Six months ago today we left Olympia, bound for Hope Island and the world beyond. A mere half-year later we are not the same people who left that day. Voyages, even short ones, change you forever.
We have grown and evolved in so many ways and recognize those things we still need to work on too. Obviously, we have become better sailors having come all this way. We’ve learned to live together, gratefully, in these close quarters day after day and come to enjoy it. Most days. We’ve learned to make friends quickly as you never know how much time you’ll have together. We’re learning to live in the Now as we know that before we realize it we’ll be looking at the past longingly with the tough moments nearly forgotten with time. Some days are better than others of course and our patience, compassion, and calm – while better than ever – sometimes fails. But we always get another chance to do better.
When we arrived in Banderas Bay a month ago we thoroughly enjoyed just being still for awhile. It didn’t take long, however before we started asking ourselves what we really want out of our time in Mexico. What next? This being our second trip here together via sailboat we’re finding ourselves drawn to the new, to places we didn’t make it to our last time down.
We’re also finding that, despite our vision for so many years, just playing on the warm beach, shooting the breeze with other cruisers and drinking cervezas isn’t quite enough. While we have absolutely loved enjoying the wonderful culture, food and people of Mexico, we have found ourselves craving something more, something more challenging and entirely new. Before leaving Washington we told a few people that our ultimate goal is to make it to New Zealand where we hope to work for a few years. Gradually, what was once a dream of sailing the South Pacific had become a goal and now, our plan for 2012.
Today, on our half-year cruising anniversary we finally left Banderas Bay and the delightfully friendly town of La Cruz and headed north to the lovely port of Chacala. While it is beautiful here with a brown sugar beach and towering palm trees, it’s also the week between Christmas and New Years and the shoreline is absolutely thronging with tourists. Since the northerlies aren’t expected to pick up again until next week, we’ll head north again tomorrow, bound for Isla Isabel (think “mini-Galapagos”), one of our favorite places of all time. The only tourists there should be us.
Since we only have another three months or so in Mexico we have thought long and hard about how to make the most of our time here. Being kind of in the middle of the country, we really only have two options: sail south to the beaches and wonderfully lazy seaside villas of Chamela, Tenacatita, Barra de Navidad. Or, sail north into the Sea of Cortez where the heart-achingly beautiful desert sea has always been calling us back. But it’s winter up there, and cold, and windy. And deserted this time of year except for the whales.