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.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Strike 2 - A 1 in 490,000,000,000 chance... what luck?!

I’m standing in the middle of the boat. The skies are weeping all around. I see only water. I’m alone. 

Minutes ago, mayhem. After two weeks of sunshine and rum and laughter, our guests were off to shore to catch a plane. In a squall. A storm that filled the dinghy to bathtub capacity over and over, that had to be bailed out over and over, before we could load their luggage, clad in black garbage bags. A storm that had them heading to shore in swimsuits and rain coats.
The wind whipped up, howled at us and threatened to drag the boat. We put on the instruments and watched the wind speed, huddled in the saloon, waiting for a lull in the incessant rain.
And then it hit. There was an earth shattering crack beside the boat as a rogue lightning bolt was unleashed from above on the bay. We literally jumped, screamed and exchanged some wide eyed stares. And the thunder rolled along, and all that was left was the rain.

And we still had to get the guests to shore. So we hugged abruptly and they climbed out into the wet, whipping waters with JW.
And all the anger of the skies was gone. In it’s place, devastation, along with that sickly smell of burnt electronics. Shiloh was hit by lightning again. Like the rain soaking through my t-shirt, it began to sink in.
9 months ago, almost to the day, we climbed aboard after an even more vicious storm, to find that smell and all our systems dead. Chart plotter, wind instruments, depth sounder, autopilot, battery charger/inverter, TV, VHF radio, FM radio, fridge, freezer, lights, fans… everything that makes the boat liveable and sail-able!
And when JW returned this time, we winced as we checked each system. Wind instruments, depth sounder, autopilot, battery charger/inverter, VHF radio, FM radio, fridge, freezer, solar panel regulator, lights… all dead. 
So much of the same! But last year’s strike found us in the land of plenty. 100 miles of riding blind, without autopilot to a well equipped boat yard. In a country where there are marine surveyors and replacement equipment and expertise to install it all.
So different this time. We are well over 500 miles from the boatyards of Florida, and 170 miles from the only surveyors in the Bahamas – in Nassau.
And so we face the rotting meat in the freezer and the prospect of weeks with canned food, no entertainment and blind sailing – not knowing the wind speed or angle, or what depth we find ourselves in. And the worst part is the missing autopilot. The concentration and tediousness of holding the wheel for 6 to 8 hours a day.
And then, enter friends. Real friends. Friends I could not hope to ask for in this lifetime. Who refuse to let you suffer.
We moved aboard Shiloh 4 years ago. Since then, we’ve met some of the most remarkable people this world has to offer. People who are independent but socially adept. People who can fend for themselves but will do anything for each other in a pinch.
We have been buddy boating with a catamaran called Alley Cat for nearly three years. We met and clicked and compromised effortlessly. We get along so well. We sail together, explore together, socialize, commiserate, laugh, plan, unplan, replan and of course drink rum.
On a day like this I am humbled. Humbled to the core at how deep their friendship goes. Alan in his dinghy, wearing swimming goggles, appearing at the edge of the boat in the heart of the storm to help take our guests ashore.
And then the encouragement later as we sat pouting, devastated at our predicament. A smile and a genuine promise to help. And help doesn’t cover it. It’s a weak word to describe what true friendship is.
Hours, scrounging in their bilges for spares and days crouched in our narrow passages, fixing, trying, making a plan. All for a mere cup of tea and a heartfelt thank you.
To know you are not alone, to feel a united front in a storm, to be far from the support systems of the western world with true friends in tow, is exhilarating.
When I told my dad what happened, he said “If you didn’t have bad luck you’d have no luck at all.”
But  here's the thing about don't know if it's good or bad until you have some perspective.
I think he’s wrong. I know we are lucky; so lucky to have found true friends, a privilege many never experience.  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Glorious silence, neon toys and canned food - The Exuma reality

