After 20 days of fighting strong currents, gale force winds, sleep deprivation and cabin fever it was such a sweet victory when we finally sank our anchor into the volcanic island sand of Dominica. There were times along the way when we were regretting our decision to come this way at all; when the whole crew wanted to keep sailing south to an easier port of call where the winds would stay in our favor. Yet deep down there was something stronger tugging at our spirit to push onward and steer the course we set out on. So we tacked, we jibed, we smashed through wave after wave and storm after storm with the vision of this tantalizing place called Dominica at the finish line.
The open ocean. No entrance fees. No crowds. Sunrises so beautiful I forget to grab my camera. There isn’t another soul for hundreds of miles in any direction. It’s all for us. The last place on earth where we are truly free. She’s unforgiving, and she’s got a sick sense of humor. But in the difficult moments—storms, wind and waves—her greatest gift is given…humility.
While our time spent in Guatemala was unforgettable, it was time once again to weigh anchor, set sail and begin our long crossing of the Caribbean Sea. But before leaving the Western Carib, we had to stop in one of the biggest dive meccas in the world; Utila, Honduras. This time we would be joined by our Guatemalan keepsakes, the crew of Shirley. Roland, Oli, Irene, and a new friend Merav hopped aboard Cool Change to join us on the 3 day crossing, and maybe even make a little party.
Guatemala was never originally on the charts for our voyage but we were pulled in like sheep by a shepherd. The past 10 weeks in Guatemala, unexpectedly long as they were, gave us the opportunity to really discover more about the area and the people that live here.
This voyage has made me realize that it’s not about going out there to discover the meaning of life. It’s about collecting special moments that add up to measure one’s life. There are no ribbons or confetti, no big celebration at the end of each journey, simply a lingering smile, a faded photograph or a scar. The time to celebrate your life and the people you encounter is now. Here is the story of our trek to a remote Maya village, and returning with an ever growing compassion toward our fellow human.
The more we explore this region, the clearer it becomes. We have landed in this time and place for a greater purpose. The deeper we dig, the harder these experiences strike us, ultimately changing the way we look at the world. You can’t always change the situation, but you can infect it with your energy and begin the shift. We set out on this path in search of growth and experience…let’s just say we have already gotten more than we bargained for on this voyage up the Rio.
Thirty years ago Cool Change sailed her way up a mystical river in Guatemala called Rio Dulce. She and her crew fell in love with what they found and continued to explore for months. Fast forward from 1986 to the present day: she’s back! With new eyes and ready to rediscover this special place.
After three attempts at accessing this elusive natural wonder, we finally received the information we needed to make a safe passage through the surrounding reef. It took a lot of local knowledge and a bit of luck to take our deep drafted sailboat 6 miles into the atoll where The Great Blue Hole resides. Let the diving begin!
These past few weeks in Belize have been incredible! We made friends, we made memories, and we made discoveries within ourselves. Belize has opened our eyes to a world full of color, culture, and community. This land will forever hold a special place in our hearts, as it was the very first stop on the voyage we have embarked on.
The time has come! In the afternoon of December 31st 2015 we pushed off our little slip in Ft. Lauderdale, raised the sails, and pointed south toward Belize. We celebrated the New Year from the Atlantic.
Before we could feel comfortable sailing CC around the world, we needed to pull her out of the water and rub her belly a bit. After realizing how many hoops we would have to jump through to pull her out in Ft. Lauderdale, our good friend Peter suggested a small boat yard about 90 miles north in Ft. Pierce, Florida.
This journey has been many years in the making, but everything kicked into high gear last January when Brandon found our 44ft sailing vessel, Cool Change. She’s only had one owner, Gary, who sailed her around the world with his family in the late 80s & early 90s. Finding the right boat was just the beginning. The deeper we dug into CC, the more we found needed to be fixed, updated or replaced. Here is one of her sister ships looking pretty in a magazine ad back in 1984.