Thats the first question asked when you tell people youre going cruising. Typically images of tropical islands and endless rum drinks pop into peoples heads as they picture the weeks charter they did in the Virgin Islands as never-ending. Everyone seems to assume that youre going to head straight to the Caribbean.
Well, were not. After spending the winter in the Florida Keys helping Larrys dad get settled in a new home, Safari is heading north. If you press us for a specific destination, we'll tell you were going to Maine and possibly Nova Scotia. But we never know for sure (after looking at some charts, we recently realized it would be closer to sail to Venezuela!).
Weve found the whole question of our cruising plans a difficult one to answer so far. Cruising can hardly be likened to taking the Greyhound Bus. You dont just choose a city, jump on your boa,t and sail right there. The beauty of this type of travel is that there are so many things and places to discover along the way, and at any time, one of them may reach out and grab you and completely change what you do next. Its truly the journey, not the destination, that is important.
One of our goals on this trip north is to get more offshore experience. We know we have a boat that can take us anywhere in the world and we both have considerable sailing experience in smaller boats. The miles well log on this trip are to make sure that the two of us and the way we have equipped Safari, are up to whatever conditions we may encounter, wherever we decide to go.
That decision continues to crop up as we cruise. We meet people who have been going up and down the East Coast, and perhaps over to the Bahamas, for 20 years or more, and are perfectly content to never go farther. When talking to them, they tell us they feel they still havent discovered everything these areas have to offer and are fully contented in this cruising life.
Are we going to go around the world eventually? Maybe, but to be honest we dont know yet. We are the type of people that looks for a challenge in everything. We expect to always be looking toward the horizon for new and exciting ports and adventures. But there are many things that will influence which ports these will be, including our families in Canada and the US, our own confidence level and how cheaply we can continue this cruising lifestyle.
We seem to be slowly winding down to a cruising mentally. As past racers, this has been a little bit difficult for us. Untrimmed sails were not tolerated, and any other boat in the vicinity had been fair game for us to switch into race mode. Weve sailed almost exclusively up the coast and we're a bit disappointed to find that most boats rarely venture out of the Intracoastal Waterway. This made for very few ocean sightings of potential conquests to satisfy our misplaced desire to win while were cruising.
Now its not necessary to get underway at sunrise every day and an occasional luffing sail is tolerated (but not for too long). Weve discovered the joys of staying in one port for three or four days, exploring back creeks by dinghy, towns by bicycle, and meeting locals who either used to cruise or want to cruise.
We may have left our old lives and friends behind, but are well on our way to understanding why it is that weve met people who have been cruising for 20 years or more. A world of cruising experiences awaits out there. We plan to share them with you on a regular basis.