You know you've left the tropics when
16 November 2012 | On passage to NZ
Tonight we are on passage at almost 30 degrees south latitude. I've had to switch in the past couple of days from swim trunks and a t-shirt to jeans, a long sleeve shirt and undershirt. The hatches are all dogged and we've started sipping hot tea instead of ice water. Even the nutella is no longer a liquid, having reverted to its original state. In short, it's gotten cold. We are nearing the end of our first major cruising season. At least distance-wise, it will mark the approximate half way point of our pacific circumnavigation. When we reach Opua, New Zealand in a few days time, we will have sailed Radiance about 9000 nautical miles in less than 6-months. Nine thousand miles is a long way when traveling at six and a half knots! Yesterday Lolo asked me: "So, what do you think? Is it everything you hoped it would be?" I looked at her and paused. There is not a simple answer to that question. Perhaps my answer would be something like -yes, and no, and maybe. Sailing all the way to the tropics from Alaska in one season has set the pace of our journey. As we are bound to be in safe harbor for the tropical cyclone season (now) this meant limiting our destinations and spending less time at those places than we would have preferred. It also means we've spent perhaps a disproportionate amount of that time on passage. We've enjoyed some fantastic and exotic south pacific islands, but we've been unable to linger as long as we'd prefer. And more to the point, we've had to miss some amazing places as there was just not time to fit them in. Lolo and I have yet to sort our exact return route. We purposefully held off on that until we finished this part as we knew we'd have a better idea what we wanted to do after getting some miles under our belt. Most our cruising friends started their trips in New Zealand and have spent the season in the south pacific before returning. Some are completing a 7 year circumnavigation. In discussing our 2-year plan with several of our NZ friends, we've found that many cruisers in this part of the world just keep looping back up to the tropics each season before returning home again. They've all suggested we just add another year to our trip to really do justice to, and get to see more of the places we want to see-something to ponder. That will depend on many things we've yet to work out in NZ. We're going to be living aboard-somewhere. There are boat repairs and some major things to procure (and pay for.) There is the subject of work, buying a cheap car and touring NZ, etc. It's clear we have a different kind of adventure ahead of us now. My ipod is playing a Jay Farrar song-who is perhaps my favorite artist. And just now this line streams along the wire and into my ears: "When you're out there-doing what you would die for. Believing 'til there's no turning back."