There are days when I am truly thankful that I am alive, healthy, and living on a sailboat crusing the Caribbean with my Sweet Carrie Ann. Today was one of those days. The skies were a blue that defines “blue”, contrasted only by growing, moving clouds of various shades of white and grey boiling up into the upper atmosphere. These clouds may bring some rain and high winds later in their travels, but here and now they just accent both the sky and the seas, making the day seem like something that the word “beautiful” just doesn’t accurately describe.
We are transiting north from Grenada to Carriacou and the seas stretch to the horizon, broken only by the few islands around us here that remind me that the next landmass that peeks above the surface to the east is Africa. I look across the confusion of swells and waves that roll toward us and remind myself that some of these swells are born 1500 miles away, rolling across all those miles to lap against our hull, while others are formed by the latest little wind gust, all of them continuing west to somewhere we haven’t been yet.
Now layer on top of that backdrop our sailboat, not some charter vessel that belongs to someone else who dictates the schedule of where and when we enjoy it, but our Sanctuary. We have just shut off our engine as we pass out of the wind shadow of Grenada into the clear winds passing between the islands from the East. Known as the Trade Winds, they blow constantly along these lattitudes, varying only slightly in direction and speed with all but the most severe of weather systems.
The rumble of our diesel engine is gone, leaving only the silent lapping of water against the hull and whoosh of wind across our sails. The boat heels over and surges forward, powered by the winds that are free for us to use today with no debit to our cruising funds, as long as we can safely harness them to take us where we want to go.
Today we are allotted free transportation towards our destination for only a few hours, about half of our full travel time, but it still feels like a wonderful gift. A gift that only a few know how to use, some more fully than others. But still a free ride in our own boat on a beautiful day towards a familiar place to experience a new event in our travels.
This is why I came. This is what I dreamt about all of those years. This is what Carrie and I planned, sacrificed, and hoped for since the first email we exchanged years ago. There are days that bring hard work and big questions and tough choices that make me wonder why we do this.
Today is not one of those days.