Every person has his dream and mine is to sail the
Caribbean. From the first time I set sail as a boy growing up
on Cape Cod in Massachusetts I have thought about cruising those
warm, tropical waters, swimming in the jade hued bays among the
coral reefs, and visiting the peoples of those islands who's lives
I so envy.
Each summer we would sail my friends 18 foot Cape Cod Knockabout
around the local bays and venture out into the open ocean whenever
the weather was favorable. Sometimes the weather would turn
without warning and we would sail this tiny wooden vessel as
if she were a 60 foot yacht capable of circumnavigating the
globe. Water would come over the small deck and breach the coaming
and we would bail her as if we were clearing her bilges after
a rain. And each time we were out I would think about the islands
that lay so far to the south.
Over the years I've read about those magical islands that
dot the charts like stepping stones from Florida to Venezuela.
I've read the accounts of others that have gone before me and
have written about their adventures. Driven by the trade winds,
they have navigated over shoals, past coral heads and ventured
into places where most never travel. They have drifted on windless
days and been driven hard before howling winds. They have endured
boredom and terror at the whims of nature. They have lived life
as it should be lived, taking responsibility and blaming none.
As I grew older I managed to crew on larger boats ranging
in size from 30 feet to 60 feet, the latter being the "Nina"
which sailed out of New Bedford harbor. During the summer we
would take lucky passengers for a weekend cruise to Edgartown
on the island of Martha's Vineyard. While they lay back enjoying
the leisurely passage through Buzzard's Bay and Wood's Hole,
I would scurry about the deck trimming sails and securing lines.
While I performed the duties at hand, my mind would travel
back in time to the days when the great whaling fleet would
pass through those very waters. My soul would soar and mingle
with those hearty sailors from so long ago. Their spirit lives
in the wind and the waves and you can hear them speak as the
bow cuts through the water. Each time we sailed I became closer
to those who have left their homes behind to sail, to explore,
to become one with their world.
Time has passed so quickly and at some point, of which I can't
quite pinpoint the exact time and place, my dreams were transformed
into reality. No longer am I reading about the adventures of
others to feed my imagination. Now I read to prepare myself
for my own cruise. I comb through the logs of other travelers
and glean out every bit of useful information, anything that
will help me with my own venture. I chat with travelers and
plan my transformation from the modern day rat race to the world
I have planned to set sail from Marina del Rey, California,
where I keep "Knight Hawk" docked and venture
down the coast to the Panama Canal, then to the Caribbean and
up to Florida. Because I want to experience all of the wondrous
places in between, stopping at each little island and fishing
village, I have given myself two to three years to complete
this journey once started.
Of course I needed to set a time to depart on this adventure
and after stalling for some time I have decided on fall of 2011.
This should allow me enough time to make the modifications to
the boat that are needed and also build up the sailing kitty
for the cruise. It's amazing to me just how quickly time is
passing and how much closer I am to that goal.
And so there you have it. The plan to cruise Central America
and the Caribbean, the time frame that it should take place
and the people that are involved in the process. For details
of the preparations, modifications, repairs, test runs, etc.,
you can check the Captains Log, Other Stuff or The Boat.