After over 2 weeks of a south wind Sundowner’s bow is finally now facing North. The Northerly front that we were waiting on to head south to Guatemala has arrived but yet we remain securely anchored in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Why? Did we hit the tequila a little too hard on our would be last night here? I wish our delay was because of a terrible hangover but even more unfortunate than that is the recent news of a serious illness afflicting one of our immediate family members and along with it an unforeseen surgery that is to happen in the coming days. After going over a lot of hypothetical situations we made the decision to stay put and await the results of the surgery, which could be life altering.

We reasoned that of all the places we could be Isla Mujeres is the about the easiest and cheapest to fly home if need be. The further south we go the more the plane tickets cost (by a lot) and the harder it is to get back home. If we sailed to Guatemala now not only would we be out sailing near the reefs around Belize with potentially bad news coming through on our Delorme, once we arrived to the Rio it would take a few days to first get down the river to the marina zone, second find a marina and secure a slip and third take the over 6 hour bus ride to the airport in Guatemala City possibly necessitating an overnight stay somewhere to catch an actual flight home.

The logistics of leaving Sundowner on the Rio, a place we’ve never been, if we had to quickly fly home just doesn’t seem wise. This also puts us way back on the Rio for an undetermined amount of time if the illness proceeds to get worse. We are approaching hurricane season and we aren’t altogether sold on the idea of hiding out on the Rio for the whole season. There are lots of other places we want to see further south and the fight against the easterly trade winds to get around the “horn” of Honduras becomes less and less appealing the closer to summer we get.

This whole situation has really made us step back and look at the bigger picture here. As people say time and countless time again one of the best things about cruising is that there is no schedule and it is best to not have any pressure when making travel decisions. This couldn’t be more true for us in the here and now. As much as we want to show you awesome video footage and possibly dolphins and other underwater creatures we have to halt and let life take it’s course. The ultimate priority today is to be close to our family in this time of need and hope for the best.

So what is the bigger sailing picture then? Since we are going to be here at least another 2-3 weeks and depending on the outcome of this surgery we have talked loosely about skipping Guatemala and the Honduras Bay islands of Utila and Roatan and instead sailing east to Grand Cayman, where it is completely free to anchor/moor for 30 days, before heading directly south straight to Providencia off the coast of Nicaragua.

Some eye candy motivation for Providencia. Not my photo.
Providencia island

From Providencia we could then sail to Panama where the San Blas Islands and the Kuna Indians are. I hope to take many photos like this one.
San Blas Islands

Having our plans change has allowed us to put the big sailing picture in perspective. The REALLY BIG picture.

  1. #1 on our list is to be in Panama and gearing up to cross through the Canal in January 2016. We are planning to cross the Pacific in March 2016 and want enough time to properly prepare the boat and ourselves.
  2. #2 is the San Blas Islands roughly 80 miles to the east of Colon, Panama. This place is so perfectly picturesque with white sandy beaches and warm clear water with lots of fish. We’d like to spend a month or two here. Check out Nate’s blog Nomad Trip for a preview of what awaits us.

#3 is, well, up in the air. Really there are a bunch of options to get from here to Panama. Do we do the Grand Cayman route through Providencia the to San Blas or do we still head down to Guatemala and stay for a few months while hurricane season dies out and then try to escape around the horn of Honduras in October when the trades aren’t so strong?

map of Caribbean

There is no telling what the future holds, as this recent illness has shown us, but instead of focusing on the negatives we are going to focus on the positives and hold out faith and hope that this is just one stepping stone in the right direction in the much larger plan of life.