We stretched out the 120-mile trip from Cabo to La Paz, spending the last 11 days in five different anchorages just inside the Sea of Cortez.
We hiked the ridges of cliffs for views like this:
We paused to watch a full moon rise:
And we marveled at the striking geology surrounding us:
(Notice: John is now so relaxed and fancy free that he leaves his top button open. And that hair? It hasn’t been this long in years.)
Each destination was only a short day sail away. So once we set the anchor, we had hours and days of unstructured time. For us, this marks a new phase of cruising and a new adjustment: lots of time, no Internet, disconnected from society, but still needing to stay stimulated to maintain our sense of identity and self-worth.
Beth Leonard describes my emotions perfectly in The Voyager’s Handbook:
During our years in business, we had come to treat time as a precious commodity, something to be “managed” and never “wasted”. Yet as voyagers, we have come to understand that [having time is when] you come face to face with yourself. And we have realized that what we choose to do when we have all the time in the world says far more about us than what we must do to earn a living.
Necessary tasks, either for safety or sustenance, always take a portion of our day. For example, preparing three meals a day (no pizza delivery out here!), making water, safely anchoring, and keeping the boat ready to go if the weather changes.
And that’s one of the things we’ve really enjoyed about cruising so far—being responsible for all the work needed to take care of ourselves. I believe our Midwestern upbringing has played a big part in this. Self-reliance and the reward of a hard day’s work are core values where we come from.
But as we gain more experience, these basics are becoming less time-consuming. So back to the question: How are we going to spend all this free time?
Well, we don’t have all the answers yet, duh! Guys, all this self-reflection takes time! Plus, we sometimes try and listen to the tiny parts of us that are actually carefree and fun.
Here are some of the ways we spent our time while we were out:
- I read Lin Pardey’s Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew and finally made a detailed, organized list of the ship’s stores. Our next few stops will have the big stores we need, so I want to feel super prepared and well-provisioned as we venture south to more remote places in Mexico and Central America. See self-reliance above.
- I finally read All the Light We Cannot See. Reading (my favorite books are WWII novels and I try to keep up with The New Yorker each week) is always going to be a major part of this lifestyle for me, and I need to accept that it’s a perfectly good use of time, not wasted at all.
- We continued researching and planning our route south for the next few months.
- John has been spending time on a pretty amazing writing project, and he’s almost ready to share it!
And here are a few things we are excited about pursuing in the near future:
- Fishing. We like to say we’re the only cruisers in Mexico who don’t fish—and it might actually be true! With our accelerated timeline of outfitting a new boat, moving aboard, and sailing away, we never quite made time for fishing. Now we’re ready, and getting equipped is our top priority for our time in La Paz.
- Digging deeper into the places we plan to go, so we can enjoy our time and not miss any thing or any place we’re excited about.
- Learning Spanish. More than a few words, that is.
- This blog. We both have really loved the process not just of writing, but working together as a writer-editor team.
That list will grow over time, but for now, we’re safely in La Paz for the next week with a pretty hearty to-do list. And that’s what keeps our time at anchor in balance: the conveniences, stimulation, and productivity of urban life. When we’re busy in port, it’s easy to forget the quiet days we just left behind. But then it’s time to go again—to prepare the boat and sail away to a restful lifestyle that we’re still learning to enjoy.