A big difference between cruising life and life on land, one that we've already started to experience before we leave, is the ability to plan. This is big for me. I'm a huge planner. In my life as a teacher, I found great comfort in the bells that cleanly punctuated the day and the calendars and spreadsheets that held the chaos of 120 teenagers neatly in line (usually).
The wind is not so easily managed. Questions like 'when are you leaving?' or 'where are you going?' or 'when will you arrive here?' can leave both Dominic and me pretty flummoxed. What we know for sure is that we are going to go out the Golden Gate and turn left. After that, we're modelling our trip on what's called the Coconut Milk Run--a notoriously beautiful sail that runs from the Americas, through the South Pacific, and ends in either New Zealand or Australia. The longest stretch of ocean is about 2,750+ miles from Puerto Vallarta to the Marquesas, and a few hundred recreational vessels like ours make the passage each year.
The areas that are starred on these two images are the typical highlights of the Milk Run, and we'd be ecstatic to see as many as possible. But there are a lot factors to consider: what's the weather doing? will we want to spend an extra year in Mexico? will we want to hang with the crowd, or be a little more isolated? is the anchorage deep enough for Helios? is it too deep for our anchor chain? what will we do when we get to New Zealand? There are so many variables that we start to feel superstitious about making plans at all.
I find this unnerving, and probably will continue to do so as Dominic and I go further and further into foreign territory. But its also really exciting, because (and I'm sure more than one former student would agree with me here) learning to relax and be flexible are both things I stand to gain from this adventure.
ps. Dominic put together these images as part of a presentation he gave when he informed his boss and coworkers he was leaving last week. Congratulations, Dom!