Random photos taken over the last several months are interspersed within this post.
One year ago this past week, on August 11, 2014, we started our cruising adventures. Two years prior, in August, 2012, we purchased Beatitude and brought her from Ft. Lauderdale to Bradenton the next month, where we lived aboard for almost two years. During that stretch, I worked full-time in Lakeland, paying off our remaining debt and paying for our youngest daughter’s college expenses. We sold our home in 2012 and sold our automobiles in 2014. It was with great excitement and not a little trepidation that we pulled out of our slip at Regatta Pointe Marina with open-ended plans which we expected would not bring us back that way again. Since August of last year, we’ve had no permanent home. Home has been where our boat is.
I can’t believe that a year has already come and gone. In the year since we started cruising, Beatitude and her crew have covered a total of 2,351 nautical miles. Including the 1,558 nautical miles we ticked off over the two years of pre-cruising, we now have almost 4,000 nautical miles (3909 to be exact) of cruising/sailing under our belt. I’m quite pleased to be able to make that statement. For newbies, who had zero boating experience and only took a few sailing lessons prior to buying our boat, we are filled with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment at what we’ve been able to do over the last three years.
Over the last twelve months, we have visited six states from Florida to Maryland and spent the winter in the Bahamas, visiting three island groups in that country: The Abacos, Eleuthera, and the Exumas. We’ve enjoyed the exhilaration and tranquility that comes with the lifestyle, and we’ve also endured the tribulations and anxiety that accompany it. We’ve swam, snorkeled and dived in the gin-clear waters of the Bahamas and cut a wake through the tannin-colored waters of the Atlantic ICW. We’ve dealt with break-downs and breakages while underway and fretted over wind and weather while making decisions as to where and when we go next. Thankfully, we’ve never felt in real danger for our lives or our vessel. This is in part due to our vigilance (or wimpiness) in being conservative and avoiding bad weather. But, even more so, we acknowledge the grace and providence of our Creator and his watchfulness over us.
Our general plans we hope to fulfill by this time next year on our two-year anniversary of cruising are as follows: A six-week jump further north from Annapolis and back by the end of September. An October departure from Annapolis for warmer climates. A November exit from South Florida to the Bahamas, this time by-passing the Abacos. A journey down the “thorny-path” to the Virgin Islands. A winter/spring-time jaunt down the arc of the eastern Caribbean Islands (“The Lesser Antilles”). Spending the summer months (a.k.a., hurricane season) south of the hurricane belt in Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, and Columbia/Panama (although we may not make it to Columbia/Panama before the fall). Those plans are always subject to change, however, depending on our vessel, the weather, and our whims and desires.
To those who have followed us along for the first year of cruising (and/or three years of living aboard), I hope you find pleasure in our adventures over the next twelve months.