Last week I announced that Bonaire will become home for a little while, giving me time get my dive certifications and become a better sailor before journeying to the South Pacific. This week, after sailing, snorkeling, diving, and even some land-adventuring, I feel confident that I made the right choice. And boy, what a week it was.
I ended last week’s blog on a bit of a cliffhanger, and for that I apologize. When TV shows do it, it drives me crazy, and I should know better than to subject my audience to such emotional turmoil — I mean, your life revolves around these updates, right? The truth is, I didn’t know what my plans were when I wrote that post. Today however, I can confidently announce that I will not be transiting the Panama Canal before hurricane season, and instead will remain in the Western Caribbean. Do not be confused — it is still my full intention to push onward to Australia, it will just be a different pace.
Though a weather window briefly opened this week, allowing passage to Panama, it closed right up. The good news though, is that this delay has allowed me to meet an array of new people – including someone who circumnavigated on an Albin Vega! – and has also allowed me to see more of this wonderful island than I otherwise would have. With so much more to see and do, just in this one spot, this whole extended stay-over has me considering changing my sail plan entirely.
Bonaire was only meant to be a short stop on my way to San Blas (Panama), but unfriendly weather northwest of Colombia has turned my layover into an extended vacation. The island has the charm and convenience of Western Europe, and water more spectacular than anywhere I have yet seen. Then there’s the people I’ve met; some sailors, some locals, and even an old friend, but all of them together make an already difficult place to leave almost a heartbreaking affair.
After three and a half days, wave-surfing downwind run, Tarka and I have safely arrived on the beautiful Dutch island of Bonaire. This passage turned out to be eye-opening in about a dozen different ways, and even has me questioning whether I want to continue with the voyage.
After too-many months here in Grenada, Tarka and I are finally ready to go west. All our sailing so far has been north or south-oriented, but we now get to point into the sunset, with the wind behind us, and the seas following, while we make our way toward the Pacific.
Things are really crazy down here on Tarka as I prepare to leave for destinations west. I have tackled a number of important canvas projects, learning all about the frustrations of sewing machines along the way. I fabricated a whole new set of bomb-proof windows in hopes of avoiding a wave entering Tarka without consent. I divested from my health insurance and invested in a life insurance policy (in the form of a life raft). I’ve fought hard battles with customs, immigration and DHL, but have so far come away defeated. There are other significant projects in the works for Christmas week, as well.
I’ve spent this week mostly organizing logistics, making purchases for Tarka’s needs, and planning for our departure. Several incidents this week also served as sobering reminders about safety, and the illusions surrounding it.
It’s been an interesting week here in paradise. Tarka remains anchored in complete solitude in True Blue Bay on the southwest-most corner of the Grenada. Having no neighbors has been a welcomed change after spending so many months in crowded anchorages. It’s safe, it’s quiet, the water is a beautiful blue, and being neighbor-less means I’m free to be free of my dirty laundry – if you catch my drift.