Atlantic circuit or Pacific?

We never really planned our route ahead of time. From the moment we bought the boat we only set ourselves the goal to cross the Atlantic and explore the Eastern Caribbean. What will happen after we didn’t know and that intentional uncertainty was part of the journey from the beginning.

After our season in the Eastern Antilles of the Caribbean we are now debating where to go next. Having sailed further west to Bonaire, we came across many other boats that are planning to go through the Panama Canal. Although everyone is still hesitant due to the changing COVID restrictions and entry protocols in the Pacific islands. Not only might that limit the number of countries we could go to but also impacts our budget and how long it will still last. Since we live off our savings and slowly see the numbers on our bank accounts decreasing, we won’t be able to, and also never intended to, cruise long-term. But now it is the first time that we need to make a decision whether we have enough money to make it through the largest ocean in the world, including long offshore passages between remote islands without the infrastructure we have seen so far.

The last thing that we want is to be stranded somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, in a remote place and can’t continue our trip. On the other hand we don’t want to rush through it and skip (as we’ve heard from others) the most beautiful cruising destinations and interesting remote cultures in the world. Assuming that we have enough money, we also need to consider making some improvements and repairs on the boat to be self-sufficient for longer time periods. Many boats are planning to spend another season in the Caribbean and will stay put until more countries open for cruisers in the southern pacific.

Whenever it will be that we want to go home, we have this romantic idea in our mind to sail Porky back to Europe. We want to sail home, not leave the boat somewhere and take a plane back. After this journey it would feel to us almost like cheating. Apart from that, sailing Porky back home would also give us a choice whether we want to keep or sell her. But that’s nothing we need to decide now but a future problem to think about. And as we all know, plans keep changing constantly.

Porky moored in Kralendijk, Bonaire

So back to our short-term planning. What we do know is that we would like to see some Central American countries along the way. Panama, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico are all wonderful destinations for sailing and diving. All three of us have never visited any Central American countries. We’ve also heard amazing things about Columbia but only recently decided to skip it for now. Apparently it’s best to leave the boat in a marina and explore the countryside by land. As we’ve spent more time and money than usual on marina and mooring fees in Bonaire already, we are now looking forward to live at anchor again and don’t want to tie Porky to a dock for a whole month. So we’re making preparations to sail to Panama directly.

Day sail around Klein Bonaire

Our hearts beat a little faster when we think about anchoring in beautiful anchorages again and exploring Panama’s nature and culture soon. Before we get there, we will have to sail around the infamous rough coast of Columbia known for its confused waves, strong currents and strong wind gusts. Even worse, there seems to be not much wind in the western Caribbean Sea in the next days due to Hurricane Sam approaching the Northeastern Caribbean islands and interrupting the trade winds. After having Porky prepared for the week long passage to Panama, we’re now monitoring the conditions and waiting for a suitable weather window to finally set sail again.

And only time will tell which countries and waters we will be sailing to next…

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