A number of people have asked us what our plans our. Our primary plan is to have no fixed plan. We've been living life by Outlook Calendars, Blackberry's, meeting schedules, deadlines and more. It's time for us to live day to day as opposed to always having plans. If we wake up in the morning and feel like going somewhere else, we will. Otherwise, "here looks good". It has been said that "Schedules on a boat just don't work. If you have a powerboat, throw away your watch. If you have a sailboat, throw away your calendar."
With that said, we have a few thoughts on the places we would like to visit, and there has to be some order. Apparently I haven't whipped enough people into shape to develop a teleport device. On December 1st we will be heading to Annapolis. Hopefully the work on Pelican will be completed by that point in time. Otherwise, the start to our trip will be very, very cold. Fortunately, we had the forethought when we bought Pelican to have a forced air heater installed. We can get the temperature to over 100 in the cabin if we want to.
Once we're ready to leave Annapolis, we'll head south. North is cold. South is warm. North bad. South good. Because of the fickle weather this time of year, we'll probably stick to the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) for the trip south. It might sound cool, but you can walk faster than a sailboat. We motor along at around 7-8 mph, and motoring is what you do for the most part on the ICW. You have to wait for bridge openings (as long as you want to keep your mast), high tides (as long as you want to keep your boat upright, as opposed to grounding it and then laying on your side until the water shows up again), avoid large power boat wakes (easier said than done when going 7-8 mph) and more. You can't really navigate the ICW in the dark, so it will probably take the better part of two weeks to make it to where the weather is somewhat warmer. Of course, it has been known to snow in Florida, and that would be just our luck!
Once we get to a somewhat warmer clime (i.e. over 60 degrees), we'll probably slow down a bit. We would like to visit parts of the Florida coast, and the kids really want to go to Disney. I really would like to go to the keys to eat all of the seafood and view the sites.
From Florida, we'll eventually jump over to the Bahamas. We expect this to be sometime in January, or maybe February. For this, we have to cross the Gulf Stream. That takes some planning - primarily ensuring that the wind is coming from the right direction so we don't get hammered by huge waves. People can wait anywhere from a couple of days to weeks for a good weather window to cross.
Once we're in the Bahamas, well, I don't know where exactly we'll go yet. We'll do some fishing, some snorkeling, and when we get sick of a place, we'll move. I'm most interested in introducing my kids to a land where supermarkets don't exist, and cows and chickens roam the streets looking for handouts. I don't think this will be in Nassau, so we may go off the beaten path.
By hurricane season (May-ish) we have to be out of the hurricane belt. I don't know if this means that we'll head south to Panama, or whether we'll head north to New England. I'm kind of interested in cruising New England. In the fall, we may do a 9-12 day passage to the Virgin Islands, or we may not. Are you getting the idea? All along the way we'll be homeschooling our kids and meeting new people. That's what I'm looking forward to.