Panama. Hot, steamy, and a good place to evaluate where our voyage was going to take us. Leaping off from Panama meant committing to another five months at sea as we crossed the Pacific.
It was starting to become clear Franklin was finding life on a small boat frustrating and a little lonely and we wondered whether it was a good idea to keep him on the boat for the time necessary to get to Australia. I personally, could not imagine spending thirty days at sea on a boat with a frustrated child. We wondered whether it might have been a good idea to have a second child immediately after Franklin so he would have had a sibling to bounce off.
We had a second problem, Ruby and Darla were due to meet us somewhere on June 27th for a month. We were not sure whether we could get somewhere where the flights were inexpensive enough for us to pay for them. And then when they came we could come up with an affordable plan to accommodate them.
We talked about flying Mary and Franklin or Shane and Franklin to Australia to wait while the other parent completed the crossing. We talked about flying Franklin to one of his Grandmothers while we completed the crossing.
Our finances were tight. In order to harden the boat for the crossing we felt we needed a backup autopilot (preferably a no-power wind vane) and we wanted to replace the standing rigging that we had not yet replaced. If we flew Franklin and one parent to Australia we would not be able to afford these improvements.
We examined all our options, and in the end we could not envision a good, safe plan to get Sea Change across the Pacific this year. In the end, we mothballed Sea Change II and put her on the hard in the secure yard at Shelter Bay Marina in Panama. A very difficult decision but the right one for us.
We bought plane tickets to Sydney and arrived in early May where we are staying with my brother. Franklin is a much happier little boy, and looks forward eagerly to go to preschool on Wednesdays and Fridays. Mary and I both have work and our finances are turning around. Ruby and Darla are due to fly in on June 27th and we have a plan to accommodate them.
What is the future of Sea Change II? We have put her on the market. If we are offered about 2/3 of the price we would get in the US, we will sell her. If she does not sell this year then we will ship her to Sydney or have her delivered. We must have a sailboat and Sea Change II would be a great boat for Sydney Harbor and surrounds.
Do we see ourselves making another sailing voyage? We both yearn for the sea, but neither of wants do it one a small boat with a small child. For now we are going to enjoy the absolutely fabulous sailing grounds around Sydney on weekends and holidays. Next time we go voyaging we will follow the more traditional path and wait until our children are independent and then join the many other aging sailors on the high seas.