Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year, New Adventure

December 8 – January 6
North Palm Beach, FL and Prior Lake, MN

Happy New Year! We hope 2015 will provide you with just as much adventure as you want to handle!

Before we flew home for Christmas, the weather conditions were absolutely ideal for a crossing to the Bahamas. Flat calm all the way across the Gulf Stream, a rare occurrence in the winter months. The crossing didn’t demand an extra dose of courage or a huge sense of adventure, but that’s a huge bonus. We watched caravans of boats leave, and part of us wanted to go with them. Sunny days and warm beaches were calling.

With Sean and Maggie at home
With our great nephews Alex and Christopher
Instead, we headed to the frozen northland because, contrary to the slogan, it isn’t always “better in the Bahamas.” The warmth of being with the people we love for Christmas was a far better option. It did our hearts good to spend time with our families, especially Sean and Maggie on their first Christmas together. We loved getting together with family and a few friends, collecting hugs, catching up on how everyone was doing. The day after Christmas, we had a blast skating on Prior Lake with Maggie and Sean. With his hockey background, Sean skated circles around all of us, but Maggie acquitted herself well using hockey skates for the first time. At least for that one day, skating on the glassy ice was better than snorkeling in turquoise waters.
Striking a classic pose
Then temperatures plummeted below zero, and we were happy to get on a plane and return to Pelican on New Year’s Eve. Now we’re anticipating the next steps of our adventure this winter. People ask where we’re going. To the same place? The Bahamas again? Well, yes and no. Of the 700 islands in the Bahamas, we’ve visited a fraction so far. We’ll stop at some of our favorite (irresistible) places but hope to also expand our horizons to find new favorites.

The three most important words in traveling by boat are weather, weather, weather. Crossing the Gulf Stream requires favorable conditions. Wind from the north churns up nasty waves in the north-flowing current. So Keith has been diligent in scouring multiple weather forecasting resources. The opportunities are brief right now, and tomorrow (Tuesday) appears to offer the most benign crossing conditions. By late Wednesday, howling winds will push into the area and there’s no telling when the next chance will come.

Ready to roll!
We’re as ready as we can be. We’ve done everything we can to prepare—hours and hours of research and work on the boat; dozens of trips to the grocery store, Sam’s Club, West Marine. We’ve added safety upgrades. Keith even got a new toy for his birthday from his wife: a DeLorme InReach Explorer. When turned on, this handheld device will communicate through the Iridium satellite network and track our location on a map in 10-minute intervals. For those who like this sort of thing, here is a link to the map: (Until we start moving tomorrow, all it will show is a sample track from Minnesota. I’ll include the link in future emails.)

Even with our preparedness and excitement about making the big jump, there are still butterflies. It will take almost 24 hours to reach our destination and it’s impossible to know exactly what the wind and seas will be like. So if we find ourselves out there in the middle of the night bobbing like a cork in a huge ocean, I’ll have these words ready to calm my own sea state.
God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. 
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, 
courageous in seastorm and earthquake, 
Before the rush and roar of oceans…
GOD of angel armies protects us. 
Psalm 46:1-3 MSG
(Skimming quickly over that cliff-edge of doom part.)

A couple other photo highlights since the last post (can't wait to upload pictures of those beautiful Bahamian beaches):

Sunrise view from our slip at Old Port Cove

With Chris and Eden, Bob and Ilona, the gang from last year's trip reunited


  1. May God bless you on this crossing. I look forward to reading more updates and enjoying more photos of your fantastic journey.

    1. Thanks a lot, DD4! We hope for good adventures to share.