So, where will Pandora go next? It depends…

In about two weeks Brenda and I will head back to Antigua and Pandora. Plans are mostly in place for getting some work done on Pandora in Trinidad next summer. After spending many years cruising the waters of the eastern Caribbean, Brenda has begun asking the question of why we have to do this for yet another season.

I’ll admit that I am not all that excited about heading to the same places yet again and frankly was looking forward to heading to the northern islands this season, and perhaps spending some time in the Bahamas again. However, the work that needs to be done, painting the decks etc, is just too expensive to do elsewhere so Trinidad it is. Of course, this whole exercise will be made even more complex due to the fact that I will need to change insurance carriers to one that will cover Trinidad for the summer.

Sure, it does seem a bit bratty to suggest that spending time on white sandy beaches and eating French food while others are up north braving sub freezing temperatures is something to tire of but these are our “golden years” and we want to make the best of them.

In my last post, I talked about the importance of having goals and while this is very common for folks during their working years, I believe that many retire, or perhaps put off retirement, as they just don’t know what they will do with themselves without a job to keep them occupied.

I have always been goal oriented and having goals in retirement is no exception.

So, Eastern Caribbean, been there done that… What’s next?

My dad, who was inspiration for this blog for many years, once said “Bob, wouldn’t it be great to see Gibraltar from the deck of Pandora?”. It’s been a decade since he left us but I have not been able to get that image out of my head and just about every year I turn my thoughts to “what about cruising the Med?”, always pushing it to the background.

Let’s face it, Brenda isn’t all that crazy about living for months aboard Pandora and yet she does, year after year. I am grateful for that and constantly feel compelled to do what I can to make the experience more rewarding for her. However, it does get harder each year. So, where does the Med fit into all this?

I have mentioned many times that Brenda and I met in high school back in the 70s and I should add that during that time she studied Latin. In college she majored in the classics, both Latin and Greek and as part of her studies, spent semesters in both Italy and Greece. She loved being there and yet we have not visited those places together.

Our boys have commented our time on the water “is a lifetime of Dad trying to make Mom like sailing”. That’s true and as someone who is self-described as “ever hopeful”, perhaps time in the Mediterranean could fill the bill as a next step. And, back to the Classics, I’d say that if Homer thought that the best way to tour the Med was by boat, who are we to say that he was wrong. Right? Yeah… I’m goin with that…

When you think about the nearly 50 years that Brenda and I have cruised together and the reality that I am still trying to find that elusive “sweet spot” for time on the boat with her, some might say that I am just about out of ideas. We have cruised the US East Coast from Maine to south Florida, all through the Bahamas, much of Cuba and most recently the Eastern Caribbean from the Virgins to Grenada.

So far, nothing has quite filled the bill for Brenda once the novelty has worn off. So, what’s left? Beyond the Med, I am just about out of ideas…

Additionally, we haven’t had a lot of success in getting our kids to join us in the Caribbean. Hey guys? Want to visit us in the French Riviera? Na… Oh, well.

I’d say that revisiting our youth and Brenda’s love of the classics. So, I’m thinking, follow in the footsteps of Homer.

It’s worth a try.

The plan, for 2025 although admittedly still in it’s infancy, is to launch Pandora after getting work done i Trinidad next summer, perhaps early winter and work our way north through the Eastern Caribbean. In the spring of 2025 I would run to Bermuda, onto The Azores and finally to Portugal where Pandora would be hauled for the season and relaunched in the fall for a run to Spain.

The run from the Caribbean to Portugal totals about 3,700 miles. Leg one, about 900 miles to Bermuda where perhaps I’d do a crew change. Then across to The Azores, another 2,000 miles and from there to Portugal.

Along the way I would stop in The Azores, a place that I never imagined going and yet have always been fascinated by. There are plenty of YouTube videos about the area but this piece is pretty good and is short, less than 5 minutes. It gives a pretty good feel I think.

The real gateway to the Med is Gibraltar. Brenda and I almost visited there when we spent a month in Portugal a while back. I think that this would be a great place to meet up with her. This is a short piece by Rick Steves, the travel writer.

Looks awesome. Dad was right.

Oh yeah, any video about Gibraltar shows the famous monkeys. When we were in St Kitts a few years ago Brenda had her “monkey encounter”. An omen?

In the Azores video there is a reference to the Pillars of Hercules. There is a rock formation at the entrance of English Harbor by the same name.

Pillars of Hercules in Antigua and Gibraltar? Coincidence? I don’t think so.

One big issue will be insurance and that may prove to be quite a challenge. Even insurance to run to the Caribbean during the “hurricane off-season” has become very expensive. I have been working on coverage for Pandora this coming summer in Trinidad and that’s proving to be a bit of challenge. My current policy only allows me to go as far south as Grenada, about 85 miles north of Trinidad. And, most applications require a survey within two years and my last full survey is only a few months more than that. I guess I should have moved forward on these plans a few months ago.

I know that spring of 2025 is still a long way off but without a plan, you don’t have much.

In spite of all this, who really knows what will happen next but thinking and planning is fun. Right?

As of now though, I do know that we will be heading back to Pandora in about two weeks and the answer to where Pandora is headed next is simple. The Caribbean, a nice place to spend the winter and that’s a pretty sure thing.

Where will she go after that? Well, it depends…

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