I see a white sail
Skipping cross a blue bay
And I say Someday I will
I see a young man
strumming a green guitar
and I say Someday I will
I don’t have a plan
It's not that kind of thing
I'm not Martin Luther King
It's just sometimes I know
That's the way I'm suppose to go
"Someday I Will" Jimmy Buffett, Matt Betton
Something happened earlier this month, we started our third year of "Living the Dream"! It was a Monday, just like any other day here in the Caribbean. I moderated the morning cruisers net here in Carriacou, checked the latest tropical weather as it is the heart of "H" season, and it had been blowing like stink all weekend. We ran our two engines the previous day due to squalls and high winds and at one point put them both in gear to take stress off our anchor chain in 40 knot winds and they made a terrible grinding noise so shut them down; we'll deal with that tomorrow. A fellow cruiser who is far more experienced then we are said it sounded like bad engine mounts; great how many boat units is that? (1 boat unit = $1,000.00USD) On top of all of that, Jo was recovering from what we are pretty sure was Zika. (Jo is fully recovered but I seem to have it as I write this - kind of inevitable) Yup, we're livin' da dream! One of those Facebook share your memories things popped up from 14 years ago; really Facebook has been around that long? It was a picture of Jo and me in Abaco where the dream live on a boat began. Fourteen years, wow, that’s a long time ago and we just started year three of actually living aboard. Of course the dream was always tempered with realities of family, job, and money but it was always present from that point on. I remembered once at a memorial service for a friend, an acquaintance brought up, in the kind of small talk you engage in these sorts of things, that he had heard about our dream and thought that was so exciting. Jo said to me "I guess we had better go through with it now". Not that we weren’t going to but there were those exerting pressure on us to stay on land, keep working, be there for the family, you know, that kind of stuff. I'm sure they were earnest in their concern and only wanted what they thought was the best for us but… So as you know, it's well documented, we did it. We sold most of our stuff; home, cars, possessions, etc. and we bought a boat; oh shit, we bought a boat, abandoned our responsibilities, and sailed off the edge of the earth. Well made it to the Caribbean at least.
Dreams come with expectations and expectations come with realities. Not to put too much of a fine point on it but we were clueless when we began this dream; maybe we still are. I put together a logical plan of approach to it however. We would charter some boats, I would take some sailing classes and get certain certifications. We would read blogs, books, magazines, whatever we could find. Yup we would be prepared! I follow a lot of different groups that have to do with sailing on Facebook and I enjoy reading the post that start "we have this dream…." , yup been there. They are usually followed with a series of questions that can't really be answered because dreams have variables. Jo is a member of Women Who Sail. A very earnest group dedicated to supporting each other without male pontification! She occasionally shares some posts with me and some have practical questions about the dream, like "what kind of toilet paper can I use, I mean I have my favorite". Now this is not meant to be demeaning to the question asker, in fact, it shows more in-depth analysis of the dream than men seem to do. We tend to be a "we'll figure it out once we are there" sort of group in general. For the most part those who respond to both kinds of groups are supportive and offer advice from their point of view, leaving the original poster, the one with the new dream, to decipher and decide what opinions they want to hold on to, or more importantly what they want to share with their partner. Then there are those who post, "I have this dream but my partner thinks I am nuts", I'm not even going there. We are lucky, we both share the dream, which is a good thing for the simple fact that if we didn't, we wouldn't still be out here, or out here together. The thing is, no one can create or live your dream for you and be ready, dreams, like boats, are fickle.
