So I know a lot of you that have been tracking my progress via satellite have been wondering why I have been stationary for so long. There are multiple reasons for this, but for the sake of brevity I will just list the three major reasons that are holding me back. The first is that it’s the wrong season to continue sailing west across the Northern Indian Ocean. This is because the SW monsoons have settled in and it will be blowing this direction until winter. So if I was to continue today, my option would be to jump off from the tip of Sumatra and head down into the southern hemisphere to catch the trade winds towards Mauritius which lies 2500 miles away. At this point in my journey, 25-30 days on my boat does not sound to appealing.
Furthermore, as some of you may know, my transmission has begun to fail again. While it’s still under warranty, the task of pulling my engine after having doing so just a short time ago in the Philippines is something that I am not looking forward to. However, I am well aware that I am avoiding the inevitable failure…but spending a week in a dirty, oily confined space in the tropics is by far the worst task that I can think of right now.
Nevertheless, the SW monsoons and mechanical failures are just two of the reasons why I am here. The third and probably most influential reason as to why I am not sailing is because I don’t want to leave Asia! I had a moment of clarity while staring at a chart of the Indian Ocean, asking myself “Where do I want to go next?”. My answer was “nowhere”. There was no other place that I was excited to visit. Every future location would only serve the purpose of bringing me closer back to Seattle, but this is not what I want right now. I told my family when I first left Seattle that my goal was to never end back where I started, moreover, it was to find a place, partner, and purpose that excited me. I want to wake up not only today, but also when I am 60 and say “Wow! I can’t believe where I am and what I have accomplished in my life”.
Sure, I would be proud of myself if sailed entirely around the world, but I am proud of myself right now 🙂 I have already achieved more than what I thought possible in regards to sailing. Now I want to focus on some new aspects of my life that excite me. I know that if I were to keep sailing today I wouldn’t be doing it for myself, as I would have been sailing away from the life that I actually wanted. So, for now, I am just going to focus on myself and living the life that I want. If things change and I find that I will be happier at sea, I can always cast off those lines and point Cascadia’s bow west but for now her lines will stay secured to the dock.
So if this is the end of my sailing adventure? I’m not sure, and I hope not. But, if my life was a book, I would consider this the start of a new chapter.
Author: Andrew Stephens
A Pacific Northwest native and recent graduate from Seattle University, Andy is currently sailing his 30′ Cape Dory sailboat around the world. You can find more information him by visiting his website SailingWithAndy.com or on his YouTube channel.