Sunday, January 1, 2017

Annus Mirabilis

In Cuba, notes that can be converted to foreign currency are CUC - pronounced "kook".

Since our complete absence of advance planning for this trip has left us a bit short on CUC, we had to make a few choices in the shops of Cienfuegos. I am glad to say that we were able to throw down for at least one luxury item, in the form of a quite economical but still French bottle of sparkling wine. Which is well chilled in the fridge just now. The trades have been keeping Galactic's two wind generators going to the point where we found a fleck of ice in one of our chilled water bottles yesterday.

(The liter of Havana Club rum that we bought in Cienfuegos I am not counting as a luxury good, since it set us back $6 USD.)

Between that chilled wine and the 6 or 7 lobster tails that we also have in the fridge, we are looking well sorted for our New Year's Eve.

As 2017 has been drawing nearer for the last few weeks, Alisa and I have occasionally been commenting with some sense of wonder over the year that 2016 was for us.

We started the year in the Falklands. We spent a month of the year on Safari in South Africa and Namibia. We crossed the Atlantic twice. We had the bar-none trip of our lives to South Georgia.

We put 11,600 nautical miles on the clock. With the notable exception of a mad traveling family of our acquaintance who have found the groove of slow travel, I tend to get very nervous around boats that never go anywhere. What is the point? For me, any year that sees us crossing the 10,000 mile barrier is a good sailing year indeed.

And there were smaller notable moments for the team. Elias went scuba diving. Eric learned to read and to ride a bike. The boys went trick-or-treating for the first time. I gave talks at two scientific conferences, and published two first-author scientific papers and a handful of magazine stories. Alisa learned to be a teacher for a 10-year-old and a 6-year-old, which is a different skill set than that involved in teaching 9 and 5, and ever so critical to making our family life afloat work.

So, without wanting to jinx ourselves by taking notable delight in our incredibly good fortune, I think it safe to say that we Galactics find ourselves entirely pleased with the way that we have conducted this final entire year of our first decade of full-time sailing.

That lobster and wine is going to be well enjoyed tonight.

I'll close by wishing the best to our readers for this coming year. And if you dream, metaphorically or actually, of casting off the lines and sailing for distant shores, may 2017 be the year you do so.

This post was sent via our high-frequency radio as we're far from internet range. Pictures to follow when we reach internet again. We can't respond to comments for now, though we do see them all!

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