Where To Next?

It’s been a rather long time since I’ve written a post in this blog. Life has been extremely busy and higher priority activities have gotten in the way of leisure. But spring is here and it’s time to start thinking about our next sailing trip.

We don’t get to visit Dream SeQueL nearly as much as we’d like. The distance to Florida makes visits expensive (airfare, rental car, dog-sitter — we run Sheltie Rescue of Utah and typically have a dozen or more rescued Shelties for whom we’re responsible) and time-consuming (most of a full day traveling in each direction). We’ve only owned our boat for just under five years, and we try to get down to her about four times a year. So far in 2010, I’ve been there for one week (in February) and things don’t look very promising for another trip before mid-June…too many business trips and other commitments.

If we manage a trip in June, we’ll probably stay no more than a couple of weeks. Of that, the first two or three days will be taken up by “waking up” the boat, buying food, and the like. I’ve got a long list of projects (don’t we all!) that are partly done or urgently needed, but I don’t want to spend my entire trip working all of the time. The whole point is to sail! But a couple of weeks isn’t really enough to go much of any place. And there we get into my dilemma…

I’m not much of a day-sailor. Some people just like to sail and going out for a day sail is as much fun as doing anything else with their boats. I envy them, but I’m just not like that. I need a goal to get me motivated to do much of anything. Sailing somewhere is important to me. It’s not that I have to get somewhere; sailing there is the important bit. For example, Barbara and I have tried three times to get to the Dry Tortugas; each time, we’ve gotten closer, but weather or other issues have prevented us from getting there. Yeah, I’d like to get there some day, but it’s not being there that’s important to me…it’s the getting there, the sailing with the purpose of getting there, that I need.

Considering the need to respect the weather and sea conditions, the time needed to awaken the boat and put her back to sleep at the end of a trip, and the distance involved (a couple of hundred miles in each direction), two weeks is cutting it kinda thin. I suspect that we won’t be trying for the Tortugas on a mid-June trip, then, so what might we do (besides work on the boat)?

I think it might be time to try some more local cruising. There’s plenty to explore, we’re told, between Tarpon Springs and Sarasota. Maybe we’ll just spend five days or a week gunkholing along that stretch of the Florida Gulf Coast. We can anchor out at some familiar spots (such as Three Rooker Bar and Eggmont Key), explore up the Manatee River a bit, or get inside Sarasota Bay and explore. It’s just that I some how feel … “silly” isn’t quite the right word … unfilfilled, perhaps … having a destination that I can reach by car in an hour or 90 minutes.

I guess I’m not quite the “cruiser” that I’d hoped I might be. I really don’t think I’d be happy spending my vacation cruising up and down the Intracoastal Waterway, seeing the same places over and over, mostly motoring, sometimes sailing. And it’s not that I can’t be satisfied unless I’m in some exotic land across an ocean where I could go so much more quickly by plane. But there’s something between the two extremes that I just can’t quite articulate. Is “destination-oriented cruising” a phrase that rings a bell with anybody?

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