Saturday, July 26, 2014

The adventure is over...Back to reality

Dana gives Eventyr a well-deserved final hug
It's been quite a ride for Dana and me since we left our slip at the Philadelphia Marine Center in mid October 2013. Our grand plan of sailing back into our marina after circumnavigating the entire Caribbean within a year was not to be. However, we made it to within a few miles of South America, which I think is pretty good. We accomplished more than many people thought was possible. We even doubted ourselves at times. But here we sit, at Dana's father's villa in Costa Rica mere days before flying back to Philadelphia.

Our last week in Grenada was bittersweet. We did as many Caribbean Island specific activities as we could manage and said goodbye to all our cruiser friends. We spent our final night at the Tiki Bar in Prickly Bay toasting with Coral of Cowes' Richard and Katie. We promised we'd be back to the Caribbean at some point, though probably not anytime soon.

Yet another beach bar…sigh
Hog Island anchorage in Grenada
Our final day on Eventyr, we took all our possessions from our home and did our last sail a couple bays across Grenada's south coast to St. David's Bay. We took our time to savor every moment during that final time on the water. We even tried to enjoy the rough sea state and occasional salt water spray splashing in our faces. We picked up a mooring once in the bay and had one last dive and swim off the boat. Eventyr was then hauled out of the water, her bottom scrubbed, and placed in a back corner of a dirt lot amongst countless other boats. There she'll sit until someone buys her or the hurricane season ends and we have her moved to another location to sell. Either way, we'll likely never see her again.

Trying to enjoy our final sail
One final dive 
One final float
Out of the water for the first time in over a year
Little Eventyr hidden away in the back
What exactly did we accomplish on Eventyr during our adventure? Here's a run down by the numbers:

Total nautical miles travelled under Eventyr's keel since Philadelphia:                                        
Total number of islands visited:                                                                                                    
Total number of Countries visited (excluding Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands):                    
Total number of currencies used aside from the US Dollar:                                                        
Total number of languages spoken aside from English (and local creole dialects):                      

Our route
My passport
The adventure was far more than a checklist of accomplishments. We realize how privileged we are to have such an experience, especially at our relatively young age. We tried our best not to take any of it fore granted. We were mindful to savor and be fully present to the best of our abilities. We were open to new experiences everywhere we went. We met wonderful people, both locals and other cruisers/travelers. We ate unfamiliar and delicious foods and drinks. We learned new games and practiced speaking other languages. We had close encounters with numerous aquatic and terrestrial animals. We became accustomed to living with less and treasuring the few things we had. We became more resourceful, fixing problems as they arose. We became better sailors. We learned to value and trust each other and our relationship in a way we never had before.

We learned a few surprising things about ourselves as well. We realized that living on a beautiful, secluded island is not for us. We need social interaction. Within one day of being away from other people, we were excited to be back at a beach bar or visiting with another cruiser in his or her cockpit. We especially missed our friends and family from home. It was a real treat having Hanna and Chris, Shanley and Patrick, Jon, Otis, and Beth, the whole Old City Philadelphia crew, Rebecca and Jarred, and my mom aboard Eventyr. We also realized that we value our careers. We felt somewhat adrift, at times, without the meaning and purpose provided by our jobs. I guess we didn't spend years in school studying psychology just to retire at the drop of a hat. We also realized how lucky we are to have employers who allowed us to take this time to pursue our dreams and come back to the positions we love.

Last week, we mailed five boxes of our belongings back to Philadelphia. We loaded the remainder of our things into checked luggage. I readied my surfboard bag with Dad's board for travel. We boarded a plane and flew to Costa Rica, where we originally hoped to sail. We're at a reunion, of sorts. Dana's brother, Jason, and two cousins, Kelsey and April are all here with us visiting Dana's dad Brent, his wife Victoria, and son Carlos. This vacation has been the perfect transition from boat life back to real life. We've sat by Brent's pool, relaxing. We visited the rainforest, where we hiked to waterfalls, held toucans, snakes, and butterflies, hand-fed hummingbirds, fished for rainbow trout in a stocked pond, and watched monkeys and jaguars in their enclosures. We went to Guiones beach on the Pacific Ocean, where we surfed and chilled on the beach. It's been so much fun, giving Dana and I a chance to put everything in perspective.

Kelsey, Carlos, Jason, April, me, Dana, Victoria, and Brent at La Paz waterfalls
Jason, Kelsey, April and me heading out
Me on an epic Costa Rican wave!
This is my final post for now. Many people recently asked us questions like, "what was your favorite island?" or "what's your greatest memory from the adventure?" We've had a hard time answering them. I think only time will tell. It's not until you've really had some distance from an experience that you truly grasp its significance. I think I have to wait a few months or so before I write again about what the adventure meant to us. Besides, we have a ton of amazing pictures I didn't have space to post already. Until then, I'd like to encourage everyone to pursue whatever big hairy audacious goal they have in life. Although adventures don't always turn out as expected, they will inevitably change you.


  1. Congratulations on living your dream. Welcome back, Kai and Dana!
    Lynn & Bob

    1. Thanks! Can't wait to see you guys stateside!!!

    2. Congratulations Dana and Kai on pursuing your BHAG(big hairy audacious goal) - welcome back!
      Thank you for sharing your blog which was an enjoyable read.....Best, Christina Birrer

    3. Thanks Christina! The BHAG may be over, but now we're excited to meet Emilia and start this next chapter of our lives.

  2. Dana and Kai,
    Happy/Sad for you.

    We are so pleased that we crossed paths with you on your big adventure. You guys certainly aren’t afraid of undertaking some major passages… most of them to windward. Can you imagine how easy it would be to do the trip the other way? Maybe……..???

    Best wishes on your transition from water to dirt… from wasting time to work…

    Good luck on your ongoing Big Adventure.

    Glen and Pam - Blue Pearl

    1. Glen and Pam,

      So glad to hear from you! I think sailing the other direction up through the Caribbean would be MUCH more comfortable than what we did. Maybe some day. For now it's back to the daily grind on dirt instead of wasting time on the water. Best of luck to you as well. Enjoy your next season on the water!

  3. I've enjoyed reading your blog and following along as you sailed south. Good luck moving back to Philly and getting readjusted! Maybe a little sailboat to tool around the Delaware is in your future?

  4. Thanks for following Kristen! I checked out your blog and you've had quite the adventures yourself! Eventually we'll get a little sailboat for daysails down the Delaware, but have to rebuild the cruising kitty first :-)