It’s been quite remarkable how much our lives have changed for the better in the last few weeks. If someone would have told me that we’d move from an RV to the Navy Lodge to a 42 ft. sailboat so quickly and seamlessly I would not have believed it. But here we are, getting the boat ready to head down the Florida coast and cross to the Bahamas. We’ve quickly morphed back in to the Cruising Life, almost like we never left; like an old comfortable pair of shoes that you’d put away for a while, and when you dug them out of the closet they felt wonderful to put on again.
When we returned from the San Blas islands in February we embarked on quite a different path, purchasing and outfitting an RV, then driving off to explore the countryside and visit family. I don’t believe that we planned it as a way to help us recover from our accident, but visiting with our families and enjoying the sights along the way was very enjoyable for both of us, and turned out to be highly therapeutic as well.
Carrie was clearly the first to realize how much she missed Cruising. She said that on the boat she felt like someone unique, having set herself apart from the crowd, accomplishing things outside of the norm and feeling good about it. I took al little longer to realize what it was we had, thinking that we could just move on to another adventure on a “land yacht” and travel the roads around the US. A little time away from it made me realize that what we do is different, not something everyone can or even wants to do, and it’s something we share with people we like to be around. My Captain’s License, while not required to be a cruiser, reminds me just the same that I have enjoyed boating and being on the water for most of my life.
Little did either of us realize that when we set up a doctor’s appointment on the Navy Base in Jacksonville that we would also find that several boats we had an interest in were right in the vicinity, and that when we literally threw a description of our RV out to our Facebook network we would find someone living close by who would eventually purchase it. For a few days it seemed like things were happening way too fast and we had to help each other stay cautious to ensure we didn’t make any reckless decisions.
Our search for another cruise-ready sailboat did not start out well. The boats we were seeing had been laid up for long periods and the elements were taking their toll. But as I was working up a list of repairs, some major, on a boat that we were begrudgingly making an offer on, Carrie suddenly came across another boat that had just about everything on our cruising wish list, at a price in our range, right here in Jacksonville! We drove out to see the boat and within hours had an offer accepted. For a while it just seemed crazy.
But here we are, at the dock, moved aboard and anxious to get moving again, watching videos online of the islands and wishing we were there already. Most notably, we are visibly happier on a daily basis. We are living on the water again and thoroughly enjoying our community. There are many at this marina who live onboard solely as a cheaper way to live, but there are also those here who share the same dreams that we do. Like us, they have been out there and done these things that many only hear about.
Even Spike seems to like being back aboard a boat better than the RV. He massages his back on the non-skid and sniffs at the air like he’s trying to drink in all the old familiar smells he’s missed.
Anyone who knows me understands that I have difficulty with beliefs and decisions based solely on faith, or with the notion that I am not in control of my own life. I do understand that if we were still living on the RV trying to sell it and looking for a boat right now I’d be questioning the soundness of our game plan. The support from our friends and family members has been a real comfort through all of this, without it one wonders if we would have had the courage to make the leap to get back to where we belong.
My older brother and his wife, both of whom I admire very much, know us well and have celebrated our life by visiting us numerous times in the islands. They have never judged us through this whole process, but both just smiled happily when we saw them last as if to say, “What took you so long?”