Monday, September 1, 2008

Two Years and More Than 5,000 Miles!

It's been 2 Years!
On September 2, 2006 we left Milwaukee, Wisconsin U.S.A. for the adventure of a lifetime!
We've traveled 5,667 miles (4925 N.M.).
Our mooring on Lake Michigan is 2,646 miles (2,299 N.M.) from here as the crow flies.
We have dropped our anchor off of 60 islands including those in the Great Lakes and Intercoastal Waterway.
We've visited 19 countries.
One conversation that often comes up with cruisers is how can we describe this lifestyle to people who aren't familiar with it? We all say the same thing; Everyone at home thinks we're on vacation. Trust me, this is not a vacation. I don't know what kind of vacations you take but when we went on vacation we stayed at nice resorts with all the ammenities, we used all the hot water we wanted, rented a car to get around in and didn't worry too much about how much money we spent. We were on vacation!
Now we live aboard a small sailboat that has the interior space of a large walk-in closet (not that small but close). We capture rainwater when possible and conserve every drop. We travel by dinghy or by walking, sometimes we ride a bus. We watch our energy use very carefully and charge our batteries by solar energy. When we need fuel, water, groceries, boat equipment, garbage disposal or the laundry done it involves a trip ashore in the dinghy. Just going to the grocery store here in Grenada takes us about 3 hours roundtrip. Lloyd on the catamaran "Puddle Jumper' has a T-shirt that says "I used to do 3 things in a day. Now it takes me 3 days to do 1 thing." That about sums up the pace of things. But then, most of the time we don't mind it. After all, we did choose a method of travel that only takes us places at about 5 m.p.h. so we can't be in too great a hurry!
This lifestyle does afford us the opportunity to see a small part of the world up close. We can spend more time, maybe get to know a few of the people who live there. We can explore in depth. We have time for simple things.
Sailing gives you periods of great exhiliration, sometimes anxiety and yes, even boredom. After 2 years I still don't think I can adequately describe it. Perhaps that's because it's a little different for everyone. All I know for sure is we're not ready to quit. So as we begin year 3, here are a few pictures from the first 2 years.
Sailing in the Bahamas.

Sailing to Vieques, Puerto Rico.
There have been too many beautiful anchorages to show them all to you again. Here are just a few.
An anchorage across the Hudson River looking at the Island of Manhatten.

Isle de Muertes, Puerto Rico.

Mayreau, Grenadines
Allan's Cay, Bahamas.
The Intercoastal Waterway, North Carolina.

Deshaies, Gaudaloupe.

Les Pitons, St. Lucia.

The beaches have been incredible. We never tire of their beauty.
Les Saintes.
Saltwhistle Bay, Mayreau.
Key Biscayne, Florida.

Flamenco Beach, Culebra.

Sun Bay, Vieques.
As you know from following our trip, waiting for good weather is always a priority. Here's a few shots of us dealing with the elements.
Cold and rainy on the Erie Canal.

Squall approaching Allan's Cay in the Bahamas.

Water spout south of Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Waiting for the rain in Saltwhistle Bay, Grenadines.

Hiking has been one of our favorite activities on many of the islands we've visited.
Taino Indian cave in the Dominican Republic.

Warderick Wells, Bahamas.

A dirty hash in Grenada!
The rainforest in Dominica.
The crews of Merengue, Sea Lion and Bellagio in Dominica.

Hiking in the rainforest on Saba.

We've been fortunate to have good friends come to visit along the way. Thank you Muff, Reed, Marcia and Mike. It means alot to us!
Jim, Reed and Muff celebrating Jim's birthday with rum punch in the pool.
Marcia and Wendy.

Jim, Wendy, Mike and Marcia at a beach bar in St. Martin.

Boat Maintenance is never ending! We hauled Merengue out of the water for a week in St. Martin to give her new bottom paint as well as tackle other projects.

Along the way we've had the opportunity to see wildlife up close.

The best part of cruising is the people. We've made many great friends. Sorry we don't have pictures of all of you, but you know who you are!

Jim, Wendy and Renee (Jacumba) in the D.R.

Renee and Wendy on board Jacumba.

Frank (Warm Rain) and Jim in Nassau, Bahamas.

Renee & Michael (Jacumba), Joe & Becky (Half Moon), Kristen & Hans (Whisper) with Jim and Wendy.

Manon & Gervais (Le Bete)

With our buddies Carol & Pat (Songbird)

Derek & Kathy (Idyll Island) help Wendy celebrate her birthday in St. Lucia.
Marie France and Gilles (Phoenix III)

Carmelle (Taima), Kristen (Whisper) and Manon (Le Bete).

Jim and Yvon (Taima)

Celebrating with Hans.
Gilles, Randy, Gervais and Pat.

Lynn, Wendy, Marie France and Manon.

Val & Lloyd (Puddle Jumper)
Randy & Lynn (High States), J&W, Kathy & Kerry (Bellagio)


We've been to Carnivals in Saint Maarten and Grenada. They were both unique, fun and overflowing with beautiful women. You've seen the photos but we couldn't resist showing you a few again. It never gets boring!

We're always asked how Bailey likes living on a boat. For a cat that spent her first 9 years on land she does really well. She doesn't like the sound of the diesel engine but then neither do we!

I ask you, does she look stressed?

Thanks to our family and friends who supported us in our dream even though it meant we wouldn't get to see each other as often as we'd like. Also thanks to the friends we've made along the way who have always been there for us and who have made the journey so memorable.
Lastly, thanks to the readers of this blog, some of whom we haven't met in person but who have introduced themselves through their comments. We love hearing from all of you.