Ok, we know about the “Christmas winds”, which usually pick up in December and taper by the end of January. And yes, we know that we’re down in the Leewards where the trade winds always blow. And truly, they mean: Always. Blow. What we didn’t expect was that the winds wouldn’t taper this year due to the “La Nina” climate we are experiencing this year. (Great.) Apparently this only occurs every few years or so, so is a bit of an anomaly, and even the locals are grumbling about the rain and winds. Yes...we’re here, and it’s now: reality!
The unseasonably windy weather and rough seas are a prime example of what real-life cruising can be like: it isn’t always another day in paradise! Ron likes to be out doing things, so when the seas and the weather don’t cooperate to allow us to get out to dive or swim, the enforced inactivity drives him bonkers. He is ready to chew his arm off in impatience, with the sheer wanting to just do something! As for me, can I point out that the constant rumbling of the gale force winds and the grinding of the anchor chain against the snubber line shackle are not conducive sounds to a good night’s sleep?
Even so, most folks can’t believe we have the audacity to complain. (The typical response: “But you’re in the islands, for Pete’s sake!!”) So again, I must stress it isn’t always warm temps, blue skies and easy seas, lounging on the beach near the poshest oceanside resort (which is what everyone envisions, I suspect). While that romantic ideal of carefree cruising and easy living is very pervasive, the reality is that spending months aboard is a simply another way of life, not a permanent vacation.
Which is…simply life, isn’t it? No matter where one is, there are things that drive us crazy, there are things we that bring us joy. Life on a daily basis! You have to mow the yard and repair the car, we have to wash the salt off the boat and maintain the generators. You have to shovel snow, we have to clean the hull. You think your commute is bad? Try dashing through a sudden downpour in an open dinghy in a rough harbor, hoping the eggs you just walked a mile (or more) to purchase survive the bouncing ride! You get the idea!! Although, it helps to realize it's all about perspective. Scrambled eggs or not, in any tough situation, it helps to laugh, go with the flow, and, well, look on the bright side!
So we know we are pretty darn blessed to be out here. We're lucky to be experiencing incredible moments of quiet joy and solitude, enjoying challenges and amazing adventures, meeting unique characters who turn into good friends, and sharing laugh-out-loud fun (all of which I wouldn’t trade for the world). Yet, the truth is more complex. Our decision to be aboard a boat in the Caribbean takes hard work, persistence, dedication, a large dose of good humor, the ability to be optimistic, and more than a modicum of patience. (Being mechanically inclined is a big plus, too.) Because things break, and parts may be hard to find. Because seas are rough, and the anchorage may be less than optimal. And while sometimes life is a beach, when we are blessed with sunshine and calm seas…there are days when we are blessed with windy weather, days where we are cooped up on the boat, days of being pinned down in an anchorage. Once we get over the boredom, the whininess and that pesky urge to chew our arms off, we chill out, relax and let time pass. Which ... gives us time enough to count our blessings, too!