I’m squinting at the tiny mangrove roots, marveling that they push up through the mushy white sand. Sun bakes my dry corn-husk hair and exposed limbs. The tide is rapidly flowing out through rivers to the sea, leaving our dinghy exposed on the ever growing beach. We are like castaways. Salt caked and leather brown. Our small bottle of water is empty. 
JW and I sit in silence in the sand on this uninhabited island in the Exumas. Tiny resilient seeds and crispy dry leaves whisper as they tumble along the sand, at home in this harsh environment. The only other sounds are far off airplanes and distant speed boats. They try to encroach, to remind us that this reality is small and confined. But it’s ours. And it is wild and it’s free.
It could be a Saturday or a Tuesday. Shiloh is anchored out in the unprotected bay, a huge ocean swell slapping her from side to side. We’ve escaped to the shore for some peace from the incessant rolling. 
We’ve been in the Exumas for 6 weeks. We left the last town two weeks ago. The last ‘proper’ grocery store about 4 weeks ago. We’ve run out of beers and cokes and snacks. Same with eggs and bread. Haven’t seen a fresh vegetable in a while. We are in the land of the scarce.
The Bahamas Telecom network forgot about the northern Exumas as well. But we’ve managed to devise a makeshift system for getting an Internet signal once every few days. Our iphone is double wrapped in ziplock bags, then tied to a keychain float and hoisted up the mast. If we are lucky it finds weak reception and we scramble to answer emails, check in on facebook. Say hello to the real world. And then we sink back into the salty, sun soaked world of islands we love so much.
This is the land of shifting sand that creates works of art daily. Swirls of electric turquoise, emerald green, soft teal, creamy beige. And if you can hike to any vantage point above, the rewards are awe and amazement and a humbling so profound. It floors me daily. This is natural beauty unmatched. White tropic birds with their long ribbon tails swirl above, turning blue over the water with the reflection of the sea, and back to white over land. 

Each island offers something unique – hikes to ancient ruins, bubbling pools to play in between the ocean and rocks.
Earlier today we took kayaks and the SUP and paddled a dense and still mangrove river out to the ocean on an outgoing tide.  

Some days the silence is broken – pierced by the wild whirling jet skis of the mega yacht crowd. From any shoreline you might see, anchored out in the deeper waters, a colossal white or silver multi-million dollar, crew-run floating funhouse for the rich. In this place where nature is king and money is useless, it is a jarring sight. And the huge tenders with their massive outboard engines cut through the waters with disregard, shuttling the privileged owners and guests to-and-fro. Some take over a beach with elaborate umbrella systems, blankets, baskets, neon pink and green beach toys that bob around at the water’s edge, claiming their territory. 

Today it is a convoy of power boats, here to break the silence. Down from Nassau for the weekend; kids, beers, bright toys. The breathtaking beach at the end of the mangrove river is overtaken by bikinis and bellies and exuberant chatter. The decibel level is too high for us. We haven’t been in a crowd forever it seems.
They are friendly enough, one guy in a Blue Jays baseball cap sipping a Labatt Blue he’s brought all the way from Canada. “It’s snowing back home!” he tells me, as his little pink two year old, clad in full body sun-shade armour and a wide brimmed hat that covers his whole face, plays happily in the sand. I can barely hear him. My mind does not compute. Snow? Holiday makers with Canadian beer? It seems absurd. I thought we were castaways in our own little world. I think I wished it so.
But this world, free and wild as it is, must be shared. It must come to an end even for us. One day soon our canned goods will run out too. We will need to make a bank transfer or talk on a phone. My backpack/purse will have to be transformed from a sandy vessel for water, sea shells and sun block, to wallets and cell phones. The real world will call to us and we will have to answer.
But for now intense sun. Salt. Sand. Silence.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

When sailing is like being born

Sun is pouring through the windows, enticing my eyes with glitter and gleam. That turquoise reflecting upwards, smiling at the sun above. See it! Breathe it, feel it. The palms are the greenest of green, the epitome of nature’s bounty, breeze blowing the tops, heavy with coconuts below, shining, glowing. We’re in the Bahamas. 

