Decisions to change plans…

By: Noah D.

I’m sitting here in Sines, Portugal. It is just after 10am. All the hatches are open and there’s a gentle north-ish breeze. A few minutes ago, two small RIB’s hummed by outside with their crews decked out and loaded up with spearfishing equipment. We spent yesterday afternoon hanging out at a beach bar: it is like something straight out of a spy movie. I don’t think I’ve seen a cloud in about three days. We finally made it to this part of the world.

That being said, not everything happens the way you think. Sometimes it turns out for the absolute best. And by “best” I mean “better than I could have ever planned.”

We will be turning left…

Instead of crossing the Atlantic this summer, we’re going to do the right thing – our insurance company definitely agrees – and stay on this side. We are running up against hurricane season and, rather than cross dodging tropical waves in varying stages of tropical depression/storm development, we might as well put a few more thousand miles under Proteus‘ keel. And that’s where things are going to get interesting…

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We, being USA citizens and such, cannot stay in Europe indefinitely. Visas are serious things… even more so for professional travelers. So, we’ll be hanging out in some of the more obscure and (definitely) more exotic sailing locations of the Mediterranean. (A quick search to find out which countries are “non-Schengen” will give you a hint at our itinerary for the summer.)

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Will it be hot? Freakin’ hot.

Will it be fun? Probably. And frustrating at times, I’m sure. But, mostly just completely different from our first 9 months aboard. We’ve been sailing in the high-latitudes – we JUST crossed below 40º for the first time! – so our learning curve is starting to reverse itself: “What? The tide difference is less than 2 meters!?” or “So, there are going to be other visiting boats in the marina??” not to mention “What do you mean, I have to put my anchor down in the marina and back into the quay…?” Most of all, I think we’re still getting over sitting on the midnight-to-4am watch without five layers and foul weather gear (and usually a wool blanket over all that)…

See what I mean? This is breaking into a new realm of sailing for us. But it will also be ushering in a new realm of living. We have been “moving the boat” since we left Ipswich. Now we are going to be taking it slow, considering time in terms of weeks rather than days. We will actually spend time in the places we are visiting. I’m ready to have a non-rhythm to my life. Furthermore, we will be stretching our budget to its absolute limits: by doing this, we will be forced to wring a budget meant for two or three more months into six… or seven… or eight.

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Proteus in Sines, Portugal.

In late-October or November we will be back in this part of the world (i.e.: Iberian Peninsula) preparing to head south for the Canary Islands and Cape Verdes. I think these couple thousand extra miles have come at just the right time.

Since I began traveling years ago I have lived by the mantra, “Whatever happens, it’s going to be good.” I think this is a great time to say it again…

“What we need is here…”

 

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
~Wendell Berry

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Ile-d’Yeu, France

Around Brest…

So much of sailing is waiting. Waiting for the wind to come down from 35kts. Waiting for the swell to be less than 15 feet. Waiting for a part to come in from somewhere. Waiting for some paperwork to be finished.

And, the shame of it is, when we are waiting on that storm system to pass, the storm system is on top of us. So our “off days” are usually accompanied by howling winds and likely not a small bit of rain.

We would be remiss, though, if we just sat on our hands and did nothing. In some of the more remote, exotic locations in Western Europe, we can find some really fascinating, un-touristy places. When you’re arriving on a boat, you come in through the back door. Tourists, arriving by car or train or plane, arrive to the billboards and manicured shrubbery and freshly planted flowers out of season. The ports are usually in the old section of town that smells of fish or wet wooden decking or nothing at all. Anything that blooms comes up naturally through the cracks in the cobblestones. And, like these old paving stones – and unlike the glass and steel airport architecture – almost everything has rounded edges worn by time and proximity to the sea.

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In the middle of St.Patrick’s…

By: Noah D.

Travel will teach you things. It will teach you marvelous things. But it will also teach you to fail. Or, rather, teach you that failing is not the end of the story… let alone something to be feared.

We attempted to cross the Celtic Sea on March 14. We made it around 25 miles before turning back: the sea was not having it. Massive swells pushed us farther and farther off course. Simply tacking would only send us back up the coast. Disappointed, we turned back.

And then St.Patrick’s Day came to pass.

What began as a simple call to get tickets at the Cork Opera House for an evening of Irish music somehow turned into various people calling us back. And then we had seats with our names on them in the grand stand for the parade, which turned into access to the parade itself… followed by a brisk walk through the city to a private room in a pub and sat down beside a famous radio personality… and then the Lord Mayor of Cork. They said, “Sit here.” …and there we sat, a constant stream of people greeting the personalities and us not knowing that we were really nothing special.

We experienced St.Patrick’s Day from the inside. We saw Cork with all its dressings on and from behind the curtain.

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St. Patrick 14

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It has occurred to me that my date stamps are wrong. It is 2015, after all…St. Patrick 1

St. Patrick 2

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If you seat yourself next to a king, anyone can ask you to get up and move. If a king seats you next to him, only a king can move you. The world is full of people trying to get themselves seated next to a king… or look like they have been seated there. We just got blown in by the sea.

Who knows what disappointment holds? Whatever happens, it is going to be good…

A Highland road trip…

By: Noah D.

Occasionally, even the perpetual travelers must take a vacation. With my parents visiting the UK, we took the opportunity to drive up north and visit Scotland for the first time. (Well, my first time… Lynn’s second.)

The North: #Newcastle #Tyne #angel #uk #england #travel

A photo posted by Noah D. (@haonavy) on

Rather than a true “highland visit” we mostly visited Edinburgh. And drove much of the countryside between Ipswich and Edinburgh. Hadrian’s Wall, Newcastle’s “Angel of the North,” et al. But road trips are always a pleasure. Perhaps that’s why living in a voyaging sailboat is such an attraction: life is a perpetual road trip.

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