As we ready Rivers2Seas for our passage from Isla Mujeres to Florida my feelings are all mixed up. Moody. I go from happy to the lead the “normal and easy” landlubbers life in Colorado to depressed that this is the last. The last time to anchor, the last bridal set, the last foreign country, the last passage, the last time to say we are on an adventure. At any moment the tide can turn and my mood swings. I so badly want this voyage to continue and parts of me are glad to be done.
Our successes as a family have surpassed my hopes. We are tight knit as they come. We not only travel together well, but also do it with style. We enjoy each other’s company. After spending 15 months living on a boat 24 feet wide by 41 long all cramped up and on top of each other, stresses galore, even downright terrified at times to say we still enjoy each other’s company is a weighty one.
I wish I knew how we got along so well. It would great advice for anyone to improve their family life. Fact is, though, I haven’t a clue. We started out liking each other and didn’t come out here to improve our relationships, although we did. Respect for each other and our boat roles have been important. Lindsey and I play vital roles in the management of our boat lives. Without one, the other wouldn’t succeed and both of us are acutely aware of that fact. While doing separate tasks we are also invariably intertwined to accomplish the goal. Several guests have commented on how they could never interact that well with their spouses. I’m a lucky man to have found such a mate to mesh my life with.
The kids are at the perfect age for this voyage, they still trust us without doubt, enjoying the hardships and victories like champs. Younger and they would have been to dependant on us for survival and wouldn’t remember the adventure. Older and they would miss everything about home and friends and wouldn’t want to participate. I think that any boat kid from age four to eleven would love life at sea. Those kids are fun for the parents to have around 24/7 too. The teenagers I have met have solidified my feelings that there is no way to voyage with them for too long.
Today we are waiting for the winds to die down a bit and then head out for the 450-500 mile passage. I’ve done all sorts of models on average speed and how long it should take. A large storm is forecast four days from now so we have to beat that. If we average six knots we will be in Fort Lauderdale in 3 days and 3 hours, 7 knots – 2 days and 16 hours, 8 knots – 2 days and 8 hours, 9 knots – 2 days and 2 hours. The massive Gulf Stream is going our direction and we will actually zigzag a bit to follow the 1-2 knot favorable current. There are so many factors at play that any of the scenarios could prove correct. Obviously, the nine-knot average would make us all a bit happier.
I have downloaded the forecasts for wind patterns, wave heights, pressure variants and Gulf Stream locations. I called Chris Parker yesterday to get his predictions. Everything points to a good crossing. The boat hatches are all fastened, dinghy tied up with eight separate tie points, fuel filled and jugs strapped down, route planned and plotted on the GPS, safety items charged and stowed, the salon has been converted to a giant bed, the kids given a dose of Dramamine, water filled, water speed meter freed, props sanded, hulls scraped, cushions stowed – USA here we come!