September 25, 2001; We’re off. After three years of repair work, three months of heightened preparation, and nearly a month of delays we finally set sail. I’ve left behind my old life, my friends, all that was familiar to me, for something completely new, foreign, and unique. For the next nine months I will be living aboard the schooner Koukla, along with my parents and my 12 year old brother Scott. We’re heading down the east coast of the U.S. for the Caribbean.
We lived out a seemingly average existence in Rockland Maine. My mother was an ultrasonographer, well, I suppose she still is, or at least she will be again in nine months. As for my father, I believe he’ll never stop being a marine engineer. If it wasn’t for him, we would never have even imagined it possible for us to set out on this great adventure. It had been his life long dream to own his own boat and to be able to cruise all over the world on it, and now that dream is becoming a reality. The four of us have had to work very hard for this, but none harder than he.
It is difficult for anyone who hasn’t done it, or at least had a hand in it, to imagine the incredibly immense task of repairing and outfitting a 60 foot schooner. It is an unbelievable undertaking, requiring a lot of time, effort, and money. Although we’ve set off that doesn’t mean all of the work is done, oh no. There is still no electricity, working toilets, no power faucets, or refrigeration. Instead we have flashlights and oil lamps, a port-o-potty, a hand pump for water, and coolers. There is no TV, and no internet, except for when we go ashore. We have one cell phone, which is next to useless, since I can’t talk to my friends for more than two seconds, and will be completely useless once we have gone far enough south. Not to mention the various antennas, spools of wire, coils of rope, electrical equipment, bolts, batteries, anchors, books, clothes, food stuffs, and more that clutter the decks and cabins of the boat. In essence, my life has been packed up, boxed, stuffed, and stowed onto this boat. I have no idea how this voyage will affect who we are, or who we will be, or what the outcome of this great adventure will be.