It was just a few days after Christmas when we got our outboard motor back from its urgent freshwater servicing at Xtreme Marine in Jolly Harbour, Antigua. Not only did the team there get it running again but they gave her a real once over and she is even better than before our capsizing adventure. With our outboard motor ready to go, we immediately started making plans with our friends on Rode Trip to depart from Antigua and to make our way to St. Martin for the New Year celebrations there.
We weighed anchor at 4:00pm on Friday December 29th for a very easy 96 nautical mile overnight motor sail, under a bright full moon, to Marigot Bay, St. Martin (French side). We arrived at the anchorage just before 8:00am, cleared in by 9:00am and were sitting in the Chez Fernand bakery eating croissants and drinking americanos by 9:30am. What a great start to the day!
The New Year’s celebrations on the island were fun, capped off by several incredible fireworks displays. During the day we had a wonderful ad hoc picnic with several of our boat buddies, including our friends on Kemana who were docked on the Dutch side of the island. It was a special time with lots of chatter about what we all have accomplished over the past year, as well as our future sailing plans.
Ah, sailing plans. This has been a big topic on Wild Horses for the last several months. It is easy to dream of far away destinations and big voyages, but the world that is more real for Wild Horses includes so much more than just sailing and exploring. It contains our family and our friends back home. Every phone call is an emotional tug at our heartstrings to go back to Canada, even just for a quick visit. The longer we are away, the more we are realizing that we need to have more of a balance between sailing the world and being home for family.
Before we started this trip, the plan was clear. We would sail the Eastern Caribbean for at least two years and then decide where else we wanted the wind to take us. We would go home, of course, but the plan was to make separate trips (Mike goes one time and I would go the next time) so that Wild Horses was never unattended. And the dog? We knew we didn’t want to subject Ocean to airplane travel. Our dear pup, we thought, will just stay on the boat with either Mike or myself (whoever wasn't travelling).
Our plan was solid…until we had to put it into action. We have learned a lot about ourselves on this trip and one of the biggest is realizing that we only want to travel as a pack. We are the three amigos and, well, it just will not do to leave an amigo behind 😉. By the time we departed Grenada, we knew we had a problem to solve. We wanted to go home for a visit with family but we wanted to keep our little family intact while doing it.
Just this past week, the final pieces of our new sail plan have come together. We will be sailing back to the continental United States over this winter, visiting the USVI, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas along the way. We will then make our way to Green Cove Springs Marina near Jacksonville, Florida by the early summer months. There, Wild Horses will be hauled out and stored while we drive back to Canada over the summer months for our much-needed visit with family and friends. When Fall descends upon us, we will re-launch Wild Horses and sail the Bahamas over the winter.
What will we do after that? Not sure but being in the Bahamas will keep us closer to home and also to other sailing destinations like the Eastern Caribbean, Guatamala, Aruba and so much more. We will have built in flexibility to decide on next steps.
Perfect. Freedom but also being able to hug mom and dad once in awhile. I think we may have found our balance 😊.
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.