Monday, January 2, 2017

The Year We Made It

When I think about our life as Cruisers I always smile to myself when I remember that some of our best friends never thought we would "make it".  Come on, you know who you are... admit it!  To tell you the truth, there were many years leading up to it all when Bruce and I didn't really think so either.  

Getting out was hard.  Even after we technically tossed the docklines, leaving the US was hard.  Transitioning in our minds from the internal attachment to all things American was something we didn't even know was a THING!

But here we are...  It's been more than a year since we have "lived" on US soil.  Although I will admit that being in Puerto Rico is kind of like cheating a little... It's one foot in and one foot out.  But still.  Looking back on this past year when we overcame our fears of longish passages and made it from the Bahamas to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  Then we crossed the fearsome Mona Passage...

We've been out of our comfort zone and yet we have developed a new comfort zone...  We have developed a new sense of our abilities and confidence in our boat.  And although we no longer feel so strongly compelled to go "somewhere"... We are truly comfortable in our life living "somewhere else".

Thinking forward to possibly not coming "back" to the US in the foreseeable future doesn't seem so daunting to us any longer.  We are excited to be finally visiting new places and really taking our time to see them thoroughly...  This is what our 2017 is.  The year we finally made it out.

Still...  Moving on provides it's own set of challenges...  We have to get past the Christmas Winds if we ever want to move on from Culebra!  We've been here for almost a month!  Today the urge to move this boat has grown to overwhelming proportions and we are getting ready to pull up the anchor...  We won't get far until later this week when the winds are forecast to lay down a bit... But we are going SOMEWHERE.  Today!

Look back with me over our last days in Culebra... in pictures.

Sleepy little Culebra seems to be waking up.  Christmas is reportedly one of their biggest tourist events and there is an air of building excitement that can be felt everywhere.

We finally found this little kiosk OPEN!

Bruce quickly offered to let me pick out my Christmas present...
Enjoying Monkey Balls at Sweet & Naughty
We sort of went wild with eating out while we were in Culebra...  With so many days restricted from shore by the Christmas winds... when we DID go ashore, we almost always enjoyed at least one meal out...  It's going to be difficult to give that up and go back to our normally frugal habits.

Eating has been a bit of an issue lately...  I hate to make New Year's Resolutions about dieting... but really....  With long days stuck onboard, I've been cooking lots of tasty but not so healthy meals and baked things... Then we lie around on our backsides with full tummies and I must say that my waistline has suffered the consequences.  

So we have consciously looked for excuses to get off the boat and just walk around a bit.  We found this easy beach just outside the canal through town to be the perfect get-away!

I was struggling with being a little melancholy on Christmas Day... I know it's just another day... but it is full of so many memories of mornings with my kids.  I know these are days I will never get back... days that wouldn't be the same even if we weren't cruising far away from all that was our "normal" lives... But still...

Finding a quiet beach and getting a little sunshine was just what I needed to cheer up my mood!

While family and friends were huddled inside with cold and snow...

Having no Christmas decorations....

I made a temporary Mermaid's Wreath

We had such a nice time at the beach we decided to share it with our friends...

Bruce cleaning the dinghy bottom!  

Guys and girls naturally separate for chit-chat.

Ginny and Chuck playing with Christmas toys!

Are there any sea monsters out here?

Bonnie and Wendy enjoying the cool water...

A temporary squall chased us all back to our respective boats!

I appreciated the fresh water rinse!
I appreciate a fine looking rooster...
Some days we went ashore just to take a walk around Culebra and see what we had missed...

I love the "Pop-Up-Art" found everywhere in this place.  To me it shows such pride.  Spaces that would otherwise be plain or even eyesores... have been transformed into pure pleasure.

Shortly after our arrival here one of our propane bottles ran dry.  We thought maybe we would get it filled in St. Thomas but as the days turned into weeks I began to get nervous about our second bottle going dry... especially with all the baking I've been doing!

So one day we decided to get a fill...  It's amazing how complicated that turned out to be.  First we called to make sure they were open.  Yes, the guy will be there at noon.

