Most of the dangers that go along with long distance sailing trips are pretty easy to understand. You wanna keep a close eye on the weather, particularly the wind, watch out for other boats, and master the art of keeping your ship off the shore. Some decades ago these were all significant tasks requiring careful study and lots of practice, but those days are no longer. Today if you’re good with electronic gadgets and exercise reasonable caution and diligence, you’ll likely avoid the hazards of the sea.
But there’s another kind of danger that lurks in the background as you spend more time wandering around and adjust to life aboard a tiny bobbing wind-powered mobile home that dutifully transports you to a new exotic location every day. You start wondering if it’s possible to ever go back to a normal sedentary life on land. Would you ever want to go back, and why? Could you if you had to? If you did, could you be happy? These things become less clear, and when we look around at the hard core yachties cruising these waters it seems a quite common answer to all these questions is “no”.
We’re now in the Exuma islands in the middle of the Bahamas, a seemingly endless string of hundreds of tropical islands, and probably a natural place to ask philosophical questions like the ones we’re asking ourselves now. Each day brings some new extraordinary experience that has no land-based equal. On Monday we were swimming with dolphins in a perfect turquoise bay, on Tuesday we hiked across a deserted movie-like white sand island, yesterday we discovered a private grotto teaming with tropical fish, today we zig-zagged Tamarisk through a narrow maze of tiny islands. Day after day here brings something new and incredible – why the place isn’t overflowing with charter boats we don’t quite understand, but certainly the solitude here is part of the magic.
We hope we’ll find something better than this further on in our voyage, but how the Bahamas can possibly be beat remains a mystery for now. More importantly though, it has us wondering whether we’re falling through a trap door with no return ticket to a “normal” life. Is that the real danger of setting off on a journey like this? We’re not sure, but we are sure that we’re happy to take our chances for now and figure the rest of it out later.