After a week in Key West we moved to Marathon to save money. Key West is very expensive and the marina we stayed at costs the same per week as the marina in Marathon does per month. We got to Marathon and docked uneventfully. The passage was a little rolly but tolerable and short at only 6 hours.
Once in Marathon, Leah and I were haunted by the question “What now?” It seemed that if we were done with this lifestyle we were at a logical end point geographically and schedule wise. Fort Lauderdale, boating Mecca, was only a two day trip away and was the perfect place to sell Viatori. Choosing to “swallow the anchor” now, wouldn’t be failure, we had done it – sold everything, bought a boat and sailed to foreign lands and came back thinner, darker, closer and with memories of experiences that rocked our world – both good ones and bad ones.
We also felt that we had finally reached a stage where as a family we were all comfortable on the boat, that we had finally completed the adaptation to boat living from land living. It seemed like weeks since we had heard from the kids “I hate this boat” or “stupid boat” or even the fun songs of “Beneteau pee-nine-pee” and “poop poop the dinghy.” It also seemed like the boating learning curve was starting to flatten out as we slowly worked through all of Viatori’s systems and understood her idiosyncrasies.
Leah and I batted “What now?!?” around for over two weeks in Marathon, flipping back and forth continuously. In that time, we visited Bob and Teresa from Spunky who are an inspiration because they seem so easily able keep a positive attitude and shrug off groundings, bad weather, rolly anchorages and equipment problems. They have decided to try head further south into the Caribbean next year and when I told Bob that we were batting around the idea of heading in the same direction next season he was immediately, almost exuberantly, excited for us. His excitement was infectious and definitely bolstered the “keep going” part of me. Spunky headed to Tampa the next day to get to Bob’s father’s 90-something-ith birthday but seeing them reminded us of the friends we had made while cruising and we felt that not seeing them again would be like drilling a hole in our hearts.
One other option we did toy with was a pit-stop to replenish the cash reserves by heading to Fort McMurray or Calgary to work for three years, but we felt this would both poison our time while we were there and living through leaving again might be too hard to do twice.
In the end we felt that we had just gotten into the cruising groove, that heading back to land now would likely mean a long wait until we would or could head out again and that we still had more stuff to do on this trip before we could say we had “finished” cruising.
So it was decided:
We are going to keep cruising and our goal is to get further than Conception Cay this time…