Nothing goes to weather like a 737.

Huaraz It’s Saturday and today we put the finishing touches on getting our (land) home ready for a long winter snooze while we’re south aboard Pandora.  There’s antifreeze in the boiler, I’ll blow out all the domestic water pipes with a compressor, put antifreeze in the toilets and run it through the pumps in the dishwasher and washing machine.  After all of that is done, along with setting more mousetraps, we will jump in the rental car and head to our friend Craig’s home for a visit and a snooze.  Then on to MD on Sunday, Christmas Eve, to see our family for Christmas.

Yes, you go it, we will be driving through NY on Christmas Eve!  Driving through NY on Christmas Eve?  No problem… Brenda would fight her way through the flames of hell to be with our son Rob, his family, our still new granddaughter Tori (still remarkably cute and so smart, BTW) and our son Christopher who is flying in from CA.  It will be a full house and it’s going to be great.

It’s hard to believe that we are about to head south for our 6th winter afloat and second in the eastern Caribbean.  I can hardly believe that I have been retired for six years now.  How’d dat happen?

Perhaps almost as astounding, if a seemingly random addition to this post, is that our monthly healthcare insurance premiums, I am under 65 thank you very much, have gone from $500 to $2,200 a month during that same time frame.  But that’s another story so all I’ll say for now is that the system is clearly broken when any family of two with an income above the $66,000 Obamacare subsidy cutoff, should somehow be able to pay $26,500 a year for healthcare coverage and that’s before they even go to the doctor and begin to work off their $5,000 per person deductible.   So much for the “affordable care act” being affordable.

Anyway, I’ll return to heading south.

Back in the day, when we didn’t sail overnight, we used to say that it took a whole day of motoring/sailing to go the same distance, about 55 miles, that we could cover by car in a single hour.

Fast forward more years than I care to admit, my runs are much longer and involve multiple overnights at sea but the comparison still, sort of, holds.

Let me explain.  This fall it took me a total of nearly 13 days at sea to get to Antigua, including a stop in Hampton VA where I joined the Salty Dawg fleet.  By comparison, a direct flight from Newark NJ to Antigua takes the better part of a day, call it 13 hours if you include the time getting to and from the airport.  So, as a very loose comparison, it takes an hour in a plane, including ground transport, to cover what takes a full 24 hours in a boat.

Ok, perhaps the comparison is a stretch but it seems to me that there is a certain symmetry to the whole thing after all these years.   The point is that many of us, for some reason, still choose to go really, really slowly in a boat in order to spend time on the water.  However, I guess it’s not that odd if you subscribe to the perspective that  “the journey is the destination”.

Of course, there are plenty of times on a long voyage, the journey part, when a loud in-my-head voiced yells, “are we there yet?” or perhaps more to the point, “Bob, will we ever f*&%$#% get there?”

Somehow, after all the days at sea, finally arriving at a spectacular destination, that the “are we there yet” thoughts fade away and are replaced by “wow, this is a beautiful spot” and the “I’ll never do that again” somehow seems worth it.  Inexplicably those annoying days aren’t that bad when the are balanced against the great stories you can tell, again and again.  It seems that the human spirit is really terrific at making lemon-aid out of lemons.

Yes, sometimes being aboard can be tough when things aren’t going well but what makes it worthwhile is moments like first light in a peaceful harbor.Or when a morning shower gives way to a double rainbow.Or ending the day with a beautiful sunset…
Watching a full moon rise over the hills.
Or a full moon in the twilight at sea with a single sailboat on the horizon. Or dropping anchor for the first time in a new harbor.But, perhaps best of all, it’s about slowing down and making new friends or meeting up with old ones that you haven’t seen for months or years for sundowners.However, when you absolutely, positively have to get there to be with family for the holidays, there’s no question that a 737 goes to weather better than a 737.

Enjoy the holidays and, if it floats your particular boat, Merry Christmas!

Editor:  It this post seems a bit more strained than normal, just try writing while blowing out the pipes, setting mouse traps, picking up the rental car….

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