Monday, December 12, 2011

When to Turn Back

Recently, one of our marina neighbors set off for non-Texas ports, but while traversing the Gulf, which is notorious for being like sailing in a washing machine, they encountered numerous system failures and a nasty bout of seasickness. If just one thing had gone wrong, they might have kept going, but faced with more things breaking by the minute and not so great weather they made the choice to return to the dock, fix the broken hardware and wait for a better weather window.

Knowing when to turn around is a delicate art. One the one hand, you want to reach your destination. You've invested time, money and hours of labor into fulfilling this dream, and all you really want to do is explore distant lands, wander on tropical shores dodging coconuts, and swim through cyclones of zebra fish off the coast of Australia.

But (and there's always a "but," isn't there?) sometimes you have to turn back, and the trick is recognizing that point before the Coast Guard has to get involved. They say that true disasters usually aren't caused by just one mistake, but a series of problems that compound into a major, possibly life-threatening, event. So when one thing goes wrong, no problem. Fix it and move on. But multiples? Not so great, especially when you throw a good dose of fatigue into the mix.

While we can be prepared, we can't control every situation, and I hope that when Vlad and I head out we, too, will be able to know when it's time to turn around.

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