I suppose it’s high time that I start writing on the blog again. There’s plenty of news and the other day my Mother-In-Law commented on the phone that she didn’t know what was going on with us. This came a day after my Mother also had called to see what’s what. So, for the Mothers. God Bless ‘em, and for everyone else, here’s the story….
(some people already know a good deal of what follows below, but I guess in a way that posting it makes it all more ‘official’)
The first bit of news has to be about the ‘where’ of it all.
Until a couple of months ago, our plan was to continue across the Pacific and end up in New Zealand before the South Pacific Cyclone season started. The destination seemed to us a good one: a place we’ve always wanted to visit, a great place to cruise in a mostly cyclone-free area, a top-notch location to fix and alter things on a sailboat, and it would be a kind of homecoming for Walk On, as her lines were drawn there. Not to mention, we’d have a chance to hang out with her designer and other great cruising friends we’ve met along the way. For a great many boats, New Zealand is the season-ending destination after months crossing the Pacific and visiting many of her lovely islands. Australia is another, but with the exception of Espumeru, all the boats we consider cruising friends are all headed there: Erasmus, Friendship, Larabeck, Maya Ray, Silandra V, and others. Actually, as I write this, two big things have happened already: the cyclone season has officially kicked off (1 November) and many of these boats are already tied up, anchored or moored safely in NZ waters. So what the hell are we still doing in Tahiti? Well… Here it comes… Drum roll please… we’ve changed plans and we are NOT headed to NZ any longer (at least not this year).
Engines and Family
We didn’t fully realize it at the time, but in late August, when the old Yanmar died a noisy death in Fatu Hiva, things were starting change. It took sailing engine-less to Tahiti, a visit by the mechanic and the sticker-shock of price quote for a new engine to get us thinking in a new way. The engine replacement forced us to stop and take stock of the entire situation, current and future. It was also a heavy blow to the ‘ol cruising finances, as the money spent on the new Yanmar was nearly a year’s worth of cruising for us anyway. One new engine, one year less cruising. Another consideration was time – one new engine also means about one month longer in Tahiti than we had planned, effectively cutting by more than half the available time we still had to sail the remaining miles to NZ… We’d have had to rush through the Societies, barely get to know the islands in Tonga, and otherwise spend a good portion of October and early November under sail just to get down to Kiwi-land.
Beyond the cruising kitty crisis, and the limited time to complete the E to W Pacific crossing, we came to realize something much more important. Perhaps I should say that I came to understand that there was a desire in me much stronger than to keep on cruising, endlessly.
In a word: Family.
On the one hand, Lara and I want to start our own family. Not that having a family, at whatever age, and cruising can’t be reconciled. In fact, sometimes the two go very well together, as we’ve seen on a number of boats. But more on that in the future. But besides the family of our own that we want to start, I’ve got a big wonderful family living in various places in the US. The fact is that because of my own choices and a thanks to a great many adventures in foreign lands, I’ve been literally away and geographically quite distant from my family – for a long time. Call it January 1994. Italy and Brazil were both wonderful places to live, but family is family and I decided that it’s time for me to get my bones back on US soil (maybe waterfront soil 🙂 ) and be close to the family – you know, get together on a regular basis and do the things families do… Holidays together, birthdays, weddings, births – not just the special events, but the regular stuff too, which I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve missed so many of those since ’94, and it’s tough every time. Now, I didn’t ask my family if they wanted me back, close to home and all that, but tough, they’ll just have to get used to it somehow, and put up with me and Larissa being nearby, knocking on their door and showing up for family functions. 🙂 We also expect to take all of them sailing at some point!!!!!!
So, taking all this into account, there is really only one destination that makes real sense for us and this blue boat: the West Coast of the US. That means that from Tahiti we won’t be heading West but North.
So, the red is where we’ve been in the Pacific. The yellow(ish) is where were thought we were going. Then… we changed our minds. We’ll take the Blue route! 🙂
The plan is to sail north and east, first visiting some of the Tuamotu Atolls, then return to the Marquesas, and then point the bow slightly west of north, cross the equator, and make a beeline for the Aloha State. We plan to make land in Hawaii – literally on the big island of Hawaii and call in at Hilo. From Hawaii, when the time is right, we’ll do the last leg and head for the West Coast. That looks like May, at the moment.
Our plan is to live in San Francisco and go about an otherwise ‘normal’ life – at least for a while. 🙂 We hope that things pan out in such a way that work and babies turn out to be two things we find in the City by the Bay. Oh, and that means too that we’ll likely not only keep our beloved boat, but we’ll be able to sail her on weekends and all that. I know, I know, ‘back to the matrix’ and all that. Gotta take out the earring, trade the bathing suit for a non-bathing one, and incarcerate my poor feet in shoes, leaving the flip flops behind. It’s taken me months to come to grips with that last thought, and even this morning I had to breathe deeply several times before I could actually write the words. No more flip flops? Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
So, in a word (or two or three hundred), that’s the plans.
More news soon about crew changes, and details about what we’re doing to the boat here in the anchorage. Hope you’re having a great weekend!