It’s not important that we’re anchored near the construction zone of Resort World, tractors, cranes and mountains of man made dunes all around. The point is that the sun is shining, I am not cold, I may even be a tad warm! We’re expecting a huge cold front with it’s signature downpours and high winds tomorrow. But for now, for this moment I am basking in the sunshine promises of the Bahamas that have brought us back for yet another season. Exhale…

But some passages are difficult. Take birth for example. Many would argue that the end result is worth the drama, pain, anguish. But halfway through, both mother and baby are convinced that they’ve never experienced anything worse. That no human should have to endure the sheer hell that is this hours long journey.
Yesterday we were that baby in the birth canal. A 12 hour long voyage where nature not only refused to cooperate, but fought us the whole way. We arrived near screaming, feeling like we’d been hung upside down by our feet and slapped on the ass. And that first night in our new world was not easy. We were shoved and rolled by the swell of the ocean, the raw lack of protection out here, far from the safe womb of Miami’s inshore waters.
Maybe we should have read the signs. 
When we tried to lift anchor and found ourselves utterly stuck, the symbolism knocked me over. And while our windlass groaned and the chain squealed like a pig with it’s leg in a snare, I actually smirked. Some force, perhaps our own complacency had become an active antagonist – we weren’t ready to go. Half an hour later, after much strain on the boat and captain, we pulled up an abandoned anchor and chain. It was someone else’s perilous sea story, but for us it was only the first sign of many. We dropped it with a watery thud and headed out the channel; America spat us unceremoniously out.
Out into the growing waves and building winds. Directly against us. And within an hour the gulf stream was shoving us with the power only mother nature has, north, sideways, and way, way off course. To compensate, we were forced to head further south, into the oncoming everything, and while glasses toppled in the cupboards and cherished family photos fell flat on their faces inside, we came to a near halt, now making headway at under 2 knots. Smash, crash. Groan, slam. The sounds of the day’s toll on Shiloh accosted us. While on the VHF radio, the captains consoled and coerced each other.
“This is insane!”
“Yeah but it’s getting a bit better… maybe”
There were a few times we seriously considered giving up and heading back to the relative calm and safety of the states, but as we all know, once a labour begins, there really is no turning back. We were on this one way trip and at the other side was the other world we needed to reach.

So we held on, salt spray everywhere, waves splashing and slamming the boat, the front windows crying, the crew near crying. We exclaimed with incredulity from time to time how many miles we’d come and yet how many we still had to go. The 40 mile expectation became a 60 mile journey, leaving us no chance to get in the tricky dog-leg river entrance of Bimini during daylight, and realizing that we’d have to anchor offshore for the night, whenever it was we arrived.
When land was in sight, with it’s promise of a calming of both the wild waves and the wind, we were happy. As much as someone in extreme pain can be happy that it might soon end. But it was premature. Our labour was stalled. And so, hours after the darkness had enveloped the ocean and it’s foolish adventurers, we edged forward toward the land and prepared to drop the anchor. But no matter how close we got to land – we could even see the lights of a few cars – the huge swell didn’t dissipate. We were stuck side on to the swell, facing the wind. The result – every few seconds the boat would lunge sideways, and shudder. One hull up then down, and then the other. Over and over. Dishes still slid and slipped, the crew tossed from side to side, to our peril, should we attempt to stand and move without holding on firmly to something…
So we were stuck in the birth canal, thrown around for the night, waiting sleepless for the break of dawn to make our final entrance into this world.
Only, as dawn arrived, it brought with it a monster. A wall of black cloud, billowing forward, approaching like an army of sky ninjas, arm in arm, approaching swiftly from behind us. We took one look, threw t-shirts over sleepless unkempt hair and crusty eyes and started the engines. With wild eyes we pushed Shiloh, so rudely awoken, as fast as she could go, and we rounded the corner, amongst the breaking waves, into the tight channel just as the wind whipped up and the stinging rain hit. 
We made it up the 3 mile channel under the full force of the storm. I could barely see and held my jacket hood against the side of my face, a barricade to the pelting rain and wind.
But we did arrive, into the small anchorage, a dredged out square at the edge of the new resort, protected on three sides by the construction materials, a barge and some new unused chalets. And though the wind still blew, we sat inside and sighed.
It was our birth story. A bit anti-climactic, but ours all the same.
The sun was yet to come. After some homemade soup, some restorative sleep and the chance to awake truly to this new world. The Bahamas! We’ve arrived.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Worlds away: from Starbucks to sandbars

