My husband and I were sitting out on our balcony enjoying a glass of wine while on a Royal Caribbean Cruise. The color of the ocean was so rich and spellbinding, we were both silently mesmerized. Out of the blue I mentioned how amazing it would be to travel in our own boat, go where we wanted. It was only a dream spoken aloud, not really serious, just a lovely thought.
We had both retired early and had taken advantage of the new time schedule by going on an adventure to Ecuador, Panama, and Costa Rica. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and totally fell in love with Ecuador. We made many friends there and had decided to move back there permanently. However, in the meantime, the dream of the boat started catching up with us once again. We discussed the idea again, and decided we could still do all the exploring we wanted to do, go back to Ecuador if we wanted, and still have a boat. It so happens that I am more the adventurer than Paul, however, in regards to sailing, Paul is completely GUNG-HO and wanting to get going. Especially since time is of the essence. We are both in our mid-60s so we’re definitely not young anymore, at least physically. In spirit, we are both still kids. The two don’t often mesh well.
My greatest fears have included several things. One fear was using all our money for a boat. A BOAT!!! Interpreted, doesn’t that mean, “Bring Out Another Thousand”??? Yikes! Scary thought. Also, not knowing enough about sailing and boats to be a “good” sailing partner disturbs me. Then there’s the idea of being on water all the time with nothing but a layer of fiberglass between me and the deep blue BOTTOM of the sea!! Yes, that can be a daunting realization and may take time to get over. Although, the more I read about sailing and how much people are enjoying their lives aboard a boat, I’m starting to get excited to try it. Learning how to provision a boat...and all the tricks that go along with that has me quaking a bit, too. There are blog sites lush with information on this topic, so not to worry. Letting go!! Scary! Getting rid of all our big stuff…furniture, bed, TVs, clothing, hobby items, etc., wasn’t really as traumatic as I thought. After all, we’re both getting up there in age, and the less stuff we have, the better. After having to deal with my dad’s junk when he passed away, and this past year going through my mom’s junk to help her move, convinced both of us that we don’t want to do that to our kids. With all the fears and letting go in mind, for some reason, I still want to follow through with living aboard. Crazy me! That’s just what some of our friends and family members must think, although they are being very tactful about it. I suppose they can’t imagine selling their home and ridding themselves of about ¾ of their possessions to get on a boat and cruise. Can't say as I blame them. It was a shock to realize I won't have a land based home to return to when we're done sailing. Otherwise, almost everyone else we know is excited for us and wants to follow our travels.
It took awhile (about 1 ½ years) to find the boat we fell in love with. It’s an older boat, a 1983, S2-11C. It’s a 36’ boat with a 12’ beam. It has a center cockpit (which I love), and is very cozy inside. It feels more like a home than any of the other boats we looked at, whether new or old, and that’s what sold me. The bathroom (only one) is large, and has a tub (great place for doing laundry). The galley is nice and spacious with a large, deep, single sink, (not a double sink). There is a healthy sized refrigerator and a separate large freezer. The master berth is a real bedroom, with a queen bed, and nightstand. The thing I’m a little afraid of is “WILL THERE BE ENOUGH STORAGE SPACE????” (Oops, here comes another fear. ARG!)
We are only 3 days away from the beginning of life on our boat. We have sorted through all the things we have in storage to see which will go with us, and which will stay in storage. Now it’s a matter of sorting through all the things we’ve kept for the boat, and minimize that to a comfortable and easily stowable amount of personal items, then throw the rest in the storage unit.
We are both looking forward to getting out and practicing sailing maneuvers and becoming better sailors so that by May, we’ll be ready to take “the plunge” and go on a real cruise. Our biggest challenge is to sail as many places as we can before we physically can’t anymore. We are very much looking forward to returning to the San Blas Islands off of Panama. We were fortunate enough to live on Isla Diablo for 3 days in September of 2011 and it was such a thrill. We both fell in love with the San Blas and are eager to return. Hopefully, we’ll explore all Central American shorelines, through the Panama Canal, over to Ecuador, and then, depending on whether we stay in Ecuador or not, we will head up to the Sea of Cortez. I personally would love to go to the Galapagos Islands as well. And, hey! Why not Papua, New Guinea? Marquesas? Etc.!!! :)
In the months up until our inaugural cruise, we will be learning as much about sailing and living aboard as possible. Confession! It will be hard to leave my family and friends. I started this blog for that very reason, and some have already signed up to follow our adventures…hope we can keep you all well entertained with the things we experience. We will stay in touch with all our land-based family and friends through email and phone as well. My older brother, Steve, is a ham radio operator, thus we have even toyed with the idea of becoming hams so we can keep in touch via radio. We will keep our one small car for traveling via land when we want to go visit our family and friends. Although, that’s becoming a small problem for us…where will we leave the car...an answer will come to us on that, I feel certain.
For the most part, we are looking forward to being in warm weather. For years Paul and I lived in cold country, he in Pennsylvania, I in Montana. We had our experiences with that climate, and now that we’re older and starting to feel the physical strain on our bones and muscles, we’re ready for warmth and adventure. Seems like sailing is the way to do just that!