Madcaps Make a Madcap Decision
04 January 2016 | Placencia, Belize
Beth / still hot but with a lighter heart
You might remember that we came down to the Rio Dulce early this year in order to take advantage of favourable winds to get east and south, anticipating an end of the season in Bocas del Toro, Panama. At least that’s what I wrote back in October. And you might be wondering now, why we aren’t getting on with that plan. I should have known better than to announce our plan at the beginning of the season, because cruisers’ plans are usually written in sand at low tide, and impulsive, madcap people who are prone to changing their minds anyway are even more likely to let the tide wash away one plan and write a new one.
Well, that’s what we have done.
We have been through a few minor changes already – we stayed longer at Tortugal Marina because it took longer to get the boat’s systems up and running. We mused about going back to the Rio at the end of the season because storage and care is much cheaper there than in Panama – and the Canadian dollar is worth less than 73 cents US right now – and that hurts. And we love the folks there – friends and staff – and our friends down in Cayo Quemado. We worked with constantly shifting plans of going to the Vivorillos, or even Providencia and then turning back.
And then we discovered that if we did plan to return to Guatemala, we would have to stay out 90 days before we could come in on a new permit. (Again – it is not cast in stone, and sometimes Raul can “fix it” but …) It’s not a problem if we get past the Bay Islands and can explore some new places, but a pain if we don’t. We spent all last season playing around the waters of Belize, and the year before that exploring the Bay Islands of Honduras, and we loved our time in each area, but we feel the need for change.
And then, when we left, the weather window wasn’t one we were comfortable with for going to Honduras, and we wanted internet for Christmas, so we came up to Placencia. We were still on track for heading from there off to Utila or Roatan when we had a window after the 25th.
But something happened as we drank our coffee in the cockpit on the morning of the 24th. I was hot and tired, and feeling stiff and sore, and I had a feeling of malaise that I just hadn’t been able to shake. Jim came up the companionway steps and sat down with his coffee and sighed. And somehow we each tentatively broached the idea of continuing North. The more we talked, the more excited we became. Jim expressed his desire to make Madcap a northern boat again – and pictured her cruising the waters of Nova Scotia – and maybe even Newfoundland. I feel like I don’t want to spend the same 4-5 month chunk of time away from home as we have been doing the last few years.
The heat has been getting to us. It seems hotter and stickier this year, and they say that Panama is even hotter and more humid. It is hard to do boat jobs, and even to walk and shop and visit in temperatures 30 C and higher. Yes certainly, we can do it – but do we want to?
There are lots of places we want to visit, and they don’t all mesh with boat travel. And even the places in Central America don’t have to be visited on Madcap. We have a Newfoundland grandbaby coming in the spring, and a son in New Zealand who wants us to visit there again.
And so – an hour later, we had a new plan in the sand and new light in our eyes! We knew – right down to the depths of our hearts – that going North was exactly the right direction. We certainly have regrets about not getting to Panama when we are this close, but the alternative feels better to both of us.
You have had to wait so long to hear the New Plan because I wanted to find the right words to use for such a dramatic about face, and by then we were far from an internet connection that would allow me more than one line. So here we are all the way up to the north of Belize and, Hey! Guess what! We are headed North! We will catch whatever weather window we can to Mexico, and then when the time is right, we’ll cross to Florida and see about leaving Madcap for a few months while we go home. Our plan in the sand is to come back down later in the summer and sail her farther north before hauling her out for the winter season. (But you know what they say about those plans in the sand!)