I am sure most of you who have followed my adventures for the last two years are wondering "why are you quitting the cruising life so precipitously?"
After my brother Jim left La Paz in late April and I then spent the next six weeks cruising around by myself I slowly began to admit that I was tired of single handing and tired of spending so much time alone. I spent several nights alone in beautiful anchorages with perfect weather. But, I was lonesome and really tired of taking care of every aspect of life on the boat by myself.
During the two week trip from La Paz to San Diego aboard MV Well Deserved I had a lot of time to assess my feelings about my current and future situation. It became clear to me that I was not looking forward to another summer of solitary cruising. Nor was I looking forward to a 1000 mile single handed trip next fall and winter south to Zihuatenejo.
My wife is still not comfortable leaving the financial security of her job. She has worked there for 23 years, has lots of friends, excellent benefits, and earns a significant income. She is only 48 and feels no urgency to retire and see the rest of the world. I, on the other hand, could never work again. I am now a confirmed, shiftless boat bum.
I have tried single-handing for almost two years. I love the sailing and enjoy the company of all the cruisers Iíve met. But, I miss my wifeís company, and more importantly, it is hard work for one person to keep a 40í sailboat going while living aboard in the harsh saltwater/desert climate of Western Mexico.
Living aboard in a third world country has lost most of its charm for me. The beautiful beaches, great diving, and good sailing are not enough to offset the problems with bureaucracy, finding food, dealing with insurance companies, eight hour bus rides to the airport, convoluted acquisition of parts, etc.
For example, Mexico has now closed all the islands of the Sea of Cortez for exploring. We are not allowed to go inland past the high tide mark. Another example; My insurance company, USF, just informed me that they will not insure boats in the Sea of Cortez that are afloat and unattended for 20 days or more. Then my insurance broker sent me an e-mail notifying me that USF insurance would no longer provide coverage for recreational boats. The broker also informed me that insurance premiums with a new carrier would increase from $1,800 to $3,100 on November 1.
Iíve also lost interest in trans-oceanic passages. I greatly enjoyed the nine-day trip we did, Annapolis to Virgin Gorda in 2000. The problem here on the west coast is that any ocean crossing is down wind so the only way to come back to the states is to continue on around the world or pound upwind for weeks. Iím afraid Iíve gotten too lazy for either of those options.
Iíve talked with lots of friends whoíve gone SE from Mexico to Central America, the Panama Canal, and N to the Caribbean or Florida. I donít think I want to deal with the lightning, humidity, canal authorities, and NE trades from the Canal north. None of the six boats that I know fairly well that left Mexico for the Caribbean felt that the Caribbean was ďbetterĒ or a significant improvement over western Mexico.
I miss, much more than I had expected, many things I am used to in Puget Sound:
- cool cloudy days
- green trees and white mountains
- running in Pt Defiance park
- driving to the grocery store
I have been sailing for over 30 years now. After almost three years of cruising outside the US I think Iíve discovered what I like about boating - other than the act of sailing itself.
- the sense of expectation and anticipation as you pull into port or an anchorage. Who is there? what is going on in town? Are there any good bars? What does the local newspaper have to say?
- the pleasure of working on the boat where I can find parts and tools
- the joy of taking friends out for the day or the weekend
- the beauty of wild and remote anchorages
I can experience all of the things I want out of boating while staying in the waters from Olympia, Washington to Juneau, Alaska. I know Iíve seen very little of the real cruising world, but at this point, I think I want to go back and experience more of the cruising in my home waters.
It is time that I accept the fact that Arlene wants to work for a few more years. I need to find a way to include her work in our boating life. We are exploring alternatives to full time live aboard cruising outside the US.
We will put truck Mirador on a truck July 26 in San Carlos, Mexico and she should be back to Puget Sound by August 5. I have reserved a slip for her in the same marina we left from on August 22, 2000. We will then decide about selling her. She is way too much boat for the NW. We donít need a blue water live aboard cruiser for month long trips in sheltered water. But, weíll be very comfortable cruising the NW in Mirador if we donít sell her.
We may keep Mirador for another year or so and then again look at the trawler/sailboat issue. We are under no financial pressure to sell Mirador so we wonít rush the decision. If the right buyer comes along weíll sell her, otherwise we will continue to sail Mirador and enjoy life on the water in the Pacific Northwest.
I will post a few more WEB pages about our trip across the Sea of Cortez to San Carlos and the trucking project back to Puget Sound.