As I look out over the Gulf of Mexico on our last open water passage, I stare in bemusement at the unbelievable beauty of the sunlight reflecting on the open water. I alternate between feelings of melancholy and pure joy. The incredible visual images of our journey flash through my brain one after the other: the sheltered anchorage at Warderick Wells, the beach at Conception Island, the mangrove maze of Shark River, the soft moonlight reflecting on the water’s surface, dolphins playing at our bow, pelicans diving, Laura snorkeling at Thunderball Cave, Rodger and Laura building sand castles.
I didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into when we headed out almost eighteen months ago but I wouldn’t change that decision for all the gold in the world. As a family, I think we are closer and stronger than we would otherwise have been. As an individual, I think I have a softer perspective on life. How can I put a price on watching Laura develop a real sense of how much there is in the world, learning how to present herself to people with confidence and poise, engaging in hands-on learning, developing her own sense of who she is and who she wants to be? How do I put a value on the life-long friendships that have grown from our travels?
I keep looking south over the water. Somewhere out there are Cuba and Jamaica. To the west is Mexico. But we are headed northwest toward the Florida Panhandle and onward to Tennessee. Will we be back? Yes...some day. Until then we will remember.
As the sun begins to close on the horizon, Rodger and Laura are on deck grilling.the Spanish Mackerel we caught earlier today while I cook rice to go with our bean soup. Another day, another wonderful memory.
Fair winds and safe travels.
Title Photo: Annie walks at Allens-Pensacola Cay in the Abacos.