One of the first things I learned about sailing was that being flexible was critical. Not flexible in a yoga-type way (although that helps with maneuvering around the boat) but in terms of planning. As sailors, we create sail plans that are meant to be an intention of where we will sail our boat for a particular journey. We start from X and then will follow Y waterway and anchor in Z bay. But these sail plans, even as we write them down, we know are truly just “intentions”, something to target. Weather changes, gear or boat issues, or emerging problems along our plotted course can cause us to make a course or schedule correction. This is common, known and accepted…but not always easy.
This is one of those times for the crew of Wild Horses.
We have made the difficult decision to delay our journey to the Caribbean until September 2021. Our sail plan was to take us through the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) which snakes along the eastern seaboard of the United States to Florida and then we would finally cross over the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. A favourable weather window for this journey is from October to December. Miss the window and you wait a year for the next window. Or, you change your sail plan and take the offshore route (Out the St. Lawrence to Halifax then two Atlantic crossings, first to Bermuda then South to the British Virgin Islands). For us, we are choosing to wait a year, hoping that our ICW sail plan will be more favourable at that time.
Why not just go now? First and foremost, the Canada-United States border is currently still closed to non-essential travel and it looks like it will be extended once again, perhaps to the end of the year or even longer. Even if the border opens, it will likely come with a travel advisory regarding COVID-19 in the United States. Our neighbours to the south are still in an upswing trajectory of cases, a trend that may not right itself any time soon. As my good friend Andrew likes to say “it is a sugar show”.
The second concern for us is healthcare. Or, actually, healthcare insurance. We had planned on purchasing a product called Expat Insurance and, right now, pandemics are excluded. If we get sick, it could be at a considerable financial cost. Staying in Canada, we continue to benefit from our excellent healthcare system. This is huge, especially with Mike having severe asthma (controlled).
Why not just go the offshore route? This year, we are not prepared for such an immense undertaking. The boat would need additional gear and we would need additional, experienced crew. Mike and I have no offshore experience so thorough planning and more training would be in order. This is not a route you take on a whim. However, it may be a route we need to consider for 2021 should the COVID-19 situation not improve in the United States over the winter.
I also plan to continue this blog. It is a joy to write and I love hearing from those following along our journey. Thank you to all who write in with questions, comments or just to say hey. Please keep coming back!
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.