We had spent the last 10 hours rolling around off Puerto Rico, the head (toilet) had overflowed numerous times, soaking the floor with its soupy pee mess then laying to rest in our shallow bilges. Haunting us with its stank for days to come.
Before the sunset that night the girls decided they would corner me in the cockpit while I was on watch. The hot topic was: “how a house is better than a boat”. A few notable points raised were:
- there’s more space for toys
- our beds are bouncier, better for jumping on
- bath tub (I agree with that one)
- we can go outside and run around anytime
- we can have friends that we don’t have to say goodbye to every couple of days (that one stung hard)
- and of course, you don’t get seasick in a house
After an hour of this discussion I was pretty much beat down.
Lets back track some….
10 hours earlier we were all amped to leave. We had shopped our badonkadonks off and provisioned for our passage to the San Blas Islands, Panama. It was going to be an 8 day downwind sail with maybe a little bit of lumpy weather in the middle. It was going to be a hard sail with the kids, the fatigue alone would put me in the fetal position. Testing us as a couple and a family. Testing us for the Pacific.
Whoa! You said the Pacific. Yes my friends, we are very spontaneous. Some people have already guessed this plan but I never publicly announced it. I never announced it because of the shame if we pulled out.
Shame people, shame! I haven’t posted to Facebook, instagram or our blog in the last week because of this shame.
On that fateful night we were 10 hours into our Panama crossing when we got the call on the vhf, our buddy boat Sea Spice had equipment issues (their davit fell off leaving their dingy to crash into the Caribbean Sea – read about it here), we made the decision to turn around and head back into Puerto Rico with them, we ended up beating into the wind the next 60 miles. We all felt ill and emotionally spent. Cali awoke on her birthday feeling seasick for the first time in her life. She cried over a bucket for over an hour before falling asleep. Crew was a hot mess trying to deal with a bumpy boat and Capri, well she wasn’t shy about sharing her hatred for the boat. Fun times people.
Once the kids were all fed breakfast and settled, Carl and I escaped to the cockpit for the inevitable conversation of, what are we doing? Why sail when the kids are so obviously miserable. Crossing the Pacific would be 5 months of hell, for everyone.
We not only turned around from Panama we turned around from the Pacific Crossing, we turned around from being full time cruisers.
A week on I’m still fighting my internal demons. This was going to be maybe our last chance to cross the Pacific and sail home to Australia. So many families have done it in the past, how are we not strong enough? All these inner turmoils eating away at me.
This was going to be it, the “it” your grandkids talk about. “Grandma was super amazing, she crossed the pacific, back when teleportation wasn’t around.”
Now that’s all lost. Lost in the bilge with our stale piss.
It’s official, I’m in a bit of a funk right now, but I know we made the right decision as a family.
We’re now sitting in Samana, Dominican Republic, drinking beer and hanging at the pool. Today I dumped a gallon of vinegar on the floor surrounding our head. I’m flushing the pee out of our bilges and the zestless sense of adventure in my heart. We are starting fresh. We’re going to stick with our friends and head north through the Bahamas up the east coast of the US and back to Maine where we still have our little cabin in the woods.
As for our future, well that too is laid out on the sand, awaiting the tide to decide our fate. We have booked flights to Australia for Christmas which is super exciting. Come summer we hope to sail up to Greenland again, I think as a whole we do a lot better in the cooler climates. We are keeping the boat and not completely giving up. Australia or Chile won’t be seeing Abeona this summer but maybe in a few years to come. Never say never.