The squall in Rat Cay was a bit of a wake up call for us. The weather in the Bahamas was changing, and we got a front row seat. We had imagined that we would adventure north, through Eleuthera and then the Abacos but the weather change along with the calendar ticking away, kinda’ made us reassess. Once we made it halfway up the Exuma Chain to Staniel Cay, we were looking for some weather to cross the Exuma Sound to Eleuthera. The forecast was showing steady easterly trade winds for days with nothing from the south, forcing us to wait a little longer unless we wanted to bash into the waves the whole way across. The idea of having to wait longer in Staniel Cay to cross the Sound, spending time in Eleuthera and then waiting for the right weather to cross the Northeast Providence Channel to get to the Abacos started making JR nervous that we would still be in the Bahamas halfway through June and into the beginning of hurricane season. There was also the first mention of a tropical wave in the extended forecast, which reinforced the notion that the weather in the Bahamas was changing. We were a bit tired as well, suffering from what I’ve been calling “cruiser’s fatigue.” So rather than waiting for something other than the easterly trades, we made the low-spirited decision to use them to head home via Nassau and the Berry Islands. It was a great sail across the Great Bahama Bank and the Gulf Stream (we sailed 250 miles in 5 days), and as we sit here in Ft. Lauderdale, listening to Chris’s weather forecast, we are very pleased with our decision to cross when we did. Remember, we are still newbies and extraordinarily conservative, squalls and 30 knot winds make us uneasy. So we dipped and are feeling way less stress being on this side of the Gulf Stream.
Aside from our recent Gulf Stream crossing, many, many, many folks have been asking about our plans after this trip. In fact, it has been our most frequently asked question since Day 1! Admittedly, we didn’t know what our plans were going to be until about 3 weeks ago. It was really fun having no plans at all. We thought about continuing south to the Carribean, or heading to Maine, and you know I wanted to spend the summer in Ocracoke <3 For months we fantasized about the summer, our choices were limitless which is always a good feeling. In late February, JR’s boss from his engineering firm contacted him to tell him about a management position that was available. We were in Staniel Cay, still heading south, and in no way ready to deal with real summer plans, especially WORK plans. We discussed it in depth and decided returning home to work wasn’t for us :) How nice, right? We couldn’t help but to feel fortunate however, so far away from home and JR’s former boss is contacting him to offer him a promotion. Nice.
We continued south and continued toying with summer plans, I even sent a resumé and application to Ocracoke School. We had been leaning toward spending the summer in Ocracoke and if I got the teaching job, staying through the winter months as well. We plopped down in George Town, stalled nicely, and about mid-way through April, JR got another e-mail from his company, again offering him the position. “Fine!” we thought, “We’ll really, really, really deal with this!” So we really, really, really started to think about the summer.
You may or may not know that we kept our house in Maryland and we take care of my dad’s house in Maryland as well. We have them both rented out and it’s been working out nicely for us. In 2011 when my dad’s house unexpectedly became our responsibility, we had already been saving and planning for this trip. The house needed a little TLC and luckily we had the money and time to do it. Unfortunately, that money was our cruising kitty, so that, as well as a couple other factors, pushed our departure date back a year. It all worked out fine though, we got the house into decent shape and were able to help out a few friends by having them move in once we got it to a point that it was livable again after some renovations. We had been working on our house for the 10 years we lived there and it was (is) in great shape. We got all 3 rentals (my dad’s place has 2 units) squared away and left both houses in the hands of my mom and step-dad while we were away. They have been taking great care of them, dealing with heating issues, cable issues, insurance issues, and general maintenance. Along with the houses, we kept our cars and some of our stuff in case cruising wasn’t right for us. We are conservative adventurers, we are not “sell it all and go” kinda’ folks!
Anyway… Long story short, we have responsibilities at home to tend to! My mom and step-dad have been great at taking care of our things while we are away, but they can’t do it forever (although I know they would :) The houses have been holding up nicely, but my dad’s place still needs some major work… So, JR took the job and we are heading home to work. I know, I know, how anti-climactic. His boss was really generous in terms of start date because traveling by boat is so weather dependent. JR committed to a start date of August 1st, knowing that would be PLENTY of time to make it back to Maryland. I’m kinda’ in love with the idea of chillin’ in Ocracoke on the way back up and then living in a marina in DC for a while when we get back to the DC/Metro area, but you know how plans go. The boat has been our home for 6 months so if we need to continue to live on it through the fall, no big deal. I still need to decide if I will return to teaching. All signs point to yes, but it’s fun to pretend I won’t! I’m not sure I can rationalize being a stay-at-home mom for a cat. Maybe if we got 2 or 3 cats, I could justify it :)
I will be the first to admit that I was a bit of a mess about this whole thing. It was so nice having these open-ended choices, and returning home to pick up where we left off seemed so lame. But I’ve given it a lot of thought and I am feeling pretty excited. I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity and I know if we pulled it off once, we can pull it off again, which we fully intend to, by the way. We also still have the whole adventure home to experience!
When we do make it back to the DMV, I can’t wait to explore the Bay this fall with our friends and family, I can’t wait to give my daddy’s house a little more love, I can’t wait to go see Bruno with Fla and Annie-Q, I can’t wait to see my handsome husband all decked out in manager-ware, I can’t wait to shop at my favorite thrift store, I can’t wait to hug all the people who have been so supportive of us, I can’t wait for my mom’s 60th birthday, I can’t wait to eat nachos from Hard Times, and I can’t wait to start planning our next adventure ;)
Please don’t give up on us, we’ve only just begun <3 Thanks so much for your love and support, we are very lucky.