Jan 9, 2020
Hello and Happy New Year. I’m back with a recap of our three-year journey. I must apologize for being so late with this, but life has a way of messing up even the best laid plans.
lounging on Shroud Cay Exumas
It’s January now and Adamant 1 is covered over and sitting out the winter on the hard. I’m sure she is longing to be in the warmer water of the Bahamas as much as we are. She’s a great boat, comfortable, easy to sail, a strong and tough gal. She held out longer than the crew did on a couple of occasions. She broke down twice in the 3 years: once in the river when the transmission self-destructed and again on the Bahama banks when the water pump gave up and salt water fried the starter, giving us a 37-hour return trip to the US under sail alone with little wind. But in reality, they were just hiccups in an otherwise amazing trip. We logged 8200 nm, spent 3 winters in the Bahamas, and visited about 23 states, including the states of panic and confusion!
Sunset at sea
The trip was an amazing adventure. Every day held something new for us. We explored new places, places we could never get to unless we were on the boat. We dropped the anchor in spots we would never dream of anchoring in here at home. We spent some nights literally up a creek. We anchored alongside the river and kept our running lights, lanterns and AIS on all night so the tows could see us. We anchored out on the Bahama banks where the only thing visible was the horizon. There were ports and cities along the rivers and ICW that we bypassed knowing we could save those for a road trip somewhere in the future. St. Louis, Norfolk and New York City immediately come to mind. Even our beautiful Trent Severn Waterway has many places we can visit by car and experience the flavour of the small towns along the way. Did we meet new people? Boating is all about meeting people and we met many, all of whom had an impact on our trip, from fellow boaters, marina operators, merchants and Bahamians trying to make a living by helping the cruisers. Everyone has a story and advice to share. And everyone wants to hear your story.
We spent months with people who have become very dear to us and will be friends for life. Did we spend too much money? Probably but we don’t regret a single penny that was spent. Some things like groceries and fuel were expensive when you factor in the exchange rate but the experience was priceless. Have we made lots of memories? I have over 17,000 pictures so we will not forget! Do we regret giving up our jobs, renting out our house, leaving the familiar and known for the unfamiliar and unknown? No regrets.
Sailing on the Bahamian banks
A lot of people thought we were escaping from the real world. Not even close. Setting out on an extended voyage in a boat we had built ourselves was as real as it could get. We needed to rely on our own skills, knowledge and resources for the success or failure of the trip. We had to trust our judgement and each other and go it alone. We made the decisions and right or wrong we had to live with the consequences. We experienced nature, wildlife, weather and awesome sunsets in every sort of location. Minimizing garbage, conserving water and battery power became second nature. Making do when the local grocery store ran out of milk and produce became a culinary challenge. We saw amazing architecture that Mother Nature had created and dropped anchor 30’ from alligators sunning on the beach beside us. Do not fall in…we are no longer top of the food chain! We had dolphins perform for us, keep us company when we were becalmed and help guide us into port. Learning how amazing creatures other than ourselves could be was a humbling experience.
Adamant 1 at anchor
I have two mantras that I live by: “and this too shall pass” and “just do it”. Both sayings have special meanings. For “and this too shall pass” it was for big seas, bad weather, mechanical breakdowns, health concerns.
The other mantra….”just do it” is for everyone. There will never be a time when the boat is ready. There will never be enough money. There will never be the perfect time to leave and start your adventure. Go while you are young enough to do it and healthy enough to enjoy it. Cast off the dock lines, stow the fenders and point the bow out to sea. Go….just do it!
Until next time………..
– Longtime CY staffer Lynn Lortie and her husband Pat left Midland the summer of 2016 to make their way into the Great Loop and head out on a three year sailing odyssey. Follow their progress right here in CYOB.
Atlantic Ocean to the left, Sea of Abaco on the right