It has been a few months now since the adventure has ended. I have been thinking about how I should wrap up the last year. First, I am very glad that I was even able to go on this adventure. Thanks goes to Dave and Noelle for making that happen, and Lori for enduring my absence, both before and during the trip. I would also like to thank everyone who followed along in one way or another.
When this all started, about a year ago, I had never been on a sailboat before. Over a number of months I spent all my free time trying to learn as much as I could, including lots of boring videos, books, classes, and sailing time. Over hauling the boat turned out to be very helpful, because when something broke we could fix it since we knew the boat, top to bottom. The amount of time that was needed to get ready, as well as the trip itself, did end up being more than we had planned for at the start, but that is true with most anything you do for the first time.
From the start Dave and I knew it would be an adventure. What kind, we did not know, other than there would some great days and a some very hard days, and there were many of both. If we did the trip again there would be things that I would have done differently from the learning that happened on the trip, but as a whole, not too much. Food and gear might change some, and maybe taking more time to enjoy the trip itself.
The cold weather, fog, wind, rain, and storms was the part we could do nothing about, and many of our problems were caused by the rough weather. We also had a number of close calls, which could have ended the entire trip or worse. Sadly, I was shut down physically and mentally on much of the gulf. I weighed 20 pounds less after the trip. Being sick like I was pushed me over the edge. I remember one night in particular: sick,wet, lying face down on the bottom of the boat, and had not eaten in a few days. I remember thinking, WHY. Why am I here, why am I doing this... I still do not have a good answer, but feel that I had to do it.
One of the things we did not get to do was have some great sailing days on the gulf. By the time the weather was good for sailing, the boat had too much damage to sail, and so we had to motor the boat on a few beautiful sailing days on the Caribbean.
One of the memories that stands out to me was running with a dozen dolphins one afternoon for hours, when we were hundreds of miles from land. Another memorable part of our experience was meeting all the fascinating people along the way, from the guy and his dog on the Shantytown Express, to the guy who sailed a day-sailer boat all the way from Germany, to the guys on the Wonderland, along with many others.
Yes I think the past year has changed me. How that plays itself out, only time will tell. One thing I do know is that after everything, I still have the bug to sail again. Hopefully that will hapen on my own boat someday soon.
Would I do it a again knowing what I do after the trip? Yes. Would I do the trip a 2nd time? Maybe