The title for this post comes from our friend Diana, who writes, "You've got us stumped....where the **** are you heading next? Could it be the big P??"
It could, indeed, be the big P.
Like many voyaging sailors, we tend to be cagey, with ourselves and others, about our intentions for the future. We're conscious of how tenuous and contingent is any long-term plan for a traveling boat.
Put another way, it's easy to draw lines on a map of where you're "gonna go", but there are many a slip twixt cup and lip, as someone said in the pre-blog era. Cruising World columnists have been particularly prone to this effect, with two back-page authors that I can remember starting off their monthly installments on the preparations for the Big Trip...but then never actually getting away.
So, conscious of how lucky we've been to travel for these last six years, Alisa and I tend to undersell our plans for the future, both to ourselves and to others.
But...the demands of effective storytelling are better served when a journey has a goal that is known to all. And, we find that we are better served ourselves by having a big-picture goal. Team Galactic, we don't mind wandering, but we like to know that we're going somewhere.
All of which has led us to agree that it is indeed time to head for the Big P - that being Patagonia, of course. The idea has been in the back of our minds for years and years, and after our last two seasons, with the passage across the Tasman and the trip to the New Zealand subantarctic and the passages from New Zealand to the tropics and back, we're feeling that we're ready.
And while we would love a season split between Fiji and Vanuatu - Melanesia remains almost completely unknown to us - we feel our nautical clocks ticking. We love what we're doing, and our salty hearts beat faster when sailing friends who find themselves on the beach warn us to wear ship and head for the safety of the open sea before the reefs of mortgage and effortless internet connection have the chance to grasp our keel. But all the same, we picture ourselves doing this again some time, but we don't picture ourselves doing it forever. The ten years afloat mark is still over the horizon, but with ourselves past halfway there, it starts to feel like a reasonable point at which to attempt living in one country, one anchorage, for more than a year or a season.
So, that means that if we ever want to see anything outside of the southwest Pacific, we better get going. And without ever quite agreeing on it explicitly, we are planning to prepare, during this season in New Zealand, for the passage east to the Austral Islands, and French Polynesia generally, then onwards to Patagonia in the following Austral summer.
Watch this space!