Monday, November 14, 2016

The Way Forward

Well, I'm back to the boat.

And what a visit to the home country that turned out to be!

The only good part of being in the US when the White Power candidate was elected to the highest office of the land was that on election night I happened to be in the company of the best man from my wedding. He and I went out and got drunk, both thoroughly and publicly.

It didn't make me feel any better, really.

So that hopeful feeling about returning to the home country? That has been replaced by something much more wary.

We do all have Australian passports, of course. And a boat that experience tells us is probably adequate to the task of sailing back to Hobart.

I remember going through the "we're outta here" phase on election night. I think it was mostly between drinks number six and nine. I found myself declaiming, to anyone who would listen, "I hope that works out for all y'all!"

But the draw of Alaska is strong.  There is also the thing about not wanting to be driven out of your country, but I find that consideration works on me only when Alaska is part of the equation. Without the Great Land, I think I'd prefer to go and be middle class in Oz, thanks much.

So, when we exit the Panama Canal early next year (everything going to plan), we expect to turn right for Hawai'i, rather than left for Fatu Hiva. Unless the Pussy Grabber In Chief has managed to start a particularly egregious war in the first couple months of his administration.

The year so far, as seen by the Caribbean Safety and Security Net
So. That leaves us in the Caribbean for a couple more months. It seems like a pretty trivial concern at this point, but we have so far completely failed to see the magic of the Caribbean. Our loathing for crowds and very low tolerance for crime risk are a tough combo here. See the map of reported thefts, assaults, and general non-fun sailor moments above.

We had thought about heading up to Cuba, but a chance comment from some Canadian friends about how Cuba wasn't such a fascination for them as it was for American sailors resonated with me. I had a visit to Cuba with that same best man about 19 years ago, and it was great. I don't think I really need to go again.

We thought about Guatemala as well, but very little research told us that it was the kind of place where sailors lock themselves into their boats at night behind stainless steel bars. Not the Galactic way, that.

So for now it looks like we're bound for Colombia.

Stay tuned.


  1. Hard decisions ahead. Turn left? Turn right? It's always been my way to go left!

    As for the Caribbean I hope there's something positive to discover as that's the way we'te headed real soon. A few more lions and elephants to say hello to before we depart.

    Safe sailing.

    1. Hey Tony - Not all is hopeless in the Caribbean. A simpatico Portuguese couple told us about being all by themselves in the Bahamas for weeks at a time, and also about some anchorage in the Lesser Antilles that is just a little off the beaten track and therefore completely deserted. Plus we hear good things about Los Roques and other Venezuelan Islands.

      It just takes a little re-adjustment to our outlook, given that this is the same year that we were in South Georgia!

  2. Me parece buenisima idea!! - Adrian

  3. I cannot begin to imagine your uncertainty regarding outcome of the election.
    Australia is not terrible, as you know, and they do have rugby and cricket :)

    I can understand the draw of Alaska, much like the African bush is constantly calling me in my blood. I dream of visiting Alaska one day - Despite having lived in the USA (A total of 19 months), I never got to see Alaska (It's a tad far from New Jersey, where I was based).
    Then again, Alaska is close to Russia :)

    As a South African, I can also definitely relate to the presidential problem you face. The world is slowly going mad - I seriously envy the life of sailors like yourselves, out on the ocean and seas.

    Best of luck in your travels in the Caribbean - Maybe check out Trio Travels on Saltair 3 for some ideas in the Caribbean? Also, I see Pelagic is in Columbia too...

    Looking forward to your next post.


    1. Thanks, Gareth. And yes, we did watch, and empathize with, our South African friends as they dealt with the effects of a rotten President. The problems of the world are writ large in some places...

  4. I lived in Colombia for two years back when it was a third world country. Now it ranks far higher than the US for standards of health care according to the World Health Organization. Definitely worth some time exploring, and not just by boat.

    My favorite island in the Caribbean for those of us who don't fancy the yachty scene or the mine-is-bigger-than-yours Megayacht crowd: Provedencia. Last high island in the Caribbean with no industrial strength tourism. And as you mentioned, there are a lot of low key places in the Bahamas. A few years ago we harbor hopped the length of Eleuthera and never shared an anchorage with more than one or two boats.

    So I'd like to pose a question that you are eminently qualified to answer. Alaska vs. Chile & Patagonia. If you could only cruise one again for two years which would it be? And if employment were no consideration, which would you choose as a permanent home?


    1. Well, I can only return the favor for someone who reminded me of Thomas Kuhn, whom I still have never read.

      Man, I love Alaska. And I think the sailing in Alaska would be off the hook. Certainly what we saw when we still lived there with our previous boats was remarkable. But, for all that. If I had two years of sailing to do, and was choosing between Alaska and Chile, I think I would go back to Chile. The canales are just so endless. And the side trips that would be possible given that length of stay - the Falklands and South Georgia and Antarctica. Well.

      Though, of course, I am dead keen to get back to the Alaska Peninsula to watch bears foraging on the beach. Chile doesn't have large mammals or bird life anything like Alaska. Or indigenous culture, for that matter.

      As for living! That's a tough one. Chile does have very strong top-down control of every aspect of civil life, which would be hard to take for long. And, for me, it's a question of the heart that I can't address with my head. Alaska, at its best, makes me feel alive in a different way from anywhere else. The Great Land can be one powerful elixir. Worth putting up with all sorts of compromise for a quaff!

  5. We were off the coast of Georgia during the election, listening to NPR our of Savannah, and have never felt more disconnected from our country. Unmoored!

    1. I know - this time it's the dirt dwellers who are so obviously unmoored.