Captain Butterflies and the Missing Mate
The butterflies in my stomach were on steroids, and my heart was trying desperately to break through my rib cage. I hesitated momentarily before releasing my grip on the cashier's check. This was it! From this moment on, there would be no turning back. "Deep breath, Russ. This is what you signed up for."
It occurred to me in that moment that I was spending more on Born Again than I had on two of the three houses I've owned. True - those houses would never have taken me the places she will, but then I never had to worry about sinking the houses.
I scribbled out my signature on a few more documents and shook hands with Joe, the previous owner, and Miles, the yacht broker. I squinted as I walked out of the air conditioned dock office and into the sweltering Florida sun. I headed down the wooden ramp toward my new home, and as I stepped on board Born Again for the first time as her captain, I spoke to her out loud: "I wish Amy was here with us for this."
We established in my last post that my expectations for how our adventure will unfold are unlikely to be met. But I have the expectations none-the-less, and I expect something similar to this story to occur shortly after Labor Day next year.
I've received a lot of questions about when various aspects of our journey are going to take place, so I thought in this post, I would share a month by month look at how it might play out in a perfect world.
Hopefully, we will free ourselves of a number of possessions this month. We would love to get the house sold. Ideally, to someone who wants the woodworking shop to come with it. We're not really wanting to move out of the house immediately (although we would if need be), but it would be nice to know it was sold. There are also 3 guitars left and a drum kit that would make great Christmas gifts for someone, and it would be nice to unload those at this point.
I also have a trip to Seattle this month to visit family, (Amy doesn't have the vacation time to join me) and I intend to take the opportunity, as long as I'm by the water, to look at some boats. The chances of us buying a boat on the west coast are almost nil, but it's still good to see what's out there.
I have no expectations of making any real headway on our plan this month. While Amy revels in the holiday season, I will satisfy myself with enduring it, knowing that very soon we will be entering the calendar year in which we will sail away. Perhaps this will be a good month to really concentrate on our Spanish lessons. Feliz Navidad!
I think we're really going to concentrate on the business aspect of our endeavor this month. We'll need to get our You Tube channel up and running. We'll need to choose a bank that will cater to our international needs. We'll need to set up an online payment method for people to financially support our ministry. Also, we have been approached by a local radio station who wants to do a human interest story on us, so we will try to set that up. Anything we can do to increase interest in what we're doing, we will do.
This is going to be a fun month! I'm going to drive down to the Tampa Bay area and take a six day sailing course. There I will obtain ASA (American Sailing Association) 101, 103, and 104 certifications. Amy will then fly down to meet me and we will spend a few days relaxing and looking at boats before heading to Key Largo where I will get my Advanced Open Water SCUBA certification. At that point, I'll only be a couple steps away from Divemaster. As a Divemaster, I can actually be paid to dive - something that may come in very handy in the Caribbean.
Ideally, this would be a great month to close on our house. We need to be saving every possible penny at this point, so if we could get out from under our hefty mortgage and into a cheap apartment for the remainder of our time in Monmouth, it would help a great deal. We also need to sell the remainder of our possessions, other than the bare essentials.
Ah, Spring! This will be a great time to take on a side job for some extra money. Anyone need a deck or a garage built? I have references...
I have no particular plans this month, but time is getting short - something tells me there will be more to do than there is time to do it.
June and July are prime boat buying months for the type of vessel we're looking for, so if we have refrained from buying a boat up until now, the search will take a very serious turn at this point. You can only learn and see so much on the internet, so a trip to somewhere on the east coast, preferably Florida, to view some boats will likely occur.
This would be a great month to actually sign an agreement to purchase Born Again. A boat inspection (known as a survey) will be done, price will be negotiated, and a closing date set.
Preparations to replace ourselves at our jobs and ministries are in full swing.
The boat will not have everything we want. There will be a lot of research and decision making to be done regarding outfitting the boat. Lots of last minute preparations. Lots of ordering boat parts and accessories online.
Amy and I will make a trip out to Seattle to see my family before we go. Barring an emergency, it will probably be a year before we see them again.
We will throw a big bon voyage party. Probably at the Y.
The first week of September, I will be draining the pool at the YMCA for the last time. On the 12th I will head to wherever Born Again is docked to hand over the money and close the deal.
Amy will stay behind in Monmouth pulling off one last BaconFest. (For those of you not from Monmouth, this is not my way of suggesting my wife eats inordinate amounts of bacon while I'm gone; it is a big community event, sponsored by a local pork producer, that she plans and organizes every year.)
I will be in Florida living aboard Born Again in a marina. I'll be furiously preparing her for the big adventure, getting everything ship shape, and anxiously awaiting Amy's arrival.
Amy will be handling the really last minute stuff: selling or donating whatever we still own that doesn't belong on the boat, getting the necessary paperwork from the vet to travel internationally with Griffin and Cleo, cancelling utilities, etc. etc., and then finally, joining me on board.
And in November...
We wait for the right weather window to cross the Gulf Stream, and...
Bahamas here we come!