It has been 1 year ago today that we left Kemah, Tx via Galveston Bay and began this new journey to see part of the world from our sailboat! Over the past week we celebrated a few anniversaries: donating or selling the remainder of our possessions (that wouldn’t fit on the boat), quitting our jobs, hugging and saying goodbye to very dear friends and our beautiful family with no immediate plans to return and visit. In this past year we have learned so much, from reading the weather and water to learning how to fix or replace parts on the boat, to catching and cleaning fish and lobster to riding out some horrendous storms and throughout all of that meeting some incredible new friends and learning so much about the beautiful Bahamas, the people and their amazing culture!
It’s surreal to think about the leap we took, the decision to stray completely from the “norm” or expected. We feel honored and completely blessed to find ourselves in a very small minority of those who have also made this choice for their lives as well. On a rare occasion we think about what our lives would be like had we continued working and living in Wylie, Tx and there is zero regret on both our sides to have made this choice. We have met so many people who have chosen a part time version of this life where they work for half the year or for a few months and then cruise for a few months, many who will cruise outside of hurricane season and then go back home during hurricane season and those who work while they cruise. There really is a huge mix of cruisers but each have this freedom and peace to them that they so willingly share with everyone they meet!
We have met so many people from different countries which has been so much fun learning from their travels as well about their culture. We’ve been shocked by how many people are from Texas too! Obviously we meet many Floridians and from states along the east coast but the majority seem to be Canadians, South Africans and Europeans. We even have met new friends from Alaska Hungary, Switzerland & France. I’m sure I’m forgetting some but hope you get an idea 😊 It does seem they figured this freedom thing out a very long time ago. Americans seems to have such different priorities.
We are still having the time of our lives! I mean you can never walk or see too many beaches. It’s been an education in itself visiting some of the most beautiful beaches, learning about the history and development. Beach combing and seeing what washes up on a beach is both exciting and heartbreaking at times but it also seems cruisers along with the people that live on some of those islands are doing what they can to clean up some of the mess we humans continue to make. We know it will be a never ending project but we like to believe every little bit helps. The changing colors of the water is also a favorite, we go from many shades of turquoise to deep sapphires in a matter of minutes, the water color is a tale tale sign of water depth and bottom type to communicate the sand, grass, rock or coral so it’s not only lovely to look at it’s also a well known gift to keep us safe.
The sunrises and sunsets will never grow old, they truly are like snowflakes, there is no one alike! The beauty of colors and vastness of each is absolutely gorgeous. Knowing that there is a new one every morning and every evening is incredible in itself. The off chance the weather keeps us from seeing every single one is a gentle reminder of the power of Mother Nature. God has a way of keeping us grounded and reminds us who is ultimately in control.
There have definitely been times where we get on each other’s nerves and we don’t agree on direction or decisions but that’s no different than being on land right. The biggest difference is you just can’t get in the car and go for a drive, you find a place on the boat and let the issue roll overboard with the waves. Living on a 35 ft sailboat offers approximately 200 – 300 square feet of living space and we find it to be perfect for us and the dogs. We spend most of our time in the cockpit enjoying the scenery unless it’s raining hard. Our days begin with coffee and tea along with reviewing the weather and discussion about our next hop, taking the dogs ashore if weather permits, a fairly light breakfast, working on boat projects, which sometimes are few and other times are too many to complete in a day. We may have a snack or a full lunch and then go ashore to walk around or grocery shop if needed, this is how we usually meet new people, we may take the dogs out a second time if it’s not too late and then come back and start planning dinner. More weather and travel discussions, dinner and then sun downers before bed. It’s a fairly simple life with the occasional storm that keeps us up all night on anchor watch. Those nights are not fun, you couldn’t sleep if your life depended on it with all the boat jerking and rocking, cracking and creaking going on. Thank goodness those nights are few and far between.
This past year has been an experience to say the least, we initially intended to hightail it to Grenada before hurricane season last year when we left, however God had other plans and we couldn’t be happier that we’ve slowed down and just took the scenic route through the Bahamas. We sat through our first hurricane “Matthew” with several others and established some amazing relationships with both boaters (Bob & Rhonda; John, Kristi & Chelsea 🐶, Ed, as well as Mimi & Mandy 🐶) and so many locals (all of Treasure Cay Community Church, too many to name and all of the locals around the marina) We visited so many of the islands in the Abacos and will always have a special place in our hearts for that time in our life. We were fortunate to have met so many boaters when we crossed from Abacos to Eleuthera and then crossed with many of the same over to the Exumas. It’s been more of an ongoing party getting to know these friends and spending time on each other’s boats and we pray we will run into many of them in the future. If by chance we don’t we know we will all share these memories forever and have the pictures to carry us back whenever we need those fun memories.
We left Georgetown early March and we’ve visited Conception Island, Rum Cay, Long Island and now we sit on anchor on Crooked Island waiting for yet another weather window. The winds have been in the mid 20s with gusts in the low 30s (we nearly lost our dingy yesterday 😖, washed right off the beach). Another wonderful cruiser (Seabird) came to the rescue and towed it back to us, talk about a close call, the wind swept it out to far and even though Jeff tried to swim after it it was moving way to fast. Yet another important lesson learned, always always always tie down the dinghy!
Our intention is when we leave Crooked we will head over to Atwood Harbor on Acklins Island about 30 miles away. All this to say we are still island hopping and seeing as much as possible before leaving the last island of the Bahamas, Mayaguana and making our way to Turks and Caicos. We’re not sure how long we’ll be in Turks but ultimately we intend to spend hurricane season in Dominican Republic. We will eventually get south to Grenada but we are taking our time so that we don’t miss out on anything.
A few details on the financial side of this incredible journey: this past year we have spent $26k to live on the boat and see and do all we have been posting over the past 100+ posts. This includes everything we need to spend out of our savings; from groceries, beer & wine, dining out, marina fees, fuel, boat parts, insurance both boat and life insurance, to Internet access, to the travel to extend our Bahamas immigration. There is nothing that has been excluded. We may have been able to do this on a little less but some of the expenses were unexpected, like loosing our anchor and some marina fees we chose primarily for comfort. But as said earlier, zero regrets! We are truly blessed to be able to live out this dream and do it on such an affordable budget, and yes we live on a budget. We are very conscious of cooking our meals rather than eating out and buying beer and wine rather than buying them at the bars, however we don’t feel we are missing anything. We go out with friends when we choose and we carry our own drinks whenever possible which is mostly everywhere. If your curious about details we have nothing to hide so feel free to ask. Jeff is still a financial wiz and can break it down to every red cent 😊
Thank you to everyone for taking this journey with us, we appreciate those who follow us and keep us covered in prayers, we feel those prayers often and we send our prayers back up for all of you. If your curious about anything please don’t hesitate to ask, we love sharing what we’ve learned and what we hope to learn as we continue moving along in our tiny house on the water.