Hold on to your Sombrero's Ensenada...
The Howells are about to head south!
Yes, I know, we've already told everyone that. September 2018.
Well. We changed our minds. So we're going now. Well, in two weeks. Half of us anyway.
It dawned on us a few weeks ago that we didn't really have to wait at all. That we could go now. So why not?
After a lot of discussion and lists of pro's and con's, we've decided to move our little adventure up and start now. We have a tiny little weather window left in the year to head south, and rather than wait until next year we feel like it's time to move. So the last few weeks have been filled with making to-do lists, buying last minute things like a life raft and flares, engine maintenance, fixing various little things that have the potential to become bigger things, engaging a captain and crew to accompany Daz and finding somewhere for me to live until December. So no, we haven't been sailing around drinking sundowners in the glorious sunshine for the last month. We've actually been preparing to depart!
We're incredibly excited but more than once have we said to each other "Are we mad? WTF ARE WE DOING???? when the reality of actually doing what we've been talking about for years is right here and right now.
Our plans are written in sand for the most part, as all sailors plans tend to be. For now, Daz and the crew are heading to San Diego, the crew will leave the boat there and Daz will take the boat to Ensenada for a few months. We'll have some boat work done there while we're in Australia for Christmas, come back and get some real work done for a month or two while we settle in to a new way of living, a new culture, a new language! We'll leave Ensenada when we feel like it and when the weather is good and we'll work out where we'll go next from there. It's nice to not really have an itinerary to stick to!
So for the next few weeks we're finalizing provision lists, organizing visa's and import permits, researching marina's in Ensenada, moving my stuff off the boat (I'll be staying with friends for a few months) and cleaning up my office at work.
We've had so much encouragement and love from everyone we've told - old friends, parents, children, cruising buddies, QFC cashiers, employers, hairdressers...everyone has been so supportive and we appreciate that so much. All tend to have the same questions: How long will it take to get to San Diego? (about 2 weeks), What will you do if you don't like it? (hmm...move on to the next adventure - we have no idea what that would be), Will we ever see you again?? (Of course! Come see us! Guests are always welcome aboard the Floating Gin Palace!)
In all honesty though, we don't know how long we'll do this for - we tell each other "until the fun or the money runs out, which ever is first" and that's about as true a statement as we can make. While it might sound like it will be sun soaked white sand beaches and clear turquoise seas all day everyday, the reality for us is a fun to suck ratio of 80% to 20% (hurricanes, storms, broken boat bits, rolly anchorages, shark bites, cockroaches etc.) If the suck outweighs the fun, we'll rethink and do something else.
For now though, we're excited. Or, in the words of a cruiser who has been an inspiration to us (and left Seattle a year ago and is now at Rapa Nui)...