Sunday, 1 July 2012

Hanging tight

Rodeo is on the hard. Several things about that sentence make me feel wretched. We're leaving her behind for nearly four months while we travel back to Canada to work.  It will be an unwelcome separation, but very much a necessary one because our budget has run low and going back to Canada will give us a chance to save up for some long coveted upgrades. Nevertheless Rodeo has been a home to me for over a year and much longer to Gabe, and it is hard to imagine spending time away from her now. Time away from Rodeo will also be time off from our travels and this vagabond lifestyle we've come to love so much. It means adjusting back to life on land in the hustle and bustle of a city. It means being part of a stable society as opposed to our transient community of fun seeking cruisers. It means going from constant state of fluid motion to hard, solid ground. There are many benefits to going back ashore. One of the top ones is catching up with family and friends. Can't beat that. Another one is the change of pace. Going back to work will allow us to keep a routine, something that can be difficult to maintain while moving around from place to place. Being back in civilization also means I get to take bubble baths, something I've been without since the last visit to my parents' house last October.
For many reasons getting hauled out in Trinidad marks an end to a chapter of our lives. It is a destination many set out from North America to reach, but for various reasons never do. We made it and we feel a sense of accomplishment in doing so. It has been a great journey and an incredible learning experience, the sort of which we're not likely to relive. We want to continue to sail of course, but our first year cruising will always be our first. Filled with uncertainty, self doubt and fear we have made mistakes and learned from them. The lessons we've learned this first year will guide us through all the consecutive passages and we will certainly do a lot of things differently in the future. A lot of what we've been through is behind us. Also, depending on what we decide to do once we get back to the boat it may be the end of cruising in the Caribbean. If we chose to sail to Brazil directly from Trinidad it will be a short, but challenging passage with very few, if any, stops in between. This route is more difficult because of opposing currents and trade winds, but if done right could bring us to Brazil in a matter of weeks. If we chose to do the great loop, which would take us back through the Caribbean, across the Atlantic, down the west coast of Africa and back across the Atlantic again, it would be a longer but more comfortable sail with the trade winds. Regardless of our future plans we chose to bring the boat to Trinidad to keep her safe during the hurricane season and to get heaps of work done to her once we return. Leaving Rodeo here is like leaving a piece of ourselves behind. What's even more agonizing is that we had to leave Pickle with friends in Grenada for the time being. We contemplated bringing her back to Canada with us, but Trinidad's Department of Agriculture makes the process very difficult and we've been told that she may not be able to come back with us without going through a 3 month quarantine. We couldn't bear the thought of putting her through that. We miss her more than we every imagined possible. She has been part of our crew and a part of this experience, and not having her around has left a quiet, hairless void behind. Now that the decision to go back to work for a few months has brought us to Trinidad we await our arrival in Canada with mixed emotions. There is a great deal to look forward to, but a precious lot of things we'll miss while we're gone. 

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