“Why are we still here?” We asked ourselves. “It’s in the sixties today in the Bahamas. Should we have kept going after Thanksgiving?”
Our ducks are not all in a row, it seems. The house sits empty, repairs underway but no sign in the yard. On the boat, several major projects are in progress. The propane stove/oven is on order, and the batteries have to be replaced. The water-maker is being repaired and Jay is, at this very moment, in the bowels of the ship cleaning out bilges and fuel tanks.
But the cold weather that came—and stayed—made us long for points further south. Part of the reason we live in Florida is because we hate cold weather. We have no longing for the high latitudes, and will feel perfectly satisfied sticking to the tropics. The arctic blast that hit us caught us off-guard. I rushed out to buy more down blankets. Nights that dipped below freezing and left frost on the dock and ice on our transoms made sleeping difficult, even with the space heater running and hats on. That was January, and February hasn’t been much better.
We stayed on the boat during the cold snap because it was the right thing to do. Our house has almost nothing left in it, kids’ beds among the things given away. Packing up and moving out of our home, unless there is a hurricane coming and we can’t get out of its way, isn’t really an option. We camped out upstairs for several days because it was just too chilly to go down into the hulls, where it hovered around water temperature, 50˚. It was fun in its own way, though I have a new appreciation for the term “cabin fever.” We are able to wait things out because we know it’s temporary. If we can’t hack a week of cold, how will we survive a storm at sea? Or a week of rain?
Cruisers talk of waiting for a weather window—a time when conditions are favorable for leaving an anchorage to make a passage. We are waiting for a window of sorts, a time when we can leave the house in the good hands of a realtor and have the boat ready to leave the dock. After moving aboard, that is the next logical step. It is just wrong to keep this boat tied up all the time. We are doing this so that we can be out there, not stuck at the dock. It is easy to say “Find a stopping point, set a date and go!” But it is harder to discern readiness and act accordingly. The boat must be safe and main systems operable. The people may never be really ready to go on an adventure, but they should also have done their homework. We want to be safe and have a smooth transition to cruising full-time, which is why people wait for a window in the first place. At the same time, a quest for safety and comfort works against efforts to leave!
The bottom line: we will wait for the right time, and we will know when that time comes. We always do. It’s a little like falling in love. How will you know when you’ve met the person you will spend your life with? You just know. It may take work and patience to persevere after the fact, but you’ll recognize the right thing when it comes. We are not in a big rush—that would be foolhardy, but we are not dragging our heels, either. Our family strongly believes in waiting for God’s timing, so that is what we will do. And in the meantime, we will bundle up and be thankful for whatever weather we’re having, because it could always be worse!