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For Sale: Irwin 37

Posted on May 11, 2016 | 0 comments

Are you ready for this?

Are you ready for this?

As I mentioned in my over-due post last week, Horizon is currently for sale in Indiantown, Florida. We’ve listed her with Advantage Yachts for $39,000, which is a great deal considering all of the awesome upgrades that she comes with! Here are a few posts that highlight what’s gone into making her live-aboard ready:

With tons of interior space, 2 cabins, 2 heads, and very good headroom for a boat of this age, it was an awesome home for the three of us at dock and at anchor. We hope to be able to pass her on to someone looking for an amazing adventure of their own! If you or someone you know might be interested, contact us or visit our YachtWorld.com listing.

A (Major) Change in Plans

Posted on May 5, 2016 | 6 comments

At least we still get the benefit of beautiful sunsets.

At least we still get the benefit of beautiful sunsets.

So…for those of you out there who can do some simple math, it’s been 11 months since my last post. A lot can happen in 11 months and a lot HAS happened since our time in the Hub of Abaco. While I will be revisiting the end of our Bahamas adventure, I had to restart my posts somewhere so I’ll start with a little explanation of where we are today. Many apologies to those of you (there were quite a few!) who were following along with our trip and weren’t sure whether we met a watery end after not hearing from us for a while.

Let me start by saving that we loved our few months of cruising and have absolutely zero regrets about the whole process. The costs were all worth the journey and it was an amazing time together as a family. The water was beautiful, the people were incredible, and we learned a lot about ourselves and each other in a short period of time. The Bahamas will always hold a very special place in our hearts.

However, I’m sure you can hear the “BUT” in my words above. Those of you who have spoken to us recently know that we have settled back into land life and are selling Horizon. There are a lot of reasons why we believed this to be the best choice for us, but here are the big ones:

  1. Cruising is a lonely business. I’m not going to lie, I did not expect loneliness to be an issue for Dan and I. We generally are pretty independent people who aren’t big on crowds. Also, there were generally people around to have great conversation with, cruisers and locals alike. People always talked about how quickly you make amazing friends while cruising, which is SO true, but they somehow forget to mention how quickly you sail away from those friends as well. That constant cycle in just the year and half we lived on our boat moving between marinas and cruising was a lot tougher all three of us than we had ever considered.
  2. This one goes together with number 1, but has to be its own reason. Carter was lonely. Our social butterfly does great with adults, but he thrives with other kids to play with. If it was hard for us to say good-bye to new friends, for him it was like ripping his heart out. As a child of parents who moved every few years, I just couldn’t bear to watch him go through the good-bye process every couple of weeks. It was hard for us to weigh this against the benefit of cruising for him and us as a family, but this one was definitely a major factor.
  3. Carter and I both got seasick…a lot. Short trips were fine but throw in any kind of waves and more than a few hours and all bets were off. This made for a lot of discomfort for Carter and I and plenty of lonely hours at the wheel for Dan. The prospect of sailing farther than the Bahamas in this state just wasn’t super appealing for any of us.
  4. Finally, there wasn’t a particular call for Dan and I to keep going. That may sound like a lame reason to stop, but for us it just made sense. Cruising is not something that we felt like we could keep doing just for the sake of doing it. It is an amazing life-style, but it could be a nightmare if you went into it without enthusiasm.

Will we ever go cruising again? There’s a good chance we will. Or maybe next time we’ll try out an RV or go backpacking across Europe. Honestly, we don’t know. What we do know is that living on Horizon was one of the best things that we have ever decided to do and we wouldn’t change one thing about it.

Follow your Dreams. Follow the Horizon.

The Hub of Abaco

Posted on Jun 13, 2015 | 0 comments

The beautiful anchorage just outside of Hopetown Harbor.

The beautiful anchorage just outside of Hopetown Harbor.

After spending most of our first few weeks in the secluded islands of the Exuma Cays, we were all ready for a little more human contact. We had been told by fellow cruisers not to miss Hopetown and Marsh Harbour, so we were interested to find out if the Abaco Islands lived up to the hype.

The crystal blue water was dotted with these ominous black circles. Do Not Hit!

The crystal blue water was dotted with these ominous black circles. Do Not Hit!

Before we could start having fun however, we had to make the trek to get there! Our first day from Ship’s Channel Cay to Royal Harbour took us through the Middle Passage, a path filled with coral heads that had to be dodged if we didn’t plan on leaving our boat at the bottom of the bank. I stayed on the bow for almost 2 hours directing Dan around the large black/brown spots on the otherwise crystal blue water. As the saying goes: if it’s brown, you’re going down! Our next day up to Little Harbour was one of the bumpiest we’ve had so far, with 4-5 foot seas on the beam rolling in from the open Atlantic, aka a seasickness party for Carter and me.

The lighthouse is still operated manually and open for self-guided tours every day.

The lighthouse is still operated manually and open for self-guided tours every day.

Our first major stop in the Abaco Islands was Hopetown, Abaco. The picturesque harbor town complete with red striped lighthouse was like a scene from a postcard. Hopetown would be a great place to spend a vacation, with the beautiful Atlantic beach and protected harbor and just a short ferry ride to the other destinations in the so-called “Hub of Abaco.” We had a great time climbing the lighthouse and strolling through town. We also had to have a taste of a Vernon’s Grocery Store’s famous key lime pie, which was every bit as good as the guide books claimed.

I'm pretty sure I could go that low...but I wouldn't be getting back up!

I’m pretty sure I could go that low…but I wouldn’t be getting back up!

Next on our itinerary was Marsh Harbour, the third largest settlement in the Bahamas coming in at a whopping 5,000 permanent residents. While we wouldn’t consider this one of our favorite spots for visiting, it was fantastic to be able to get some chores done and find parts that would have been nearly impossible to get in other areas of the Bahamas. We did have a bit of a splurge night by attending the weekly BBQ buffet night at the Jib Room, complete with Bahama-style mariachi band and limbo performer (limbo-ist?). The food was good, the company fun, and we all had a great time.

We visited on a weekend, so the workers weren't in the shop, but it was still fun to see the boats in progress.

We visited on a weekend, so the workers weren’t in the shop, but it was still fun to see the boats in progress.

The last point of the Hub’s triangle was Man-O-War Cay, a lovely town in which you can slow down. Because the island has a ban on the sale of alcohol, there are much fewer tourist establishments and no traditional beach bars. What they lack in party atmosphere, they more than make up for with the authentic feel of the community that has been mostly supported by their famous sail loft and boat workshop on the island. It was a great compliment to the other settlements in the Hub, especially after a few days of chores in Marsh Harbour.

Picturesque handmade boats were in abundance on Man-O-War Cay.

Picturesque handmade boats were in abundance on Man-O-War Cay.

The Hub of Abaco was a completely new side to the Bahamas that we are glad we got to experience. While the area certainly can’t compete with the sheer intensity of natural beauty in the Exumas, it still has plenty of its own charm and flavor. The proximity of the destinations to each other makes it a perfect vacation destination or charter area and we would encourage anyone to give it a try if you haven’t before.