Hurricane season (June-November) really throws a wrench in cruising plans. Basically all of our plans revolve around making it to hurricane safe cruising grounds by June. Many boats cruising the Caribbean head to Grenada to wait out the season. We had thought about doing this, but I can’t imagine staying on our boat on one small island for 6 months, especially during the hottest months of the year. We had thought about cruising quickly down the Caribbean chain, then West towards the Panama Canal to spend the season on the Pacific side of Central America. Unfortunately, the Caribbean side of Central America doesn’t have much in the way of cruising grounds (anchorages, marina’s, etc.). When we thought a little more about this prospect we realized we’d be hurrying past some of the best spots in the Caribbean, and then would either have to cross back through the Canal (no easy or cheap task), or we’d need to head across the Pacific sooner than we feel comfortable. We had assumed that putting the boat “on the hard” would be out of our budget, but it turns out it’s pretty affordable. So, with this as an option we have decided to put the boat in storage in Grenada for hurricane season. We will bypass much of the Caribbean chain on our way South to Grenada, but that gives us nearly all of the cruising season next year to explore those islands going North.
We will fly from Grenada to Samara, Costa Rica at the end of May where we have secured a 2 bedroom apartment 350 meters from the beach and a 2 minute walk from the kid’s school – it’s called Casa del Sur. I love that the homes there have names! It will be cozy as all of the kids will be sharing a room, but much like the boat, I don’t anticipate us spending a ton of time at the apartment when there’s a great swimming, snorkeling and surfing beach just steps away! Thank you Southwest Visa reward program– free flights for 5 to Costa Rica! This will allow us to rent a car occasionally to explore parts of Central and South America, it will allow the kids to make friends that they get to play with for more than a few weeks, and what I am most excited about – we will all be learning Spanish! The kid’s school is a bilingual school – pre-K-6th grade. They spend half the day learning in English and half in Spanish.
Our plans are constantly shifting as we realize all of the opportunities available to us and what feels right. We are all very excited about this next part of our journey. We have thought about making this 6 months on the boat, 6 months off our new routine from here on out. We have met a few other families cruising that do just that. It works great for their kids as they get to come back to the same home, friends, and school during Summer and Fall semester at school. Then they take Spring semester to cruise/homeschool. It is also a good financial plan as it will allow us to work more during the 6 months in the states. This is our ideal situation. We would need to be able to rent out the home we purchase from Dec.-May. Right now we are looking at Portland, Oregon as it’s located between Bend and Southern Washington where our brothers and their families live, the rental market is strong there, the schools are rated highly, there are lots of extra-curricular opportunities for the kids, and it’s just an awesome city to spend Summer and Fall! As always, this is our current plan and may very well change as we move along.
Check out this article on Samara