After our sojourn in the Exumas, making it as far south to Black Point in Great Guana Cay, we started to make our way north back up the island chain, then a jump across to New Providence island. On the way, we hooked our first big food fish–a wondrous, iridescent Mahi Mahi that fed us for days. We anchored on the west end of New Providence preparing for the long sail to Bimini and then back across the Gulf Stream to Florida. The trip was without incident and we were soon requesting opening of the 17th Street draw bridge in Ft Lauderdale.
So, we are home. A solid 6 months of sailing in our wake. So how was it? Overall it was a great start and we feel like we hauled ourselves up a steep learning curve, and although nowhere near the apex, we have made great progress, had a lot of fun, and feel confident that we can do this sailing thing! This is what we found out:
- The boat is fantastic: Genevieve sails well and fast and loves a good strong wind. She rides the waves with dignity and hardly ever gets us wet in the cockpit. She is a strong, well-built boat that will keep us safe and comfortable, while moving at a lively rate of knots. And most importantly, she is a head-turner, garnering many compliments from salty types who know boats
- Living aboard is a breeze: Genevieve has enough space for us to feel quite at home (maybe this is because we are used to apartment living in NYC with minimalist tendencies?)
- Cruising is a bit like life: island hopping offers-up fantastic days of great weather, varied activities, new people to meet, and idyllic settings. But, much like the rest of life, some days suck…bad weather, shitty locations, tedium. Get over it. Still better than working!
- We need better communication technology: ability to boost wi-fi signals and maybe a pricey satellite internet connection system for weather and essential emails
- We need to create more entertainment options: wetsuits for chilly swimming weather, maybe an inflatable kayak, more books on the Kindle, some playing cards, Scrabble, more digital movies or DVDs.
- Fishing is fun: We both hated fishing–couldn’t see the point of sitting on a river bank or beach with a hook in the water. But trawling a line or two from Gen’s stern allows us to (occasionally) capture wonderful, exotic, huge sea creatures from the ocean, and eat them. The odds are definitely on the fishes’ side–we lose a lot of fancy lures–but like Pavlov’s dogs, we are starting to get a salivating thrill from the sound of the reel running and the sight of a colorful fishy beast jumping at the end of the line
- John is a natural sailor: despite his misgivings, he seems to have taken to sailing and cruising. He has put seasickness behind him, knows how to sail the boat, dock the boat, anchor the boat, and has even finally mastered the essential yachtie knots. I am very proud of him…and somewhat relieved. I don’t think he is going to issue his sailing veto…yet.
- Togetherness is bliss: John and I used to spend three or less waking hours a day in each others presence, punctuated with days or weeks apart as dictated by business travel. Now we are in the same small space ALL THE FUCKING TIME. This requires a bit of adjustment. We are working on it. It’s wonderful. Sometimes.
- Visitors are essential (see above): It is fun to share the boat, the cruising and the tropics with good friends. Please come and try this with us. Apart from the company, visitors are useful to bring chocolate, spare engine parts and, occasionally, new toilets.
- We need a water maker: working on it
- Timing of return is important: We came back to NY a bit too early! Our return this year was dictated by a planned trip to Scotland (starting next week) and my subsequent sailing adventure from the Orkney Islands to the Norwegian Arctic, but in the future we will wait a few more weeks to let the trees fully bud and the temperature to notch up a few degrees.
So we may be offline for a few months as we enjoy beach house living, some travel, kayaking expeditions. But we are also thinking about our next winter sailing destinations…most likely the British Virgin Islands. We are looking for crew to make the passage, or once we are there. Interested?