STOP SIGNS, SPEED BUMPS, AND DETOURS
Sometimes I am tempted to put my life on hold.
You probably know what I mean.
I say things like, “My life isn’t much now, but when Covid 19 is over, I will finally start living my dreams.”
Unfortunately, Covid will probably be around a long time, and there is a chance that I won’t be.
Where I live on planet earth, the present moment is all I have, and if I flush the present moment down the toilet of discouragment, I will miss out on what could be the best days of my life.
When I transited the Panama Canal in Exit Only and headed out into the Pacific, the plan was to sail to New Zealand or Australia over the next nine months.
A few weeks after we arrived in Galapagos, Covid 19 exploded around the world, and the entire Pacific Ocean shut down. It made no sense to sail west across the Pacific because Australia and New Zealand were closed to yachts. If we continued on our voyage west, we would have ended up somewhere in the Pacific praying that Exit Only was not destroyed by a cyclone.
We had to decide whether Covid was a stop sign, a speed bump or a detour.
For our last 40 days in Galapagos, Covid was a stop sign. We didn’t know anything about coronavirus, how serious the infection was, and whether it would spread around the world. We did know that bodies we stacking up like chord wood in some countries around the world.
Sometimes, stop signs are good. They give you a chance to survey the carnage and to come up with a rational plan as to the best way to proceed safely in the face of adversity.
Some boats set sail west into the teeth of the pandemic and into the jaws of cyclone season. We felt they were sailing into Nowhere Land since the Pacific Islands were all closed. I admired their courage, but I doubted their judgment. Some of them made it as far as Fiji where they had to weather a Category 4 cyclone.
Exit Only spent 40 days in front of the stop sign in Galapagos, but eventually the South Pacific Cyclone season forced our hand. We had to either sail back to Panama to weather the pandemic, or detour north for 2100 miles to the Sea of Cortez.
The coconut telegraph indicated that Mexico and the Sea of Cortez were still open to cruisers.
Mexico was open when we weighed anchor at Academy Bay, and we hoped Mexico would still be open when we arrived in La Paz 3 weeks later after a 2100 mile sail. There was a risk that Mexico would not permit us to land in Baja California, but it was a risk we had to take.
Sailing north to Mexico was not the adventure we wanted, but it was the detour we needed. We spent a week fighting thunderstorms in the doldrums without Exit Only getting struck by lightning. Much to our delight, our detour turned out to be an excellent 21 day adventure.
Once we arrived in La Paz we hired an outstanding agent to handle the voluminous paperwork associated with entering a new country. It was money well spent, and whether we needed it or not, we received a ten year temporary import permit. We actually had permission to cruise the Sea of Cortez for the next ten years.
So far, so good.
But then came the speed bumps.
While it’s true we had permission to be in Mexico, the pandemic limited our movements. We were not allowed to visit Islands that were national parks because they were closed by Covid 19. That truncated the number of destinations available, but it did not stop us in our tracks. We simply had to plan our jumps over the Covid speed bumps.
It was nearly 500 miles north to Puerto Penasco at the head of the Sea of Cortez, and there were plenty of destinations to stop along the way. We simply had to pick our islands with care and respect the restrictions placed by health authorities.
Speed bumping the Sea of Cortez was a pleasant surprise. Sea turtles, whales, and dolphins accompanied us on our daily adventures. We even got to swim with whale sharks - the largest sharks in the world.
The scenery was spectacular, the water was warm and clear, the mahi mahi were delicious, and the anchorages were secure with good holding.
The Sea of Cortez is the best detour I have ever taken.
Real Ocean Cruisers are experts at turning bad things into better things.
The present moment is all we have, and it’s important to make the best of difficult situations.
It may turn out that your stop signs, speed bumps and detours are some of the best days of your life.
Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.
Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.
If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.
Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.
Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.
Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.
After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.
Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.