Saturday, March 19, 2011

Making the Decision

So here we are.  Our cruising plans have changed several times.  We started out on a one year plan, which has extended into two, and then into a few more months beyond that.  We started out planning to be in Central America in the first year and didn't make it, and then planned to make it there in the second year and then changed our minds.  We thought we'd head to the South Pacific, and then weren't sure we should do that given that we'd need to extend another few months.  In addition, our daughter Danielle was feeling like she needed to be back at school for eighth grade given that we hadn't been around kids for a while.  The plan then changed to one in which we'd stay in Mexico for the remainder of the cruising season and be back home in the summer, taking more land trips and exploring beautiful Mexico in greater detail.  Within a week of this decision, more kid boats appeared and Danielle spent more time with friends who had been to the South Pacific.  She learned that there are so many kids there, not only Canadians and Americans, but also Europeans, Australians and Kiwis.  And she also learned what an incredible experience it would be, one she's not likely to have again in her lifetime. So now she is convinced that that's where we should be going.  She's held on to that opinion vehemently since. But then once we all got on board, I started having my own doubts centered around homeschooling Harrison.  Much to Danielle's disappointment, we went back to staying in Mexico.

When we were in the Bay Area a few weeks ago, I spent a lot of time talking to teachers at the kids' school (we don't call it their 'old' school because we intend to return there) and they assured me that the challenges we were facing were purely developmental.  The teachers gave me pointers and aids on how to deal with the challenges I was having (as an aside:  incredible teachers!).  I spoke to his peers and realized that he is at the same level they are.  And I spoke with friends who have kids that age and/or are teachers, who also assured me that he's doing fine and is right on track.  Back to the South Pacific. Sort of.

Now that the kids were on board, Michael and I had to decide if we were ready.  'Ready' is a subjective word.  Our boat is undoubtedly ready.  But are we?  Mentally?  Interestingly, I am thoroughly looking forward to the 3 week passage, with nothing to do but homeschool, hang out and play games with my kids, do art projects, do yoga, read, write plenty of blogs and sleep.  In addition to being on watch 24/7 (on a schedule of course, sharing it with the rest of my crew). There's no shopping, laundry, dates, internet or other distractions. We'll be completely present.  But once we get there???  It's a completely different type of cruising than we've been doing.  Passages between the islands are usually 3-7 days.  Most of the anchorages are trickier due to coral heads, cones, and the like. You are clearly much more off the beaten track, and what if we need emergency help? Internet connections are spotty and scarce. Fresh produce is even scarcer in many of the destinations.  And if you could get past all of the above, there are SHARKS that swim in the anchorages in the Marquesas.

On the other hand, all this is so exciting, and a once in a lifetime experience - for all of us.  Other people have managed to overcome all of the above, so why can't we?

So we took a deep breath, and plunged in.  We've now set our schedule to depart around April 1, just so that we have a deadline.  We're going to the South Pacific ... unless of course, we decide not to between now and then...

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico


  1. How exciting! Truly an adventure of a lifetime. I will be sending you good thoughts for a safe and easy passage. Looking forward to your posts.

  2. Great blog! Great decision! Can't say I was too surprised. I am very excited for you guys and can't wait for the next post... What an adventure!
    I wonder where our next trip will be? Allan's been googling Fiji...

  3. There is a saying.....where ever you go, there you are........ Still holding out hope you come North. We miss you!!!!!

  4. Barb and Michael,

    Splendid decision. I've always wanted to see the South Pacific, so I'll be reading your stories and looking at your photos very closely.

    You decision making process reminds me of what Winston Churchill said about Americans: they always do the right thing, after they've tried everything else.