“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” – John A. Shedd
When Dunbar and I were first dating, we made a combined dream/bucket list of various travels. So, we selected one quest and bought TaDa with the main goal of taking 2+ years sabbatical and cruising the South Pacific.
After living on TaDa for a few months and taking short trips to the Keys and the Bahamas, we departed Fort Lauderdale in April 2017. We sailed to the Abacos, Bermuda for America’s Cup, then sailed the East Coast cruising as far as Maine and back to FL the first year to test TaDa’s capabilities and see how I would enjoy the cruising lifestyle. (I can’t believe we bought a boat when I’ve never even spent the night on a sailboat before. But that’s what I personally needed to do…pull the trigger without over-thinking all the reasons that I shouldn’t quit my job and just do it.)
After 10 months of sailing, we honestly had mixed emotions. Thankfully my days working on jets prepared me for living and working in confined spaces. What it didn’t prepare me for was the slow pace of traveling from point A to point B, and being in constant rocking motion which can prohibit you from doing much else while under sail. TaDa rocks a bit more than others we discovered. (Thank goodness we rarely feel seasick and are both able to read kindles most trips to keep boredom in check.) In other words, I love exploring new places and meeting people, but reaching the destination (longer sails) isn’t exactly thrilling to me. And when they say that cruising is “fixing things in exotic locations”, they weren’t kidding. Something is always breaking or in need of expensive repair. In other words, my Instagram doesn’t accurately portray all that sailing entails. It’s hard work. Cruising is a lifestyle not a constant vacation.
Due to the above reasons, we (especially I) started to question if we were truly prepared and would even enjoy 3.5-4 weeks at sea when sailing from Galapagos to Marquesas. After a wet, rough trip to Jamaica where too many things seemed to break at once, we painfully decided to skip the South Pacific and cruise Panama, Colombia, Belize, and Mexico then head back to Florida instead. The idea was to work again and either save up for a catamaran (dreaming) or another adventure all together. This would also make finding work and selling the boat easier than trying to make it work from Australia or New Zealand.
But as we approached Panama, we met fellow cruisers preparing for the South Pacific Crossing and we got caught up in the spirit again. After much deliberation and keeping my sights on the beautiful French Polynesian islands that await, I’m once again looking forward to our original goal. Life is a beautiful risk after all, and you often regret the things you don’t do more than the ones you do.
Thankfully Dunbar’s cousin Andrew and his wife Connie are good sports and going with the travel flow. So, we now have our Galapagos permits and are getting our boat measured for the Panama Canal once again. TaDa!!
Updated Route: Shelter Bay- San Blas- Panama Canal- Galapagos- Marquesas- Tahiti- French Polynesian- Fiji- Australia- New Zealand and all the little islands to explore in-between