Where have the weddings gone? Where are the travel photos? Where is Gregory?
I’m on a boat!
That’s right, Lucie and I threw caution to the wind and learned to harness it’s power in our sails. Earlier this year we flew over from France to Florida to do some shopping. I’ve been dreaming of living aboard for a long time now, and I managed to convince my fiancée that it would be exciting, comfortable, and safe. Gladly I was 33% right. Exciting it has been, but it’s also been full of challenges, pushing the boundaries of both comfort and safety.
We bought a beautiful 2002 Beneteau 331. A lightly used light cruiser which was far from ready for living aboard and cruising long-term. So we worked hard for almost two months getting her ready, and in the beginning of May we lifted our anchor for the last time in US waters, and hauled-ass across the Gulf Stream, Bahamas-bound. We have spent the last two months making our way through the Abaco chain of islands, learning to live on and from the sea. We have learned many lessons about the boat, the weather, the ocean, and especially about each other and ourselves. We have also met some really wonderful people along the way who have helped us to feel like we’re part of a community who supports each other. When you’re cruising you’re seldom alone. You can be if you want to, but there is always a new friend in the next anchorage or an old one passing the other way.
So many thanks to my parents who put us up for weeks on end in their motorhome in various places around Florida. We couldn’t have conducted our boat search without their hospitality and support.
Sometimes though, they kicked us out of the motorhome and we roughed it under the stars.
Also a shout-out to our boat buddies Catherine and Colin who counselled us on many aspects of our endeavour. Here we explore naval charts and boxed wine aboard their boat in Port Charlotte, Florida
So eventually we got going. The boat had it’s batteries upgraded, solar pannels installed, and a host of other improvements. Loaded with fuel, food, and two nervous souls we set off early one morning from the Fort Worth inlet to cross the treacherous Gulf Stream in the Straits of Florida. We made the crossing in about 10 hours tackling a strong headwind and huge following swells. Lucie put out a fishing rod to calm her nerves and immediately caught a beautiful Mahi Mahi which we pulled in by hand after the cheap reel broke from the strain. This fish fed us for four days while we made our way to Grand Cay in the Bahamas.
After a successful crossing, we took our time making our way eastwards over the next two months. Here are some scenes from our travels through the Abacos:
Lucie trying to catch some dinner before sunset
At Grand Cay with our favourite pooch, Crew
Me at the wheel, making our way from Crab Cay to Green Turtle Cay. I don’t know what happened but the electric blue of that water really messed with the camera’s brain.
Anchored in Carter’s Cay, we were surrounded by Bahamian fishing boats and majestic clouds
Exploring Double-Breasted Cay with our friends Dale and Carolyn from s/v Reality
Me, pole-spear in hand, looking for a meal
Storm over Great Abaco, as seen from Manjack Cay
That perfect moment when the suffocating heat of the day abates, and the swarms of mosquitoes have yet to arrive
Sunset from the anchorage outside Hope Town, Elbow Cay.
Pushkar anchored in White Sound, Green Turtle Cay on a rare evening of perfect calm
Our friend Keath from the catamaran GlobalHopper, in his dinghy
Moments taken to just sit and watch in awe how the systems of nature play themselves out on a daily basis
As I write this, Lucie and I are in France. In just a few months we’ll be back aboard Pushkar for the winter, venturing further and experiencing life so close to nature.