Tuesday, April 6, 2021

When to Tuck Tail & Turn Around

I took this 7-second video of our passage to the Raggeds when things were still comparatively mellow. Then I stowed my camera below and braced myself.

You've probably heard the adage: Why do we keep beating our head against the wall? Because it feels so good when we stop.

My "Aha!" moment happened when we were attempting to follow our friends in Fiji from Savu-Savu to the Taveunis. They caught the weather window there in time. We did not. That became abundantly clear as the sun set and our autopilot went on the fritz because it couldn't handle the conditions. Wayne quickly reconstituted the autopilot—he's had a bit of practice—then asked . . .

"What if instead of pounding upwind, we turned around, and headed for the Yasawas instead of the Taveunis? It would be a much easier passage and we'll be there tomorrow."

We did. It was. We were really glad we did. We even caught back up with our friends elsewhere in Fiji.

Fast forward to a week ago. 

We were leaving Flamingo Cay in the Jumentos after spending a week with our friends in the Georgetown area, then two days on Long Island, with a hop to Water Cay, then Flamingo. We were bound for Buena Vista in the Ragged Islands, then from there we'd catch up with friends in the Ragged Island at Hog Cay.

A driving motivator to buy our boat when we did and leave right away was driven in part by our desire to return to the Bahamas' Ragged Islands this cruising season. It's a place of fond memories, new friends, good times, and great conversations with cruisers and locals.

The Raggeds' name is apt: they are rugged and remote, particularly in comparison to the Abacos, Bimini, Nassau, Eleuthera, the Exumas, and Long Island. Only one island in the Raggeds is inhabited: Duncan Town. When we last came, Duncan Town boasted a population of 70 hearty souls, a little bar, a tinier market, Marjorie's charming local handicrafts store, and a robust flock of peacocks. Duncan Town was a dinghy ride from Hog Cay.

Meanwhile, we were pounding our way into 20-knot winds, getting soaked by the waves washing up over our bow and making their way back toward us. We braced ourselves into the cockpit, grasping and holding what we could with our hands and feet, our stomachs tight, our teeth clenched. The fun-to-suck ratio was most definitely out of whack, severely pegged on the suck end of the meter. 

We were about to cross the Man O War channel and shift our angle onto a track we needed to travel for several more hours, which would make everything even worse.

Instead, we turned around. For us, that meant writing off the Raggeds for the season and maybe even forever—a disappointment. Yet we felt flooded with relief. It wasn't an easy decision, but for us, in that place and time, in those conditions, it was the right decision.

This is 7-second video shows what it looked like when we turned around.

What are you doing now in your life that's beating your head against the wall?

Notice it. Question it. Figure out a way to stop. Then . . . stop.

Location Location

Georgetown area, Great Exumas, the Bahamas.
The view off our bow at our current anchorage of Sand Dollar Beach. Stocking Island.

We are again anchored off Stocking Island's Sand Dollar Beach, 23 30.690N 75 44.561W. Still catching up on posts from Georgetown, Long Island, Water, and Flamingo Cays in the Jumentos. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we're headed to Lee Stocking Island, working our way back up the Exumas chain. We'll be out of wifi range for a few days.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Bertie. I need to see how you are progressing on your property. I was sorry to not get a chance to see you again before we left JAX.

      I sent my niece in Germany a care package, which included your lovely painted box, and it was by far her favorite of the gifts.

      You are sooo talented!

  2. Your writing shines the light on glaring truths in my own life. Why do I keep beating my head against the wall? Time to change course and find calmer waters. Thank you, friend!

    1. It's a process, my friend.

      You've been doing it. It's just not a one-and-done.

      Wishing you calmer waters, and, give yourself a pat on the back for all of the amazing work you've done in you life as well as your profession(s).

  3. Love the last sentence!

    1. Thanks, Katlin.

      I got a minor epiphany recently. It was: pay attention, why does it matter and take action.

      It's my new mantra.

  4. Good move. We've made several like this. We have also anchored right where u are now. 😎 Pretty cool. Enjoy.

    1. Thanks! It's great to travel for pleasure and not be pushed or feel driven to prove anything to anyone. Makes for smarter decisions and far more pleasant travel.

      Nice spot, as is the other Stocking Island, Lee Stocking where we arrived today and got internet, though we didn't expect to.