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Dreams of Sunsets, Rum & Island Life
First of all, JeffC is right about the "Handbook of Sailing" by Bob Bonds.
My husband, coming from farmland in Oklahoma, dreamed of sailing. It was his biggest most desired dream a man could ever contain. He never really thought he would do it. He read that book and learned SO much. The day we set out for the first time together for a sea trial on our first sailboat, I, like you, was hooked. It took a month before it hit him. He had his sailboat and was about to fulfill his dream.
We are now in Guatemala and love it!
Of course our family and friends, even to this day, think we are nuts and clueless. But the day we arrived at Isla Mujeres, after a 7 day crossing from Pensacola Florida, the joy and achievement my husband felt was priceless and made my heart soar. His comment was simple, "No matter what happens after this, that can''t be taken from me." The ''that'' he spoke of was living his dream...sailing his boat, across the Gulf, through everything dealt to us during that passage. Beat to hell, more bruises than we could count, tired, grungy, and hungry suddenly didn''t seem so bad when we sailed upon something we thought was a wad of floating seaweed and turned out to be a huge seaturtle. We were just five yards from it when it dove under. We could not have gotten that close in a power boat, and we could not have seen that beauty if we had listened to our family and friends. You tell me who the clueless ones are.
Now, as far as the dog issue goes. There are several people who have brought their dogs along on their voyages. If you have the right health certificate, you shouldn''t have a problem. Email different Countries'' Embassies to see what they reccommend. Dogs are actually great security (especially when anchored).
As for the ice maker, you may want to look at a 110/12v refrigerator/freezer.
Finally, to the question you posed about making a living abroad. Even here in the Rio Dulce there are cruisers making livings by utilizing their trades. There are sail repairers, canvas makers, computer geeks, electricians, etc. Also, look at the possibility of managing a marina. There are many marinas around here and other places that use cruisers as managers of the marinas. In some cases you just get a free slip, and some others offer a commission or pay along with the free slip.
Look at the places you want to visit, then plan around your budget. Some places cost a lot more than others. The Western Caribbean is cheaper in Mexico, Guatemala, and farther south. Belize can be about US prices (and more for US products). There are ways to stretch the budget.
Either way, it''s your choice to sit on the sidelines and ''coulda-shoulda-woulda'' in your later life or live the dream that burns inside you.
Here''s to dreaming,