Sunday, September 14, 2014

Choices, Consequences

One of the very interesting aspects of cruising on a sailboat is the total lack of anyone to blame. You make decisions and you have to live with the consequences. You decide if the weather window is good enough. You decide what equipment and spare parts go on the boat. You decide whether to run the inlet in the dark or wait for first light. You decide to double-check the anchor before you go to bed. You decide the marina has clean enough fuel to add directly to the tank. Many of these decisions directly and immediately affect the safety and well-being of the crew - in our case, the decision makers. There is nobody to blame if it all goes sideways. One of Junie's mantras for life is 'Choices, Consequences.' And, you won't get a lot of sympathy because, after all, you made the call.

The most basic decision you make about cruising - is to go. You get a lot of different reactions to that decision. Some people think you are crazy. For some folks, the fear of the big,
wide ocean is overwhelming. Sometimes, the fact that just the two of us are on this big boat by ourselves is impossible for people to understand (often because they can't imagine spending that much time with their spouse). Occasionally, someone will say, "Oooo, no. I could never leave my family/daughter/son/grandchild(ren) for so long."

OK, this one hurts a little. Once again, nobody is making this decision but us. There is no one to blame this on. What can you say to that? I suppose we could get snarky and say 'Yes, I am sure you love your family more than we do.' Or ' I am sure your family wishes you would go away.' We really aren't like that - well, not out loud. We can't say, "Yes, it is awful but we just have to go. Can't be helped." It is not like we are being shipped out by the military. We aren't leaving on some altruistic mission to help mankind. We are going sailing in the islands.

We are down to the final preparation stages. Our departure for, ultimately, the Virgin Islands is set for early October. We are saying good-byes. It's hard knowing that it may be months before we see family again. A lot can happen in months. Especially for a little girl just about to turn two years old. But, also for boys and girls turning twenties and thirties. We will do our best to stay in touch but, just by the nature of cruising, it can be hard. Communications is not always great or available. We have added satellite messaging this year but hugging a little yellow radio-looking-thing is unrewarding. We know what we will miss and, at the same time, we don't know what we will miss. The leaving will make you cry.

But, it is our decision. No sympathy. No complaining allowed. Of course, we are excited about the upcoming adventure. 'Living the dream'. Another comment we hear often. And, we know that the window of opportunity - for a couple like us to take a sailboat out in the big water - will expire. Age, health, desire and ability may take us out of the game unexpectedly or eventually. Another of Junie's favorite expressions - 'The opportunity of a lifetime is limited by the lifetime of the opportunity.'

So, we go. We trust that the choice is good.