The Shadow Waits
So we took our bottle to shore and walked out behind the airport to find the plant and nobody around.  We asked all over town and even found the guy's truck... but nobody around.  So, hot and sweaty but having had a bit of exercise... we returned empty handed to try another day.

Two days later we called again and arranged to meet up at the Dinghy Dock.  That hour promised for the return of our newly filled bottle turned into four hours of waiting around... I won't go into the details but if you need a propane fill... do it somewhere else!

The week between Christmas and New Year's Eve was the busiest we've ever seen the streets of Culebra.  We had heard that there would be a big NYE party and boats began to fill the Bay and the public dock several days in advance.
Our dinghy dock was taken over by Holiday revelers
Sunken bicycle resurrected

We visited the fresh market weekly

Gonna have to figure out how to eat like locals eventually... not today!

This will make a nice stew...

US Post Office

Looks like this place is expecting some heat!

Filling up...

Police were blocking the downtown area two days before the party
We did all of our celebrating one night early.  I personally have a borderline crowd phobia so the thought of being shoulder to shoulder with thousands in this small space was particularly unpleasant... Standing in line for dinner out is also not one of our favorite things to do.  We were surprised by the arrival of a couple Bruce knew back in his lake-sailing days in Kansas!

We enjoyed a nice dinner at the Dinghy Dock with Ron and Kathy and also our New-Old-Friends from San Juan, Vicki and Burton.  It was the perfect time and we didn't feel like we missed any celebrating... especially the next morning when I woke up from having one-too-many rum punches... New rule:  Two is my limit!

Last Sunrise of 2016

Sun setting on 2016

Our big New Year's Eve activity...Leftovers in the cockpit and Netflix

Good morning 2017!!  Happy New Year!
Odin and Adventure Us 2
Thanks to Bonnie on Odin... we started our New Year out with a healthy hike with friends!

The long-awaited arrival of Texas friends on Adventure Us 2 has released us from all non-weather related restrictions... You'll see more of these two in the days to come as we plan to continue on with them for a while...

These blooms weren't there the last time we walked past this cactus...

I love the porches... no two are alike!

Boats anchored near the music stage from last night

Tire Art

Our little band of vagabonds

Chicken sneaking up on an unsuspecting Bonnie

You gonna eat that coconut, lady?

Craig procured sustenance for his Lady


We had to find alternate dinghy dockage...

More boats in the Bay than we've ever seen!

Our alternate dinghy dockage...
This concludes our time in Ensenada Honda.  We had Adventure Us 2 over for dinner and a review of the charts last night and made plans to move on.  We won't get far before the end of this week but we will go.

We are excited about how this year will unfold... what new adventures will it bring?  Join us and find out!  Happy New Year!


  1. Nice summary. I love the art pictures. It makes me want to go paint a rock!

    1. LOL same here! The Pop-Up Art is my favorite part of Culebra! It became a competition between Odin The Wanderer and me to see who could find them! I think Bonnie won though... She found some I didn't see!

  2. You've nailed my two biggest concerns about this new life we're embracing: missing my family and an expanding waistline. The latter has already begun with the cold weather hunkering down of living aboard in the winter. This week will see a revisited commitment to learning to eat our usual healthful fare aboard the boat. It's not vacation anymore. Lovely photos. I know so many people really like Culebra. Glad you are enjoying this adventure! That is certainly a handsome rooster!

    1. Normally when we're actively cruising we get enough days of activity to make maintaining weight possible... Our eating times blur and we just eat when we can or when we're hungry... usually only twice a day. The long period of inactivity during the summer when we had AC and wi-fi was detrimental... We may have to reconsider our summer plans in future... Missing the kids? Well I have to remind myself that they are competent adults living their own lives in far off places. We wouldn't just be hanging out on couches together even if we did live in a house on land... The internet helps us keep connected and there's always the phone. It's part of being the parent of adult children. We aren't good to them just sitting around waiting for a visit... Expect sad moments and move on. You'll do fine.