This part of the journey is coming to a close. We made it back to America. Into Miami, down to Key West, then up to Port Charlotte to hang with my mom for a few before putting Orion on the hard for the hurricane season. I sit writing this on my last morning before heading back home. Elia left a few days ago to be with her people in Oregon before meeting me back in Colorado. And I’m actually ready to go. It definitely helps to have 95 degree days sitting on gravel with 1 zillion bugs attacking as the sun sets to help spur me on.
Many adventures since the last blog post. Nighttime crossing of the Great Bahama Banks and the Gulf Stream into Coconut Grove went by easily enough. Down the keys to Key West. Lots of sailing, lots of miles. I just did the math and it looks like we have gone close to 5000 miles in the last year. Chesapeake bay up to Maine, back down to Hampton Virginia. 11 days offshore to the Virgin Islands. South to Dominica. Turn around and all the way back through the Virgins, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, The Keys, and finally to Port Charlotte. Holy shit. All at around 6 knots. Lots of time to sit and think, and be.
But now thinking of the go back. Life on land from the relaxed cruiser perspective. Gotten very good at easy mellow days of guitars and books and writing and boat projects. The stresses of this life are much less overwhelming than those in “reality”. They are present, but somehow they are more real, more pure. If the engine stops running you have to figure out how to fix it. If the wind isn’t blowing from the right direction you stay put and get into where you are. In hindsight the places we ended up staying and getting to know the best were because we were waiting there for a weather window. St. Martin pulled us in, twice. Antiqua, much longer than we planned originally. The south coast of Puerto Rico. Georgetown, Bahamas. Les Saints. All of which we got “stuck” in, and got to know so much better because of it.
So the take away is how to bring the relax back to the real world. How to stay calm in the face of the storm. How to make the most out of a “bad situation”. So much of life becomes the patterns and habits that we have made and the groves that we dig for ourselves. This winter on Orion has had it’s own tone and mood. It will be interesting to see how that energy gets taken home. Home of old grooves well worn. I can already feel the tug to hook back in. Read the news every morning. Get into the general worked up state that seems to have so overtaken america. Beware brother, beware.
All in all this year has been a dream year that only came about in the thinnest window possible. There were so many things that could have derailed it, and many that had to line up to make it happen. I feel incredibly fortunate that it all worked out. The universe has a funny way of supporting ones dreams. This one really came from a head down determination to pull it off, even if it didn’t make sense on a lot of levels. There is something in there about learning when it is time to be the captain, make the decision that you feel is best, and throw off the docklines, or stay and weather the storm. It could be a lonely place out there, but in my world I’ve had my first mate along on the whole ride. Elia rocks!
And in this time I’ve come to truly appreciate and trust Orion. What a great boat. I’ve learned so incredibly much about how to keep her happy, and what she will do for me if I do. So much of this lifestyle is tied into ones boat. It’s a home that you need to depend on to keep the rain away, but in a very real way, for survival. And then you want her to look good, to feel good, to start when you turn the key, every time. To keep your food cold, your bed dry, and mostly to keep that good strong divider between us and the deep blue sea.
So yes, this year on the boat is coming to a close. But I don’t feel in any way that the adventure is over. Orion sits patiently, waiting for the next splash into the sea to signal the next chapter. Both Elia and I have tuned into what works, what doesn’t and have an idea of how to live a life balanced with time on land and time on the water. I’m hearing the call already. Perhaps next go round it’s to Cuba we will go? Stay tuned…