In 2013, in a small boatyard in Reedville, Virginia, in the United States, I came across an old, sun-bleached boat named Ave Del Mar.
She looked tired but she looked solid. Intrigued, I called the number on her For Sale sign, and soon she became mine.
I moved the boat to Annapolis, Maryland, where I lived aboard her in a marina and spent every waking moment fixing things, buying things, and dreaming of adventures yet to come.
In September of 2014 we finally untied the dock lines and had our first sail on the South River just outside of Annapolis. Soon after, I resigned from my job and set sail south, headed for the Caribbean.
We made our way down the Intracoastal Waterway to Florida, where we settled in for a bit in West Palm Beach to make some more repairs and preparations for the greater voyage to come.
I sailed through most of the Bahamian islands, down the Windward Passage to several stops in Haiti, and onward to Jamaica. From Jamaica we sailed back to the Florida Keys, and then out in the Atlantic and back up to Reedville, Virginia, back to where it all started some 4,500 miles before.
Years later, after sailing back to the Bahamas I left Ave lovingly stored on a small island called Green Turtle Cay. This is how she sat as I left, just two weeks before hurricane Dorian rampaged through as the strongest storm ever to make landfall in the Bahamas.
Dorian left his mark, sending Ave del Mar and so many other boats down off of their stands in the yard. Many were lost for good, but Ave was fixable. Eight months later, I hitched a ride back and repaired her, ready to sail again.
As the calendar turns to 2023 Ave and I are set to head south again towards the Caribbean. I am excited to see where the winds will take us this time.