Reflections on Winter 2010
26 March 2010
Well, this season's winter cruise is nearing an end for us and as I reflect on our past five months, it was quite different from last year; and perhaps not what we had anticipated.
Our rough plan would have been to launch in Florida but cross to Bahamas around Christmas, spending the winter exploring the wonderful Bahamas; perhaps getting to some places we did not last year because of poor weather and lack of time. Well as you know by now, we ended up remaining in the US, a decision which, in retrospect, we surely don't regret.
In my mind, I had pegged the Florida Keys as "a second best" to cruising the Bahamas and while it is not as picturesque to be sure, it was just right for us this year. And as well, many, many other cruisers made this same observation to us in our travels. The weather was abysmal as you know and we heard tales of difficult conditions in the Bahamas. It is telling that Marathon, where we spent our month in the Keys, was so crowded this year while we understand that Georgetown was very sparse.
Anyway, maybe it's a bit of fox and grapes but we thoroughly enjoyed our leisurely saunter down the Keys and back. In contrast to our long cruise from New Brunswick, down the eastern seaboard, across to the Bahamas and back of about 3,000 nautical miles last year, this year we did something like 500 miles. Many days our travels only brought us 10 or 15 miles. We are starting to appreciate the slow cruising life.
Another aspect which we needed and appreciated this year is better communications with our families. We loved the Bahamas and it's remoteness but not being able to readily pick up the phone or Skype to home was unsettling last year, given our needs in light of our personal tragedy.
Sea Sharp was excellent, notwithstanding the various things we had to do to her like new batteries, new auto helm, alternator, dinghy (yeah, you heard that one) and many other trips to West Marine. After several months on board, Sea Sharp shrunk a bit and we got a bit of a dose of two footitis. We began browsing for a larger boat. But, as usual, the decommissioning process has the effect of making the boat larger again. We've been working away at getting the salt and grime of two people and a feline living aboard for 5 months in harsh conditions and it feel good to have Sea Sharp restored to her Bristol condition. I find it satisfying that she shows remarkably little wear and tear despite the last two years of cruising and if you keep on top of maintenance, these modern boats can last a long, long time.
We're about a week away from hauling Sea Sharp and putting her to bed for the summer. We're already talking fondly of our near over cruise and wondering what the summer will bring for us. But we do have a land life and miss our families. I'm anxious to get home to Fredericton, run with my buddies, go to the shop with Harold, hang around the boat yard, bicycle with my nieces, get together with Ricky and Bubbles at the airstream, perhaps doing a bit of consulting work, take motorcycle trips, drive around in my yellow Celica, sprucing up our home, and beginning the list of maintenance and improvements to Sea Sharp for next fall.
While this year's cruise was very different from the last, some things were the same; we met so many wonderful cruisers and have fond memories of the great sunsets we saw along the way in exotic locations.
This does not mark the end of this season's postings but I thought I'd muse a bit about our past five month. Thanks for reading.