I’ve been busy making many preparations before we leave the U.S. Mainland. There is so much to do! It is fun and exciting to work on so many new things as our day approaches. I took a full inventory of things that I wanted to accomplish for myself and our family. A few months it seemed so daunting but as we’ve been working through so many issues, it is getting easier. These are a few of the items still on my list:
1. Re-certify for PADI Open water diver certification. We plan to dive while we are out and scuba is such a good talent to have on a boat or an island. I will be spending next week getting all or my work done for my re-certification. I will add my advanced open water diver certification in February and purchase my own dive gear and air compressor for the boat. I plan to take the rescue diver course before leaving Texas and add several specialties. I definitely want to get my wreck diver certification and get some good training in Florida while we are there.
2. I have always wanted to draw and paint. I signed us up for private lessons with a classical teacher here in Austin. We start next week and will train through May. I am told that we should both have plenty of skill, with practice, to do great art work. We will have so many beautiful scenes to paint on our journey. I think this will be a life-long pursuit for us both.
3. I will be taking the required courses for my Coast Guard Master’s (Captain) license in the spring. It seems like a prudent thing to do and will get us a 15% discount on our boat insurance.
4. We are putting our gym membership to use more frequently. Health is so important and it makes sense to be in the best possible shape before taking a long voyage. Once away, we plan to swim a lot and walk around miles of beaches.
5. I have always wanted to play the guitar and started lessons a couple years ago. I am going to take this hobby back up soon so I can play some notes. I am grateful to have a wife who has such a wonderful voice and I dream of sitting on the boat in the evenings hearing her songs.
6. Assemble a medical bag for the boat. Aubrey is helping with this task and it is a big one. It is important for any cruiser to have a well stocked medical kit designed for the most realistic uses while underway.
7. We are both learning more about the systems of our boat especially the mechanical, water and electrical. I decided not to pay people to do my upgrades or renovations, rather hire a man to help me with some of the things I don’t understand, so we could learn as we go. I think we will both take a small engine course or two before departing. We have to replace the canvas on our boat and this is not anything I plan to undertake! It is amazing how expensive it is to replace canvas, but it will be a very good purchase. We are very fortunate that the mechanical systems on the boat are in fantastic condition and have little use.
8. Reading up on everything. I have purchased or read about a dozen books in the last month written on various topics. We are both increasing our knowledge on many things of interest.
9. Selling what we don’t need. This is a big one! We have so much we aren’t going to take or ship to the island, therefore, we don’t need these things. We are fully in the swing of things now and it isn’t hard to part with things we don’t plan to keep forever. I have been putting off selling a couple of larger items because I have to fix them first.
10. Keep up with my college studies. I am way ahead in credits and studies and I plan to take a few courses in advance so i can take some time off once I get wet feet and busy with the new life on the boat. I will continue to study aboard and transition to full online courses. I am very fortunate that my school allows me to learn in this manner and made it possible for me to get a degree while underway.
11. I want to become an ace with a metal detector. I’ve always wanted to find shiny things underground. I have a good detector that my son will likely use on dry land and I am purchasing a good underwater model that can also be used on land. I love the fact that staying on tropical islands is what you make it. I could spend days doing nothing more than keeping myself busy.
12. Stocking up on fishing tackle and learning deep sea fishing. I’ve fished all of my life but nothing much in the sea. Luckily, fish are delicious and where there is a will there is a way! I’ve got a lot of necessary gear that I need to pick up so that we can eat well aboard the boat.
The list goes on and on. I decided to take a picture of a few of the things that were on my desk to illustrate the chaos that exists there. Despite the clutter, it is all organized in my mind!
We have gotten so many great comments and emails from people who have taken similar journeys. As usual, I would love to hear from anyone with tips for our trip!