HEADING SOUTH AT 30
Dreamer will be 30 in 2004. Since acquiring Dreamer in 1984, we have dreamed and planned for extended cruising in southern waters and referred to it as our "Grand Adventure". It wasn't until we sold Oak Harbor Boat Works in 1999 that the time became available to consider making it a reality.
Then, things heated up with a hobby business we owned, Wireless World, and additional demands were placed on our time. It seems that there are always things that can jump up to stand in the way of fulfilling one's dreams, but only if we let them. Having been raised to work hard and be responsible, I have a hard time saying "no". Well, I have finally said "NO!".....at last.
During the time we have owned Dreamer, we have made so many changes, which you can see on the Changes page as well as on the Outfitting page. All decisions on changes and outfitting were done with the plan of full-time extended cruising in southern waters uppermost in our minds. As such, Dreamer is a very comfortable boat, well equipped and ready to go, at least as soon as the latest list of TO DOs is done. Amazing how those TO DO lists keep growing. However, for safety, comfort and proper maintenance, much of the TO DO list must be done. Some can wait and be done later and I have no doubt that the list will continue to grow, even after we leave and head south from Oak Harbor.
For the past 5 or 6 years, we have vacillated between taking Dreamer south for full-time cruising and keeping Dreamer here in the PNW for summer cruising and having another home base, either a boat or home, in southern latitudes for the colder months, 5 to 6 months of the year. We called it having the best of both worlds. We have explored the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, looking for that southern home base. Of course, it would have to be on or near the ocean and a boat, at least for fishing, would be in the picture. It's so hard to make a decision when one has so many options, at least that is what we have found. No place we visited seemed quite perfect enough to make the decision.
We finally decided while cruising this summer, 2003, that the original plan was still the best plan for us and have since embarked on the project of getting Dreamer ready to Head South at 30 in 2004. Some problems with having two home bases is the additional maintenance and responsibilities required, the added expense of maintaining two home bases, and having to pack up and move from one home base to the other a couple times per year as well as a couple additional trips each year to check up on things.
We are fully committed to our plan to head south next year and are currently (December 2003) working hard getting things done so that we can leave mid-May for a shakedown cruise around Vancouver Island to be completed by the first half of July. That would give us about a month to take care of any thing that required attention, provision the boat and leave Oak Harbor heading south in August, 2004. Work is progressing well, spirits are good and we are happy.