Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year - to following your dreams!

As the final hours of 2012 tick by, my captain is bouncing in the turquoise swell at Shiloh's edge, squinting into the beating sun with a hose contraption connecting him in the dinghy to the mothership. He is surrounded by blue plastic jerry cans containing the ever precious commodity: water. He is transferring the life giving liquid to our empty and parched tanks. He will speed across the bay a few more times, from the dock and back to bring our tank levels back up. Then we might head over to the vibrant, fish abundant reef. And such is a day in the life.

A year ago today we had no clue. Having just slipped out of corporate life in 'the land of the expat', we had gone from a catered existence to an extended holiday. We were perpetually visitors to friends and family, chatting endlessly about our 'plan' to move onto our boat and start our 'cruising life'.

Our complex back in Ghana - the expat life
Before: visiting with friends in Canada

Day one on Shiloh - moving in
Since then we have been moulded by a year of experiences. Our hair, now bleached flaxen and much much longer, has not seen a stylist in as many months. Our skin, leatherish, baked, tells the story of sunshine and salt air. Our muscles stronger, our joints always aching but far more alive than before.

The non-glamorous side of life onboard - chores!

Our livers must have seen less active years than this. I believe we have discarded too many empty rum bottles to count.
This has been our first year of living on a moving vessel.  Wherein manually pumping out the toilet has become normal, and where a drag means not a boring time but something far more interesting! Where storms are to be respected and feared and where we are constantly reminded of our relative insignificance in the face of mother ocean.

I have learned more in these months than in several years before combined. I can now talk on a VHF radio with the ‘rogers’ and ‘overs’ in the right places. I can drop an anchor in the sandy patch and squabble with my captain about the process for an amazing length of time. I’ve learned that anchoring is an art, whereas picking up a mooring ball is more of a comical dance – provided you don’t try to hold the 20 ton boat by refusing to admit you’ve lost it and pulling the lines (ropes). Ahhh, the lessons in patience, tolerance and our own inadequacies. It’s humbling but so rewarding to get through each drama or potential disaster.

I have gotten used to our tiny living space, that becomes a workshop often, and can be turned upside down to access the awkward storage spaces in a split second!

All the inconveniences though, are made so worth while by breathtaking sunsets, the unfathomable number of blues around us, the wildlife, and the awesome friends we have made.

The sunsets

The colours! Tobago Cays
The wildlife
Oh, the friends!  Too many pics to add...
I have explored my creative side this year too - learning the art of making 'beach shoes ' and now I'm hooked! Not sure I can grow a business though - I want to keep most pairs I make!

Yes, it’s been a full year. And we have only begun. Shiloh has traveled a millimeter in the scale of the ocean’s offerings. We could fill a lifetime with what is yet to be experienced.

It's been more than a year since we faced the letting go of our youngest boy into the world, and the letting go of the security of jobs and society and stability. It has meant following our dream, and I don’t take that for granted even one second.

Saying goodbye to our youngest

Shiloh - truly our new home

I am grateful for this life, for the chances and the choices we’ve made. And I am looking forward to the next year with a bursting heart.

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!


  1. Slightly envious I have to admit. Happy New Year!

  2. Beautiful post, and such a lovely review of the year in photos. I look forward to reading about your next year of adventures and boxes checked in your how-to list. Best wishes for you both to trail blaze mightily for those of us behind you in the planning (and dreaming) phases. :) Happy New Year!