ever thought of buying an RV?” with a smirk. Got to admit, people might think we’d be safer.
But safety doesn’t get you here. It doesn’t take you to places like these:
View from one of our hikes

The bubbly pool - north end of Compass Cay

Exploring with the dinghy around the south of Warderick Wells

View of our boats from Hog Island

An impending storm

The ocean mouth from north end of Hawksbill Cay

Hello from Hawksbill!
 And so it's all got me thinking. Pondering. Appreciating the choices, all the choices, that have brought us to where we are today. Lightning strikes and all. Though this is a corny, common cliche saying, it just fits so well:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.