Oh that boat. Yep, we still have one. I kind of forgot.
Yes I am being a smart ass but it really is easy to forget about the old floating home when we’re up here in NY and enjoying ourselves without worrying about a scheduled flight back to the islands and wondering if the next counter clockwise rotation out in the ocean is going to tip the boat over. It feels good.
Some folks are sad about us getting out of the cruising life but don’t be. We had a great run and it was a fantastic way to start retirement. We are still restless and hoping to travel some more when this virus riddled planet heals.
Do we miss cruising? Yes and no. OK, most of it. There are some experiences I do not wish to have again. We have said before, that if it weren’t for the grandkids we would still be out there but I’m not so sure.
We missed the kids so much that cruising started to feel like a job away from home. We knew going in that this would happen and we’re fine with it. In life you want to do things that make you happy. Right now, being off the water and with family makes us happy. I’m not sure how happy our kids are having their Dad around so much but too bad for them, they must endure. 😀
There were other reasons for our return as well. Age is a big one. Things get harder and tougher and uncomfortable as you grow old on a sailboat. Fixing a broken waste system is disgusting and tiresome at age 55. At 62 you say to yourself, “Why the fuck am I covered in waste, gagging and soaking disgusting parts in water and chlorine when on average I have about 12 yrs left on this planet? I could be home reading a story to my grandkids or hiking through the woods with them and the only shit I might have on me is from a bird above.” ( It’s been a running joke in our family of me getting crapped on every time we went on vacation. Damn birds.)
There are however plenty of times when I think about a sweet anchorage we’ve been in. The tradewinds bring the smell of flowers from the island and as the evening settles and the moon comes up we just relax in the cockpit, staring up at the star filled sky. I loved that and will miss that.
Going from one island to another and it’s all downwind so you only unfurl your Genny and make 4 knots on a sunny day with flat seas and your feet up with a beer in your hand, beautiful.
There were also harbors where the anchor would barely take hold and the wind would pick up and the boats would drag and there was screaming and yelling and boats colliding and the stress levels were through the roof. Not a fun time I wish to repeat.
Good times on a sail to Trinidad where I sat in the cockpit on my watch, the autopilot keeping us on course while I gazed at the stars that would peek out in between clouds. Relaxed and staring up at the sky I sat upright and pointed to a star formation above the horizon that the clouds slipped away from…the Southern Cross! Holy shit! Yes, when you see the southern cross for the first time…
The Derecho. Fuck. I never ever want to experience that ever again. When your boat is literally swinging back and forth like a kite without a streamer for hours and the only thing keeping you from washing up onshore is a 65 lb hunk of steel at the end of a skinny chain you find someone to pray to and you PRAY. Pray and curse. They kind of go together actually. The amazing part of that whole scenario was the pot of chili I had on the stove top never spilled. Not one drop. 😀
There was one moment out there when it should have been one of the scariest times but for some reason we got through it with a shrug and continued on. Sailing past St Lucia heading for Bequia we were finally making way at a good speed with all the sails out when I spied a squall in the distance. Meh, squall. So what. We sailed on happy as can be. Keeping an eye on the tiny squall I noticed it seemed a lot closer and a lot bigger. Uh oh, a quick moving one…. “Furl the headsail and ease the main!!” Just as I got the headsail rolled up we got slammed by a huge squall. With the full main on a reach we took off like a bat out of hell in at least 50 knots of wind whipped rain, rail in the water and zero visibility. Not a word was spoken the whole time as we hung on and the seas built to over 5, 6, 7 ft, bigger still and then… sunshine, blue skies and a slightly more bouncy ride to Bequia. We should have been screaming and hugging each other but we sailed on like it was an every day thing. I wonder what ever happened to the boat about 2 miles behind us? No sign of them afterward.
Dropping anchor in the most spectacular blue water your eyes have ever seen with no other boats around for days and yours are the only footprints on the beach. Cool.
That time Debra flew back home to help out the kids and left me in Grenada on a disabled boat at anchor was fun for about a week and then the hangovers stopped and the reality of it all crept in. To this day I still don’t know how solo sailors exist out there without being certifiably nutso. I guess all of us cruisers might seem “nutso” to most people 😀
So there was good and bad. Mostly good I would say but being on a boat you know that the good will only last just so long before the bad comes up and slaps you out of your dream life. Kind of negative thinking but it’s reality. So many times we were just loving our existence when something else would break down or need repair. Most times it was easy and inexpensive to do but it had to be done to continue on. If the watermaker went down then you had to haul or schlep water from shore in jerry jugs or in our case a 20 gallon bladder. Doable but a total pain in the ass. I guess we were lucky that nothing major crapped out…..OK, there was the transmission that killed a whole season of travel.
That damn clutch cone that the “ace” mechanics in Grenada couldn’t diagnose for a whole season but made gobs of money off me was kind of the last straw for me. How many times did I ask if it wasn’t the damn transmission? I forgot, mostly for my own sanity I pushed that memory away. The guys in Trini would have found it the day I brought it to them. Oye, I have to stop thinking about that but it was the first time while out there that I thought of packing it in.
The best thing about cruising is you feel alive. Your life is filled with adventure and the unknown and that makes you feel fantastic. You meet so many new and interesting people every day. Some of those people are complete whack jobs but that’s the fun part. How many times did we get back to the boat and laugh about the people we encountered? Too many. I’m hoping when we travel again we can get some of that fantastic feeling back without floating on the ocean.
We have fond memories of friends and events and total bliss and some extreme (for us) adventures. All in all it was a blast and I would do it again. I strongly recommend cruising as a start to an early retirement. In fact I would leave earlier.
As we got older the bad times were harder to shrug off. When we started out we were like, “Shit happens, let’s grab a beer and get working on this problem and move on”. Now it’s like, “Fuck this. I’m too old to get into that yoga position to repair that pump. It seems defeatist to say we’re too old for this shit but blowing out your back on a sailboat in a remote anchorage is a very bad scenario for everyone aboard.
The good times were also on repeat. I am still amazed at how routine some of the lives are down there in Grenada but you know, if you want to settle down into a relaxing affordable life then that’s the way to do it. It’s warm and friendly and the Grenadines are a joy to sail. If you want to sail down to the Caribbean and then hang out for a while, that’s the place to do it. Like any place where people gather and hang out for a long time there will be drama. Some of it’s laughable and some of it is scary. Humans can be very uh, human even in paradise. In fact, some of them seemed to forget that they are in paradise and are still living their dream.
So here we are. Life is still good. Life is better actually. We’re smiling and enjoying family and taking a break from big adventure. Cheers to you all for following along. You made it even more fun.
There are still some boat projects ahead of us and we might even move her at some point but right now we’re not sure. We’re still liveaboards for now but that appears to be a short lived scenario. Stick around a bit as I’m sure there are more mishaps and shenanigans before we say goodbye to KN. I’m also going to keep blogging unless I’m on a ventilator.
I meant to post this before we got back to the moldy boat with a dead refrigerator but I got distracted. It’s cold in here and the the wifi has been dead so I had time to finish the post. Now the wifi is up and the fridge is running and the mold is gone! Hooray!