I’m not an extremely nostalgic person but since it’s the beginning of a new year and all, I thought I would take some time and reflect on our last year. We’ve done so much and packed so many things into it. At times it seems like the year just flew by and at other times it seems like we’ve been out here for five years already.
This past year we visited 8 countries, 9 islands and 9 atolls. We tried to at least learn to say Hello in Spanish, French, Tahitian, Samoan, Kirabati and Marshallese. We managed to eek out a few extra sentences in Spanish and French. We became intimate with black tip sharks, lemon sharks, giant mantas and tiny clown fish. We only caught about 6 fish, but we let at least 10 get away – and we even gave some of them our rigs, being the generous people we are.
Lack of great record keeping and my laziness forces me to estimate our milage to date. A conservative guess is that we’ve sailed/motored about 7000 miles since we left Mexico. Our longest passage was obviously from Mexico to the Marquesas, taking 21 ½ days. Our best passage was from the Marquesas to the Tuamotos where we caught a nice big Tuna and had a great, fast downwind run (or was it to Tuvalu where we had wonderful spinnaker weather?). Our worst passage is a toss up between Suwarrow/American Samoa and Majuro/Kwajalein, but I’m going to hand it to the latter with 12 foot seas, 40 knot gusts and a bad stomach bug.
Our illnesses have been minimal, but the two that stick in my mind for me is the stomach flu in Mexico, moving our departure date for the puddle jump and the dengue in Majuro – not because it was so bad but because it was strange and something I would never get at home. Andy and Jake have come out fairly well in as much as they got milder cases of things and/or stayed pretty healthy the whole time. Not sure what that says about me…
We’ve met too many people to count and said goodbye to just about all of them as well. We’re keeping in touch with many and hope to meet back up one day. We only made one visit home before we left and I managed to sneak out on a solo visit from American Samoa. We had two guests before we left Mexico, but none to date out here, a world away (or two days, depending on how dramatic you want to be).
We’ve made significant contributions to Coca-Cola, Heiniken, Corona, Mount Gay, Jiffy (peanut butter), Anchor (canned butter), and Hunts, Aunt Jemima and too many others to count. When we go home, I can only imagine what kind of horders we’re going to be. In the absence of fresh veggies and meat, our hording enabled me to make some very creative, yet tasty meals – a necessity to keep crew morale up on those long stretches without stores.
In the past year, Jake has learned to read, write, add and subtract and can tell time if you give him a half hour to figure it out. He knows more about sharks and underwater creatures than the average adult at home. His favorite subject is History where he’s learned about early civilization, Egyptians and the Ancient Greeks and Romans. He, too, learned how to say hello in all of those languages and got to practice as he made new friends in each port. He’s no genius, but I would say the home schooling thing is working out just fine, both academically and socially. He’s learned how to ride a bike, paddle a surf board, play kickball (sort of…the last time he played he ran straight from third place to the dugout), hit a baseball (never mind it gave him a black eye. He made contact, right?) and kick a soccer ball. He may get his terminology mixed up a bit (“Mommy, can we go kick my basketball?”), but he’s had proper introduction to several sports considering we live on a boat in the middle of the pacific ocean (my brother and father are taking their antacids right now, but I promise, it will be ok – if it’s any consolation, he loves watching football on TV).
Now we sit here contemplating our next move and what 2012 holds for us… to quote a song I can’t think of the artist for…”Do [we] stay or do [we] go now?”