We did it! Happy Times docked this afternoon at Sunset Bay Marina, our new home in Stuart, Florida. Our arrival marks the end of our circumnavigation of the Caribbean— two-and-a-half years and 8,247 nautical miles after we began.
Mike and I left Rio Dulce, Guatemala, in late May. The three-week trip back to the USA seemed odd without Mikayla, our winsome daughter and valued crew member. She came up with the idea of making the circle through the islands of the eastern Caribbean, south to South America, across the isthmus of Panama and the countries of the western Caribbean. Unfortunately, cruising teens were as rare as whale sightings on our voyage and social media could not diminish the distance between Happy Times’s various ports of call and Atlanta, our hometown. Living 24/7 with the parental units also became wearisome for Mikayla, so she decided to stay with her friend Gina until we returned.
Spending time together alone is a new concept for Mike and me. Not since Mikayla was born 16 years ago have we had this much time. Together. Alone. It’s something we must become accustomed to, because in only two years Mikayla will take off for college and a new life miles away. Perhaps during our time as CLODs — Cruisers Living on a Dock — we can figure out what’s next.
Today, though, we celebrate! We thank God for our safe return and we’re grateful for the people who covered us in prayers, especially my sister Sharon’s prayer circle. We acknowledge Rev. John Strickland of Atlanta Unity Church who often uses Happy Times and our voyage as an example of people who live their dreams.
We especially appreciate all the cruisers we met on our travels. There is no other community like the cruising community. Whether one needs a boat part, advice on anchoring, the location of the best wifi, or any kind of support in a tight spot, a cruiser — or more likely half a dozen — will help. There simply is nothing that one cruiser won’t do for another.