We’ve arrived at our slip at Shenny and with that, our full-time cruising adventures have come to an end.
Wait – what? Yep. We’ve been doing this for a touch under three years – 33 months to be exact. During that time we’ve been away from the boat for under six weeks. Cruising is great. It’s also not-so-great at times. We’ve learned a ton and seen some amazing places. But we‘ve always said that we’ll keep cruising as long as it’s fun. While it’s not un-fun (yes, I just made up that word), it’s time for a break.
What are we planning to do instead? We are going to spend this summer doing shorter trips, including a trip with Shenny friends to Martha’s Vineyard which will be a first for all of us. We’re really looking forward to it.
What about this winter? Several months ago we decided that instead of pointing Pegu Club’s bow south this winter, we’d put her on the hard at Shenny and be snowbirds on land instead of the water. We didn’t want to spend the winter in Florida, or really anywhere on the East Coast, and this California girl has been feeling the pull to spend more time there for quite awhile. So we’ve booked AirBnB’s in Palm Springs from November to mid-April.
We’ve bought a used car and we’re going to road trip across the USA (something I’ve done 3 times, but not since 1990), camping in National Parks along the way. Neither one of us has seen the Grand Canyon, and I’ve wanted to return to Bryce Canyon in Utah ever since I first saw it in 1990. Jeff will have his lifetime National Parks pass by the time we leave, and we are going to take full advantage of it. We’re very much looking forward to spending six months going on day hikes, eating Mexican food, visiting family and friends, and living on land in a few places vs. moving every week or two.
How about the Bahamas after spending a winter on land? That’s still to be determined. Maybe we’ll land travel out west again, or fly somewhere international. While I won’t say that we definitely won’t go to the Bahamas, it will likely be a few winters before we consider that option.
Is this just a prelude to selling the boat? Definitely not. We still really enjoy boating and we don’t want to stop. Wherever we spend our winters, we intend to move back onto Pegu Club in early May and spend the spring/summer/early fall living on her and sailing. We still want to explore Maine and Nova Scotia, and we’ve never been farther north on the boat than Rhode Island so there is still a lifetime’s worth of places left for us to discover.
If we only had a few years left on this planet, would we want to spend them cruising south every winter? Frankly, no. There are still far too many places where we want to spend months at a time – and not by traveling there on a boat. Traveling to the Bahamas on Pegu Club has been the adventure of a lifetime. Jeff and I will be sitting in rocking chairs one day playing “Remember when?” and boring people with tales about cruising full-time on a 30 foot sailboat for three years.
But cruising full-time is also undoubtedly difficult – more psychologically than physically. We both want to open the door and go for a walk without climbing into a dinghy first. Jeff wants to accumulate a few things and have somewhere to put them – even if it’s just in the trunk of our car. I want to run into people that I know when I’m out and about. We both want to look at the weather forecast solely to check if we need a jacket or an umbrella – not whether there is an upcoming system requiring us to raise the anchor and move somewhere else.
We want to keep sailing in New England, but living on the boat here during the winter is a non-starter, not to mention that I’m never again living year-round in a place with winter. Twenty-nine years was more than enough for me. So six months on Pegu Club (based in Shennecossett) and six months on land somewhere warmer than Connecticut sounds like the perfect balance right now.
Isn’t this summer still considered full-time cruising? Not in our book. If there is one thing that we didn’t understand until we started cruising, it’s that there’s a big difference between boating and cruising. People who haven’t cruised will swear up and down that it’s the same, but it simply isn’t. As long as we have a designated slip or a mooring that we repeatedly return to throughout the summer, we don’t consider ourselves to be cruising – we’re boating. And that’s fine with us. If we decide to head south again some autumn in the future, then we’ll be cruising again – not boating.
And the blog? I started this blog as a diary/scrapbook of sorts for Jeff and me to look at and reminisce on our adventures, and we both enjoy looking at old posts to see how far we’ve come. So I’m going to keep posting, but only when there is something that – to me – is worth putting pen to paper, so to speak. I imagine posts will be in spurts depending on whether we are out adventuring or just being couch potatoes.
So if you’re here for the sailing stories, check back periodically over the summer. Once the cool wind starts to blow, we’ll be going west for awhile, and the land stories will begin.