The place is abuzz with sipping, slurping, green straws, computer keypads, tall chai caramel latte decaf macchiato flat white black Americano….
It’s our last day in America.
It only seems appropriate to spend an inappropriate amount of it in a Starbucks.
Tomorrow we set sail for Bimini, sailor’s gateway to the Bahamas. Only 45 miles into a different world completely.
We change worlds from time to time. The day or two before that magic sail between worlds is strange. I see things in a yellowish hue. Reality vibrates and bends.
I can’t help but look around me at the people, living their lives, driving along, calling their friends, sipping their coffees. They become part of a static thing. They are America. They will be left here, carrying on with all this when we are gone. When for us there are no more traffic lights and Best Buys and Walmarts and Starbucks. When for us there are only desolate beaches and understocked shacks/stores and shallow waters and showers off the back step. When the sky and the sea take up our days with their omnipotence, back here they will be the backdrop to civilization. They will remain outside the honking cars, the bright lights of the shops and the clanking glasses on the restaurant patios.

I stand in the line and try to memorize my order – must remember the words – not small, tall. Not medium, Grande! Meanwhile there’s a double blended skinny caramel Frappucino up. Names are written on cups, green aprons flitter about behind the counter. I feel inadequate. A novice, an outsider. How do they keep this stuff in their heads? There are no skinny whip cream vanilla bean crèmes in the other world. You’re lucky if you find coffee. At all.
But you will find yourself. More raw, less busy, more mindful. No yoga classes, just your feet on grainy sand, plodding along, feeling the pull in your thighs of the muscles as you sink ever so slightly with each step. You will sink down, sweating under the sun drenched sky. You will sit for long periods at the edge of the water, feeling it’s undulating warm surface with the palms of your hand. It’s magical in the way that no shopping mall can recreate. It’s all in slow motion in that other world. 
The thing is that the worlds remain, whether we come back again or not. Next year I may find myself on the reverse journey. Arriving into this world, anticipating the availability of everything with giddy anxiety in the core of my being.
Or we might sail on to a different world again entirely. New immigration offices, new smells, new walks, new adventures.
It’s a life of uncertainty. I’ve learned something curious about that. Life changing. Straightforward in it’s simplicity. You can only open yourself to new worlds when you expand your tolerance for the uncertainty of everything. What will the sail across be like? Will we have good weather? Will we meet storms? Will we find a place to anchor? Will they be friendly at the Immigration office?
A day or two after arrival in a new world, there are more uncertainties. Where will we sail next? What will that island be like? Will we find a protected anchorage? Will there be storms? Will the boat drag toward the rocks at 2am in a massive wind? Where will we do our laundry? Will our boat freezer die, leaving us with rotten, smelling sopping food and no chance to replace it all?
But none of these unknowns can put us off the adventure quest. 
It’s the life of the maritime squatter. And it’s time to move on.
As the air-conditioning and ice coffee shooters closes behind me with the door, and we head out into the warmth of a Miami afternoon, I’ve moved on to the journey. Legally and mentally we’ve left this world and there are only a few things left to do. Fill the diesel and water tanks and anchor way out, on the edge of America, ready for tomorrow morning’s nautical flight to new lands.