When we say we are planning to “sail around the world,” people usually ask, “Where first?”
Well, truthfully, we may not exactly “sail around the world,” at least not linearly, and we don’t yet know where first! We hope to catch the 21st “Baja Ha-Ha” flotilla from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, starting in late October, 2014. From there, who knows? We’d like to hang around Mexico for a while, getting used to the cruising lifestyle and just wallowing in our new-found freedom. Cindy is fluent in Spanish and once lived in Mexico for four years, so cruising there will be more familiar than some of the other places we’ll visit. It should therefore ease the transition as we begin. After that, well, it is a matter of either turning left or right! As of this moment, we’re both leaning towards heading down through the Panama Canal, spending some time in the Carribean, then heading north along the East Coast of the U.S. and east over to Spain, and around the coast of Spain into the Mediterranean for a good long spell. That trip alone could take years, with intermittent visits back home for a few months here and there. But after that, we’d probably have to sail back the U.S. rather than continuing around the world from there, as the prevailing winds in warmer climates don’t really work to circumnavigate by heading east.
If we were to circumnavigate in one fell swoop, it would be better to head west when we left Mexico, aiming for the South Pacific, thus taking advantage of the trade winds. That is a common route after Mexico. And who could argue with hanging out in the South Pacific for an indefinite period? However, to literally circumnavigate, we would eventually have to pass through the Gulf of Aden on our approach to the Suez Canal, where Somalian pirates are having a hay day. Private yachts have simply ruled out that route these days, opting instead for sailing all the way around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa – not really of interest to us.
Honestly, I love sailing, but I want to do this trip just as much to see the world as to sail. I want to be able to put the boat on the hard and go inland for long periods of time and get to know the countries we pass by, and not just from their shores. And we are taking our own sailboat to do it so that we aren’t locked into cruise-ships’ schedules or way points.
So we are likely to end up wherever we decide to go once we are out there, and we’d like to stay as long as we care to, everywhere we go! The real constraints, assuming we and Cool Change are fully equipped for the journey and we all hold together throughout, are sailing as often as possible with the wind aft of beam, avoiding hurricane and typhoon seasons, negotiating visas and paperwork at each new country, and avoiding political unrest that could jeopardize our safety. Otherwise, the world is the limit!