The dream is powerful in this one! There is a French boat anchored near us here in our hurricane "time-out" box south of 12⁰ 40.00' North, or as we call it, Tyrell Bay, Carriacou W.I. It's a very small boat, looks to be very basic. There is a couple, maybe late 20's with a small child. The boat is solid and the male spends his day working on the boat while the woman and child often go ashore. They seem perfectly content with their dream and appear to have all they need. There are others here with very large boats well appointed with generators, water makers, lots of room, and some even have air conditioning. Oh that would be us, although we seldom run the AC when at anchor. Same dream, well maybe, at least the living on a boat thing, the freedom thing. We met an Italian sailor in St. Martin who was on an even smaller boat than the French boat. Truthfully, I don't even know how it was still afloat but it had gotten him across the Atlantic ocean and now he needed to go back. He had no GPS, a compass of dubious accuracy and no way to obtain an accurate weather report. That's how we met him, he rowed over to see if we spoke Spanish or Italian (his two languages) of course we did not, but through his little English and hand signals we told him what we had heard on the morning net, then one morning, he was gone, sailed off in that very little boat across that very big ocean. Did he make it? Don't know, but I hope so. Was that what his dream was when he first stepped on that little boat? We met another couple, we dubbed them "the kids" the year before in St. Martin, who had walked away from jobs in St. Thomas and figured they had enough money to buy a boat and sail for two years before they headed back to the "real world." Last we heard they had taken jobs in St. Johns U.S.V.I, short of their two year plan. Did that invalidate their dream somehow, or did realities alter the dream? Don't know, but they are young and more flexible than us old farts. We are boat friends with a couple most recently from Alaska. He was a pilot in the Navy back in Vietnam, part of Air America and was part of St. Thomas back before there were massive charter companies and credit card captains. Fascinating people with a very deep back-story. Do they have a specific "dream" that brought them here, or are they more like a line in a Jimmy Buffett song:
Some of them go for the sailing
Brought by the lure of the sea
Trying to find what is ailing
living in the land of the free
Some of them are running from lovers
Leaving no forward address
Some of them are running tons of ganja
Some are running from the IRS.
Don't know, maybe. There are many more boat and island friends we have met. Each fascinating in their own way, each with their own reality, story, and dream. Some have swallowed the hook and moved back to land, some are look at doing just that, at least part-time. Some have found their one particular island, dropped the hook and haven't moved since. Some have struck out across the big blue and are prowling the islands of the South Pacific or the western Caribbean. They come and go from anchorages each following their own dreams and with the exception of making prudent judgments regarding weather are free to so. Do they find what it is they are looking for? Who says they have to be looking for anything.
"To Dream the Impossible Dream" See I know other songs than Buffett's. You must be wondering what's our back story, what are we running from? Well sorry to disappoint, no great mystery, no bodies left in the desert; although there were times. No, we just decided to follow that dream, our dream. To not only live the life Jimmy Buffet sings about but to, well I'm not sure; that's the thing with dreams, you don't always remember all the details once you wake up. Has this dream, our dream, been fulfilled? Well in a way yes. We did sell-it-all, buy a boat and sail away. In another way no. My dreams of crossing oceans and exploring the South Seas has been tempered with the realities of and commitments back home and what 30 days at sea might mean. Does that mean that dream is dead? I hope not, it just needs time. Jo's dreams, well you have to ask her. So here we are, year three of this "dream". Will we make it to year four? I have no way of knowing, but I think so. Is it perfect, does it meet expectations? Well I am reminded of a story… A fly fisherman died and went to what he thought was heaven. On the first day there he was standing in a beautiful trout stream just enough breeze at his back, gently casting dry flies to rising trout and with each cast a hook-up. After a while another fisherman wandered by. He had been there a long time and told the same story. Every day idyllic conditions, rising fish, hook-up after hook-up. The new arrival exclaimed "wow this really is heaven". The old timer paused, looked at the newbie and said, "what makes you think this is heaven"? You see, I think our dream was just an outline, something to motivate us. In some ways it is better than I imagined, in some ways worse; like being a parent. If it had met all the expectations, it might have been easier in some respects but what might we have missed and what satisfaction was gained from overcoming and dealing with the challenges. As for the grinding noise in our transmissions that we thought might lead to an expensive repair: turns out it was hard growth, barnacles, etc. that had made their way into the rubber bearing (cutlass bearing) which the prop (propeller) shaft goes through and which, along with the dripless bearing, keeps the sea water on the outside of the boat. A little heat applied and some tense moments while it ground its way out and we are back in business. No boat units expended; at least for now! Cause, well we sat in one place too long!
Another boat just entered the anchorage and set to our starboard. A French boat, there are a lot of French boats here. They were somewhere else last night and for whatever reason they are here now. That’s just how it goes, like the tide, boats come and go, dreams live or die. For now our dream lives on. Different than 14 years ago when it was conceived, or three years ago when it was born. In many ways different than we had expected and when it gets too much we look to the West at sunset and the original Lighting Designer reminds us of how lucky we are.
OneLove from your Lizards on Ice