The long trip to Grenada will not take place until 2014. I will start sailing out of Panama City in May or June of 13. I will start off with one day outings and progress out from there. I thought about a trip to the Bahamas (2013) but way to early to talk about it (for real). I have a lot of train up (takes time) time in front of me. I need to learn my boat, & time to get it ship shape. I'm asking a lot of question's and doing some long range plans (longer trips) to keep my big dream maker alive & well. I'm smart enough to know that it will be 2014 (Grenada & return, est. 9 mo's.) for my long trip.
My sailing off into the sunset (2014) is driven by one other (major) factor. My Mother is in her later stages of dementia. I'm a only chlld and she need's 24/7 overwatch/ care. She is (nearly) at the point where she does not know (that often) me and hostile (against me). I'm just starting to look for a nursing home to take Good Care of Her. My Son is on her good side. he's the only family member that she know's (currently) and still gets along with. So long story short, I'm walking a time line with a number of variables -- Train Up Time, Prep./ Proof Out of I-37, Off Shore (more training) Experience, and Ma Ma's Care. I need to know she's provided for while I'm gone, & Son checks in on her. Lastly, I have minor (+) health issues. When you're 64 and counting.. another week, months or years is not yours to count on. I have a 2, 3 or 4 year window and I need to make it happen. I did not come up with this Sailing Plan over night. I have been setting money aside and going over everything for 2 years (+). I just found the right boat for me (I37); I wanted a Motor Sailor/ Sailboat, well satisfied with overall condition of the I37 and own it.
So, please bear with me, with a little bit of luck and hard work (some of it fun)... I'm determined to get there. I expect to have .. big smiles, see breath taking sunsets and much more in my (near future) touchable dreams.
You know, anything can be done with the right attitude and determination. However, instead of setting your sites on the carrib, set it on the Bahamas. The run from Panama City just to the keys (rodriguez if you want to jump across to the Bahamas) is realistically several days and most likely a week or better. In doing it that way, even taking a week, you will miss a lot of great stuff. Not to mention , I would not leave the US without stopping by the Tortugas. I think they are the most beautiful place in the US via water (my opinion). Somewhere in there you have to refuel and restock with water and groceries and the stuff that broke or doesn't run right. Then you set in ROdriguez Key and wait for the right weather window. Then you jump across. All of that is likely two weeks or more - assuming very little sight-seeing or issues.
Being a Floridian, you know the inherent dangers of making the run into the Bahamas (much less the carrib) in the summer and especially late summer. Your progress will be determined by the weather, period. Many of the delivery captains I know will not take a boat out that time of year from here. They will wait until post-November. There is a reason for that. Also, are you carrying insurance? If not, you may well find it difficult to stay at any reasonably nice marina in the US. If you are, you better check the coverage. Many demand that you are out of the hurricane zone during hurricane season.
I want you to get to the carrib and enjoy your dream. But remember that it isn't the destination that makes this life wonderful, it is everything inbetween.