The number of years gone by since we launched seems unbelievable. Time just flowed.
January 2017 brought our 6000 Day Boataversary.
We splashed, got underway, and never yearned for land. We had an agenda of no plan. That's not quite true. The so called no-plan was to flow with the seasons. Northward when it's warm, southbound when it's cold. Simple. No fixed home port destination.
During those early days, Dave started the development of OpenCPN because he wasn't satisfied with the commercial alternatives available. Of course the public wasn't even aware of it then. For years, OpenCPN was just our own personal chart plotter aboard Dyad. It got us to wherever we were headed.
We began sharing the program here and there, which planted the idea to put it out publicly for anyone to download as open source. This is not intended to be a shameless plug for OpenCPN. It's an important piece of our daily life; through it's use and with ongoing development.
Anyplace, Canada has provided the most lovely cruising grounds in summer, especially New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland, and our personal favorite, Nova Scotia. One year we even ventured out the St Lawrence, through Quebec, back into the Atlantic. We did the Great Loop twice (and side-tripped into Lake Superior), which brought us to Ontario those summers.
By the way, the Great Loop can easily be done in one season. Head up the Hudson River in early May. No need for speed. Just keep moseying along and you'll find yourself in the Gulf of Mexico in November. Continue to on to the Bahamas for the duration of the winter.
We've enjoyed cruising the southern Bahamas in winter and stopping in favorite places between north and south zones. But to be honest, there are a few places we've permanently written off. The average travel is between 5,500-6,000 nautical miles annually.
Ours is a quiet home centered life, and we like it that way. We've spent every night onboard except three, which was for an extended road trip in 2004. We prefer to anchor out 99% of the time.
Evening hours are for computer time. The rest of the 24 are used for boat projects, chores, and personal interests. Some days are spent underway, others spent on shore. Toss in the sleeping hours and that covers it. Boredom is non-existent.
The positive highlights are the most valued and don't happen every day. These include spending time with friends, beach gatherings, impromptu potlucks/dinners, dinghy excursions, sing-alongs with friends, holiday gatherings, exploring towns or nature, discovering museums and historical places, finding local libraries, DPS, and snorkeling.
Our Third Crew Member
June 1 2001 - May 21 2018 (10 days short of his 17th birthday)
After completing our first year cruising, Dano (aka Captain Good Boy) came on board as an 8 week old pup. He was incredibly trusting and never had an inkling of what a great life was in store for him.
He was involved in every aspect of life. Some of his favorite things were beach-found tennis balls, dinghy rides, bath time/towel game, catch, group hugs, snacks, and watching the world through the scuppers. He was helpful with setting the bridle, launching the dinghy, and supervising in the galley. He exceled in happiness and joy.
His body was winding down during his last year of life. Though he found it harder to move, and maintain body mass, he never lost his enthusiasm. We will miss him forever.
Not Every Day is Sunshine and Roses
The most trying events on the nasty side of the coin are emergency repairs while underway, hunkering from hurricanes at anchor, close lightning strikes, having a 65' shrimp boat drag down on us at O'dark thirty, unpredicted washing machine conditions offshore, being cleared out of the harbor with other anchored boats during 9/11, and the day we spent hours idling back and forth waiting for the wind to subside to below 50 knots so we could reset the hook... that was a real bad day. Evacuation sirens were activated on shore.
There have been countless positives and negatives, but that's just life, isn't it? Thankfully, the crap events represent only a micro percentage of the total, and for the most part, they're of short duration.
Will there be another thousand days aboard in our future?
Who knows. The fortune teller retired, so we'll have to figure it out as we go. If at some point land beckons, we'll heed the call.
Begin and end each day with a hug.
Pull together and stick together as a team when things get tough.
Take satisfaction with boat projects successfully completed.
Set aside time for your individual hobbies and interests.
Life goes on without television.
Friendship is priceless.
see also About the Boat