Usually New Years is the time when I look back over the year, or decade, that has passed and feel gratitude for it all: for the friends (so many awesome people entered my life in the past ten years and joined the dear ones already there) the family (amazing to think that 10-years-ago this month I learned Maia was on her way) and the adventures that have enriched us. But this year, after a quick nod to the past, my focus has been entirely forward.
I guess it’s because we’re in countdown mode. In roughly three months we’ll be departing Mexico and heading across the South Pacific—an adventure I’ve dreamed about for as long as I’ve had dreams. Between now and then we not only have over a month's worth of visitors to look forward to, but we also have to get ourselves, and the boat ready.
Setting off to cross an ocean tends to be the big deadline for many cruisers—all those niggling chores that have been put off for months (and years) suddenly seem pretty vital. And they probably are. Although we know of the sailors who stock their simple craft with a case of peanut butter and two cases of rum and set sail…
The flipside is we also know (or know of) the boats that didn’t make it, and when you’re crossing an ocean with all your dreams, and your kid, being the boat that doesn’t make it just isn’t an option.
So we research, and make lists, and ask questions, and do stuff, and buy stuff.
Our main, we decided, needed a 3rd reef for balance in blustery winds, and our tillers need beefing up, and the interior needs ventilation from something other than hatches, and it’s looking like our copious solar panels may have trouble keeping up with our power needs when we are pointing south for weeks on end. And we’re sorting through our charts and assembling cruising guides and reading through provisioning lists and studying up on food preservation.
And every now and then I imagine those early boats that travelled with no cruising guides, no GPS, no AIS, and no long-life milk. And I think that what they did was amazing and dream that maybe someday I’ll be the type of sailor who takes to the ocean on a moments notice—as though sailing to remote islands is no more than a drive across town.
But I’m not that sailor yet. And I still think sailing to the South Pacific is huge—and life changing (hopefully in a good way). And knowing of no other way to prepare for huge, and life changing I make lists: of food to can, lockers to empty, supplies to find and websites to read, of stuff to build, and things to fix.
And rather than imagining where I was a year ago (in San Diego—chomping at the bit to reach Mexico), I imagine leaping off from land and sailing across a vast ocean toward a dream.