Santa Marta, Colombia
We have made it to South America under sail of more that 3250 miles. It seems so far and yet not so much too. That distance is
like driving across the USA. But, so much has happened. 20 Countries, countless officials, a million worries, 34 friends sailing with us, at least 60 friends joining us for a beer in our home – Rivers2Seas. We have lived aboard for 10 months now. Much of it seems like a dream, a great long dream with a couple scary parts thrown in to keep it real. Adventure is out there.
We have already accomplished so much. Cruising is difficult. Hard. It’s like travelling back in time where everything takes more
time. Washing dishes, clothes, cooking, getting cooking fuel, showering and taking a dump are all more difficult. Grocery shopping is an all day affair, usually with a two-mile walk on either end with heavy sacks on the way home in blistering heat. Most of the people out cruising are couples or single men. They often express amazement that we are doing all this with two young kids (or foolishness for making it so hard on ourselves). Having to do all this with them in tow, certainly increases the workload. It’s hard enough to watch after yourself, but to do it while being focused on a youngster increases everything. Lindsey has done more than the Lion’s share of managing the kids. I get to do more of the fun stuff like reading books, playing pirate or conducting art class with them.
My jobs are the smelly, dirty jobs of engine maintenance and repair, sewer management, electrical engineering and power, water production, and on good days wind transference into propulsion. So far, we have been able to keep costs down by being able to fix every issue onboard by ourselves. In the Bahamas, John aboard Bikini helped many times in either turning wrenches or more often with advice. Other than that is has been me with my library of fix-it manuals, product informational manuals and the internet teaching me how to find and fix the problems. Finding the problems is usually the hard part. But then, rusted on bolts and the wrong or no spares are difficult too. One of my favorite fixes onboard is still the dinghy throttle where I had to manufacture a part and make a round peg fit and not slip in a square hole. Accomplishment comes in many forms.
While this is difficult, the rewards are enormous. Memories like sailing across the Mona Passage, catching lobster for dinner, reeling in a Mahi Mahi, numerous waterfalls, breaching humpback whales, swimming with turtles, SUPing around islands, meeting locals and hanging out with other cruisers especially Bikini has made all the hassles and difficulties worthwhile. This adventure is difficult, but FUN.
Sadly our journey is changing. We chose to do this trip while continuing our rafting business back in Colorado. Working from the boat has been a little bit of a struggle at times, but overall has worked beautifully. Technology has made all this possible. I can work on advertisements here and send them to people like nothing has changed. I can send documents to insurers and government agencies with the same speed and accuracy as if I was in Fort Collins. Email especially has kept me in constant contact with my business ventures. Our costs have been kept low by always trying to do fix things ourselves instead of calling an expert. It’s rare that we spend money on a mooring or a marina. The anchor is usually free and often more secure than anything else.
What hasn’t gone well are the things we have no control over. The weather last year with a 300% snowpack gave us a less than average rafting season. This years’ 23% snowpack looks to be the worst season ever. How I have wished for an average snowpack. But, average is only the sums of lows and highs. Our renters trashing our house with a puppy mill and $26,000 in damages depleted our budget instead of adding needed revenue. That’s life. Things change. So must we. We were already financially overextended and hoping for some good revenue from Mountain Whitewater Descents. We don’t want to sell our rafting business or our land home, so that leaves Rivers2Seas. Don’t want to sell her either. With no money in the bank account something must give. Our dream to sail around the world is the most prudent answer.
I’m glad that we didn’t know all the bad financial woes that would happen. We never would have cast the dock lines. We never would have purchased the boat in the first place. Our accomplishment and fun and adventure and teachings would never have happened. I’m glad we didn’t know.
We must look at reality of our financial situation and change our path. Heading back to Colorado to salvage our rafting season while living in our pop-up camper on the property makes sense. We will return to Rivers2Seas in early August and then make our way up the Eastern Caribbean and back to Florida. Sadly, we will have to sell our home and move back to Colorado next year. A two-year adventure with our kids is still something to be proud of certainly.
This is the second time I have tried to circumnavigate our earth. I failed the first time when I ran out of will and resources after 2400 miles by canoe, 10,000 by bike and 2500 by sail. My $3000 took me halfway. A year of effort but the goal still unattained. This effort has been bigger and will last two years but only about 6000 miles by sail. My progress at circumnavigation seems to be getting worse. Failure sure. But the only true failure is that of someone who never tries. I try. I pour my heart into it and what happens happens. We have spent well over $3000 on this journey. Yet, it is still worth it. Our successes so far greatly outweigh any failure.
“What constitute the pleasures of the traveler are obstacles, fatigue or even danger. What charm can there be in a journey when one is always sure to arrive and find his horses ready, a downy bed, an excellent supper and all the comfort one enjoys at home? One of the great misfortunes of modern life is the absence of the unexpected, the lack of adventure. Everything is so well regulated, so well fitted into its place and ticketed, that chance is no longer possible; another century of improvements, and everybody will be able to foresee from the very day of his birth all that will happen to him up to the day of his death.”
Monsieur Theophile Gautier, 1840.