Monday, July 26, 2010

Far off places... SHINY!

One of the best events to befall us on our voyages with Loose Moose 2 was breaking a bunch of ribs just before our planned departure for the Caribbean... a few days later, fully provisioned and just hurting a bit, we shoved off and pointed the boat towards Barbados. Can you spell dumb?

After 24 hours of pain, I was more than certain that I was in no real shape to continue the passage and we made the decision to turn around and head back to Las Palmas which, it turned out, was way more than the right decision as it was a life changer.

Up until this point in our cruising we had been in a hurry... In a hurry to get to the Med and once we were in the Med in a hurry to do the Med so we could get to Gibraltar, once in Gibraltar we were in a hurry to get to the Canaries and once we were in the Canaries we were in a hurry to get to the Caribbean... Can you detect a pattern?

My very painful rib situation forced us to STOP for a bit and get off the treadmill of moving forward for the sake of motion and to sort out what (for us) cruising was all about. For instance...

Most people do not realize just what a great cruising ground the Canary islands is as folks simply use the Canaries as a place to provision, fix things and wait for a weather window to make passage to the Caribbean and, as a result, no one actually sees what a wonderful place and people live in the Canaries. Being stuck a year waiting for the next trade winds to come around let us really get to know the Canaries...

We also found that we could make money and fend for ourselves quite happily outside the mainstream workaday and consumer yachting world making a tidy sum with our sewing machine, tools and hookah rig which has given us a knowledge that we could pretty much get by comfortably anywhere we decide to cruise... a lesson well worth a few broken ribs!

The year we missed crossing was also one of the worst years in the Caribbean for hurricane activity and as reports of the carnage of hurricanes Marilyn and Luis in the Caribbean, we realized our plans would have had us sitting either in St Martin or St Thomas where hundreds of boats were destroyed and many lives were lost. The fact that if not for a few broken ribs, our boat might have been destroyed or worse, was a lesson that also made a profound change in our cruising philosophy... and while shit happens sometimes it saves us from even worse shit!

A lot of Boat Bits readers write and ask about the "PLAN" and all I have to say about that at the moment is we plan to get back to real cruising... We love the Caribbean but it has not been real cruising for a long time and it is more than time to look for other places maybe a little less crowded and different. The appeal of empty anchorages, real cities and a variety of cuisines is a big draw which needs to be fulfilled and since we were in such a big hurry to do the Med the first time around the thought of doing it at a better pace is tasty (or as they say in the Firefly universe... SHINY).

But as we learned way back in the Canaries what happens and where we wind up is something of a variable process as we have a lot of places on the must do list and what happens and where we wind up all depends...

and that's a good thing!