Change of Course!

Last time I wrote to you about setting our course and since then there have been some big changes! You know how it is when you are sailing, sometimes a big storm comes along and you have to change your course. Well, that is what has happened with us. Since I choose to focus on the positive I won’t go into a lot of negativity here but my guy and I have removed ourselves from the sailing program we had been studying.We spent a few days really sad and frustrated and thinking, “Well, what now?”

We decided that we should fly home sooner than we had originally planned and were able to move our flights up to a few weeks out. We had arranged to do some house sitting for the couple whose boat we stayed on in Gibraltar so they drove us up to their beautiful villa in the hills of Andalucia about 40 minutes outside of Malaga.

Villa Olivia overlooks a beautiful lake and also down the valley all the way to the sea! They have a pool, an in-home movie theater, a hot tub, a huge house with room for plenty of people and one lovely calico cat named Sukie. We stayed there for about 10 days, feeding the cat, watering the plants and doing odd jobs around the house while they went on a short vacation. It was quiet, we had work to do and also time to read, meditate and figure out what we were going to do next which was a constant topic of discussion.

We left Villa Olivia 3 days ago. Our hosts drove us to the Malaga airport, kissed us goodbye in the Spanish fashion and wished us well. We picked up a rental car and headed off to Ronda. Ronda is about 90 minutes north west of Malaga. We took our time getting there but once we arrived we quickly fell in love. Ronda has a newer business side and also an older historic area. We stayed in the historic part – in a barrio call San Fransisco with an Airbnb host. Alex and Mar run a language school in Ronda called Entrelenguas. They teach visitors how to speak Spanish as well as doing local food tastings, hikes, photo tours and cultural events. We hit the jackpot with them! They made us feel so welcome and showed us the best places to hike, eat and take photos!

Today we arrived in Seville. Seville is a much larger town – huge in fact. We are staying in a modern hotel here right outside of the historic town. I can see the fortress walls right outside of my window. We spent today taking a horse drawn carriage ride around town and visited the extensive Cathedral of Seville.

It’s nice to be able to see all of these places. We have moved away from the negativity and frustration we were feeling and we’ve moved into a more positive place. Even though our minds are constantly on our future and what we will be doing once we get home, we have been blessed in that we had to wait a bit to get our flights back home so that allowed for some time to rest, travel and decide what we really want to do.

The main thing I have learned from this situation is that when something really frustrating happens you can either stew in that feeling and let the negativity get to you OR you can figure out what you learned from that situation. Believe me, we have learned a LOT from this one and we plan to put what we have learned to use. We have a new course and a new plan and we’re setting our sails accordingly.

It’s ok to change your plans. Most people do – some more often than others. Changing your plans is brave, resilient and adventurous. In fact….change is part of the plan! If not, a lot more of us would have grown up to be ballerinas, cowboys and movie stars!

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Set Your Course – Gibraltar!

Queens Way Quay is a neat rectangular marina on the west side of Gibraltar in the shadow of the giant Rock. The east side of the Marina is home to the restrooms, laundry and a few restaurants and the rest of the rectangle is surrounded by condos and large homes. I sat on the fly bridge last night of my home away from home – a motor yacht owned by a retired British couple – and watched the sun set between the houses while the clouds that continually blow over the Rock from East to West curled up and over into the sunset creating large pink and orange swirls. Sometimes I feel like this is all a dream. How the hell did I get HERE?

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Queens Way Quay Marina

Last week I completed my Competent Crew course with Allabroad Sailing Academy. We had a full boat with two students doing Yacht Master, two Day Skippers, an instructor and me. Some of the highlights of the week included our instructor drilling us on ‘man overboard’ by throwing a fender in the ocean unexpectedly and each of us took turns at the helm attempting to retrieve our lost “crew member,” sailing Gibraltar harbor at night to study the light pattern each boat displays and how each buoy and marker flashes, sailing around the Rock and up the east coast to Duchess, Spain where our instructor took us to his favorite Tapas Bar and finally sailing with dolphins across the Straights of Gibraltar to the African continent.

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Our crew & instructor making funny faces.

We spotted their sleek gray forms often shouting and pointing “Dolphins!” Everyone would freeze and look in their direction. We saw huge schools, individuals and babies. We even saw large pods of energetic dolphins arcing up out of the water in front of fast-moving tankers. My favorite moment was when a small group swam in our bow wave for about 20 minutes. I fell in love. It was just as I imagined it would be. I stood on deck hanging over the pulpit watching each dolphin dance and weave and blow – catching their breath with each breach. It was magical, dreamy and fantastic!

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Sailing toward the African continent.

Moments like that make you stop and take stock of your life. They make you realize how joyous life can really be. Sailing on the ocean is peaceful and calm – as long as the weather is fair – the sun shines down on you, the wind is pushing you onward and then you get a quick glimpse of the divine. A moment that catches your breathe and makes you grin like a madman. A simple moment that catches you up in wonder and majesty and everything else just falls away.

I never imagined that I would be sailing to the African Continent. I never imagined that I would be doing sailing training to have this as a profession. I never imagined that I would travel to Gibraltar or Costa Rica or Belize or Croatia and yet I have. At some point in time I changed my course and set off for new horizons. Now it’s time to trim the sails and hold on tight – always scanning the horizon for the next big Adventure.

My wish for you is that your life has adventure, that you have someone special to love and that you are healthy and happy. Set your course and GO FOR IT!!!! Who knows where you will end up and what wonderful things you might see!!!

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Duchess, Spain