One of the insights I have learned during our cruising life is that I apparently need some sense of being in control. Those of you who know me are probably rolling your eyes, saying, “duh…” Still, that urge to know what is going to happen next created more anxious moments than I care to remember. But, make no mistake, I was still compelled to follow my/our dreams. Sitting on the shore, pondering the possibilities, was not something I could settle for.
Michael and I, fortunately, have different personalities. If I can dream it, he can make it happen. His response to my anxious moments has always been, “Either it will happen, or it won’t.” His ability to react to a moment of crisis is far better than mine. I plan; he executes. So, how have I dealt with this control/anxiety issue?
I have always kept a consistent log when we are cruising; sitting at a dock, not so much unless something noteable is happening. I also keep a Weather notebook, writing down 1-2 times a day the NOAA forecast. I am the Navigator, keeping track of where we are via GPS, our trail on electronic charts as well as noting our position on paper charts. Redundant, some may say; but just a little insurance against the unexpected. We both earned our ham license during our 3rd winter in the Bahamas so that we could download NOAA forecasts and send/receive email no matter where we were. I learned how to read all those lines on a weather map, a great asset while planning a Gulf Stream crossing or a passage across the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Huron or Lake Michigan.
I have to mention that a great part of our preparation was belonging to the United States Power and Sail Squadron, now America’s Boating Club. 15 years and 12 classes taken, ranging from seamanship to celestial navigation. Without that backgrund, plus a few years of chartering, we would not have been ready to cast our lines off for parts unknown.