One should definitely be willing to jump in with both feet and it sure helps if you are prepared to relinquish being in control all the time. After that, it's all about having the right attitude: fully committed, unconditional optimism and a resolve to dust yourself off and try again, if things go awry -- practical states of mind, that pretty much assure at least modest success in either Love or Adventure (or both, if you're lucky).
For a long time now, we've been saying;
"we'll figure that out when we get there"...
with regards to where we would go and what we would do, once we reached the South Pacific.
Well...here we are.
And the burning question is definitely on the table;
It seems, this is one of those places, where Love and Adventure intersect.
Every choice we make (assuming we are brave and daring and jump headlong into total uncertainty)
brings us even deeper...
The Marquesas is a rather long way from anywhere and getting home from here -will require some solid brass cojones.
Forever, sailors traveling from East to West follow particular routes convenient to trade winds and currents. There are a plethora of cruising guides, downloadable charts,blogs, websites, books and CD-Roms, all devoted to explaining the easiest routes and most convenient anchorages along the way....
but the question of HOW to get BACK-is trickier.
These days, the circumnavigation plan via the Suez canal is kind of out of the question; what with Piracy being fairly rampant in the Red Sea area. Personally, we don't have the financial means to spend years and years cruising and make it all the way around the Cape of Good Hope and back again, so ...
What to do?
Many of the US and Canadian boats (in this year's fleet, anyway) will sail either for New Zealand or Australia and wait out the cyclone season. Lots of them plan on selling their boats there and then returning home to school and jobs. Others, will work on their boats for awhile, explore New Zealand and then continue to explore the South Pacific the following season...
A few will return to the US or Canada via the line islands and Hawaii.
These are the most common plans-ones that are relatively safe and assured (as much as any cruising is, anyway). And all of these are options WE had been considering...
Up until about four days ago.
Like being in Love, we try to approach Adventure by placing the highest value on trust, commitment and striving to get as much fun out of everything possible.
So, naturally, we have started to formulate another kind of idea...
about how one might find their way home to Canada and the US from the South Pacific.
An "OUTSIDE THE BOX" kind of plan...
and like any good love affair and/or adventure,
It's unique and has maybe some grey areas of certainty...
But the potential rewards....
are what makes it exciting.
For these kind of off-the-beaten-path thoughts, one needs experienced sailors to turn to -- salty folks, that have been at the game for awhile and are not at all freaked out by the fact that you don't have a working water maker or 300,000 stashed in the bank back home and could care less is you also happen to be pretty green about this whole blue-water cruising thing.
The only questions this hardcore group of people ask are;
Is your boat seaworthy?
...and Do you approach Love and Adventure with the right attitude?
People, like our friends Ali and Carl, from SV Muktuk-an Austrian couple, cruising with their two adorable children Noah and Jan. We met them in the Sea of Cortes, a few months ago and they were instrumental in inspiring us with the confidence to go ahead and make the crossing. A few days ago we caught up with them again, over on Tehuatu.
Carl and Ali have been at this for a long time, even though they are both still young, now.
They just completed the Northwest Passage, last year...
Greenland to Alaska-then zoomed on down the west coast to Mexico, restocked, then jumped on over here to the South Pacific.
Now they think, maybe they will go from French Polynesia to Chile, Antarctica and back up to Marquesas and then straight on up to Alaska...again.
"You can go anywhere..." says impossibly impish and adorable Ali, with her pixie-cut and her big blue eyes, "It just depends how much sh*&*t you are willing to put up with".
We listen to them talk about Western Alaska.
Kai is obsessed with young Jan's stories of giant Halibut and King crabs.
Jon wants to know about the Aleutians...
There are alternative plans hatching.
Plans that require another leap, another level of honesty and trust.
Love never stops asking you to go deeper...
neither does our adventure, apparently.
I am looking at maps.
I am thinking,
North of the cyclone belt, possible to pick up work for a few months,
epic diving, friendly people, off-the-beaten-path...
We lie awake at night...
Can you sail from the Marshall islands to the Aleutians...
What about the Marshalls, Micronesia, JAPAN, Kamchatka islands, the Aluetians...
Undeniably, difficult passage....
But, we COULD, couldn't we?
And still arrive back home around the time we had planned?
|click the map to enlarge|
We look at each other.
Then, we dingy over to Muktuk
(with some wine and cheese).
We spend the evening talking and laughing and asking a LOT of questions. When the wine runs out we drink Carl and Ali's homemade beer-even though it isn't done yet. Its still so yummy.
Muktuk says this is an excellent plan.
Yes. You can do this...
Off the beaten path, in a good way....
It will be challenging.
They lend experienced eyes to the charts and give us all kids of tips.
They even download all their pilot charts and navigation programs onto our computer.
We are encouraged--boldness creeps into our blood.
We go back to our boat and lie awake some more.
Thankfully, there is much to see and do still before those decisions must be made.
When the wind fills in again, we will make the five day crossing to the Tuamotos and begin a new phase of this French Polynesian adventure.
Hopefully, we will catch back up with Marionette and share some diving adventures together,
and after, we will be off to the Society Islands;
Tahiti, Moorea, Bora bora...
so many wonderful things to see and do.
Thoughts of returning home are always in our heads and our hearts these days. How we will wind our way through thousands of miles of ocean and exotic lands and find our way back to the place and the people we love, is uncertain but will answer itself in time.
Eventually, we will simply point the boat East and off we will go-
with the sun setting behind us, for a change...
and we will head home.
Our experience will be up to the fates and our
ridiculous, faithfully fantastical attitude towards life and love...
but one thing is for sure...
It will certainly be an adventure.