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May 2013

April 2013

Choices and Loss -- A Lesson in Opportunity Cost

I got scolded twice this week – once on Facebook and once here in a comment on my last post. Seems I’ve been missed. Sorry about that.

I knew I was behind – has it really been almost a month since my last post?  EW’s brother, Howie, and his girlfriend, Mary Jo joined us the first week of April, and I didn’t write while they were here. Of course I have photos and a post about their visit, – but that isn’t the post that wanted to be written first. The post that wanted to be written first required a bit of processing.

A couple of days before Howie and Mary Jo arrived EW and I had a Hart-to-Hart and decided that we had to change our cruising plans significantly. We made one of those hard decisions that we know is right, but we had a bit of difficulty in coming to terms with it, and perhaps I needed to feel sorry for us a bit. But only a little – because really, not only is ours a “first world problem” it’s not even a traumatic “first world problem”.  Instead of sailing across the Atlantic to embark on a 14-16 month adventure, we will stay here in St. Thomas to work for a year, build up the cruising kitty, fully prepare the boat, and begin our voyage a year later than planned. Trust me, this isn’t a hardship. It’s just not what we really wanted to do right now. Poor us.

Not.

When we left Maine, one of my dear relatives said, “You know, Barb, by the time you come home, some of us will have died, and that’s OK.”  At the time, I found her statement to be more than a bit macabre, and not at all a comfort. But she was right. In these last few months, we’ve lost a young cousin, a fellow Maine sailor, a Caribbean cruiser, and the son of dear friends. Frankly, it’s not “all right”. All of them were too young, all had much left to give, and all are dearly missed. This is true loss. This is why we have nothing to complain about. This reminds us of why we are so stubbornly persuing our dreams -- none of us know how long we'll have to fully embrace and enjoy life, and EW and and I decided to take all the joy we can for as long as we can. Unfortunately, for us that means we weren't able to mourn any of those loved ones alongside their friends and families and that’s not “all right” either. But it is what we accepted when we set out on this cruising life. 

So, while I started a post about Howie’s and Mary Jo’s visit, I haven’t yet finished it because I needed just a little time to see how our new life on a mooring for a year in St. Thomas would feel. And I needed just a little time to know what – if anything – to say about loss and sadness and guilt.

I’ve said it before: this is a selfish lifestyle. And it’s particularly selfish for the majority of cruisers like us who have a rather strict cruising budget. We miss births, funerals, graduations and weddings. We are those talked about at family reunions, but not those who brought a pot of Maine baked beans or a batch of brownies – and really, they probably don’t spend more than a few minutes talking about us. We don’t mail Christmas cards, or birthday cards, and we aren’t there to hug a friend who’s down. And you know what? That is our  loss – not theirs. It’s the price we pay.

I had told EW that I was going to Maine for a week before we set sail across the Atlantic. We haven’t been back to Maine in over two and a half years, and I wasn’t setting out on cross ocean sail without a visit. Even though our cruising plans have changed, I’m still flying back to Maine in May. I need a few hugs. I need to reassure my family that I love them and feel saddened by their loss. I need to see my sister. I need to do this for me.

In the meantime, I’m going to find a job for the year, and publish a whole bunch of posts, and keep submitting articles to magazines, and start to exercise again, and … well get a few things done. And then, I’ll tell you what it’s like to live on a boat in St. Thomas during hurricane season. Oh yeah, that’s going to go over big back home.

Not.

But it’s a decision we're comfortable with. As EW says, “We’ve made the decision and we’ll make it right.”  We are hoping for an easy huricane season and a low opportunity cost as a result.Tune in for more timely postings about this new adventure. In case you couldn’t tell, we do love this lifestyle and have no regrets – except for not posting for the past three weeks. Evidently that’s a bad thing. My apologies. It won’t happen again.

So, by way of apology – here are some photos from our winter in St. Thomas. Enjoy!

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Jonathan Edwards came for a one-night only performance in St. Thomas. We purchased tickets immediately and were not disappointed.

 

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Of course, EW never disappoints me. Here he is playing at a jam at Joe’s Beach Bar.

 

 

 

 

We’ll move to our mooring in only a few days. Here’s where we’ve spent most of the winter – anchored off Honeymoon Beach on Water Island.

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 Earlier in the season, we were very surprised to find this ship at the dock.

Does that bow sprit look familiar? The rest of her looked like h.e. doduble hockey sticks. We think she went to Puerto Rico for work. Lots of work.

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The Three Amigos – EW, Ross from s/v One White Tree and Peter from s/v Two Much Fun.

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Above right – a frequent view from the deck.

 

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One of the many iguanas who live in the rocks near the Crown Bay Cruise Ship Dock. I assure you, he/she is very comfortable having his/her photo taken. These are a main attraction with the cruise ship passengers.