Jun 04 2011

Reflections on a Year

Tag: UncategorizedJonathon Haradon @ 4:39 am

Exactly six months ago Karen and Matt left Syzygy in my decidedly nervous, questionably capable hands. I was both looking forward to and filled with trepidation at the idea of being ‘the captain’ and with no other owner within 6000 miles.

I survived a flood, one of the more hair-raising situations of my life. It was easily the longest continuous amount of time I’ve had to walk the line of near catastrophe. I did some single-handed sailing. I ran aground. Twice. I made some bad calls, and some conservatively good ones. I began to wear with more ease the badge of captain and the load of responsibility that Matt correctly predicted I would feel with him gone. He was also right in knowing that him being gone and my captainhood would add a dimension to my Syzygy experience that I will forever cherish and be proud of.

I did more work on the boat in the four months between December and March then I had during the last three years of our ownership. And there is a sizable amount of work ahead in the next two months. For two years I mostly watched from afar in Colorado as Matt and Jonny worked on her, and then I spent another year feeling that I had somehow let down our enterprise and myself by not being able to contribute when I was slated to. Now, I feel absolved of my own torment on the issue and proud of what I’ve accomplished in upgrades and maintenance. And after a while, the neophyte actually started to know what he was doing. People were offering to pay me to work on their boat, fix this or sew that. Boomsticks!

I have had an outstanding time sailing the Australian coast. With Justin along, I’ve seen some beautiful places. Lady Musgrave probably tops the list; Bait Reef, the Whitsundays, Magnetic Island, and the reefs off Cairns were other beautiful places. The overnight sails that Justin and I did were noteworthy for how peaceful and contemplative I felt while looking up at the stars and out at a relatively calm sea. I’ve surpassed Matt and Karen in time spent on Syzygy traveling (though not even close in miles traveled). Dolphins, turtles, spear-fishing, diving, sailing with gorgeous islands all around; I’ve had a grand time.

And now, it’s time for my trip to end. I’ve decided after much contemplation and reflection that I’ve achieved for myself what I needed and wanted on this trip. Continuing on will not net me more of what I want. Yes, I could see more beautiful places, have amazing experiences, get into some more trouble. But in my heart, I know I’ve reached a point where there’s a next stage in my life to move on to.

At some point, I had thought my choices would make this trip an impossibility for me. And then, in the end, I had a second chance to go. I still reflect upon the wrenching of emotions that happened in those stages. For a significant time afterwards, the emotional wresting back and forth continued to inform my emotional state and choices, and because of those choices it affected, it subsequently still dramatically affects my life. The feeling that I needed to take advantage of this time, of the possibilities of this trip, has only recently run its course and abated. Now that it has, I am ready to start the next stage of my life. I am ready and excitedly want to give other aspects of my life a try. I don’t know what is going to happen, but I want to at least give it a try. New opportunities await and new adventures are possible.

I can point to many reasons for my reflections. I miss my family. Skyping doesn’t quite cut it and my niece is growing up. I want to see her, my sister, and my parents more often. I miss my friends and feeling as though I am part of a social network. Cruisers are great people, but it seems the social network is ephemeral and, as people sail where they will, transient. I want to be back in a tighter social fabric. I miss making money. Australia is abhorrently expensive and vacationing and cruising when trying to pinch pennies has begun to be wearisome. I miss a sense of purpose beyond hedonistic enjoyment. Which basically means I miss working. Or having something productive on my mind other than wondering how much fun or relaxation can I have. People with jobs may crucify me and perhaps I will regret thinking this 6 months after returning to the States, but I look forward to being enterprising and challenging my mind in ways the boat, even with it’s constant demand for maintenance and work that is either new to me or that I don’t quite understand, does not do. A catalytic reason, I miss my girlfriend, and have been gone too long.

So I’ll be returning to the States soon. The plan is to leave Cairns in about one week and sail the boat back to Brisbane, where we hope to berth at East Coast Marina in Manly. I’ll be doing some final work there, cosmetic really, making the boat look as pretty as possible for the next owners. There is also laborious process to go through in order to sell a boat in Australia. My Australian visa ends August 25th, so that’s my time limit.

For perspective buyers reading this, please see our ‘Syzygy is For Sale‘ page for detailed information on all the systems of Syzygy, equipment lists, photos pertinent to prospective buyers, and an asking price. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or to set a time to either see Syzygy or take her out on a sea-trial.

So now I am transitioning into a new phase of my life. A whole myriad of options are possible and my excitement is palpable. I will be continuing to blog through the sale of the boat, and to our readers, I can only say thank you for your time and thinking that Syzygy’s little corner of the blogosphere was something worth paying attention to.

The entire experience of Syzygy has been extraordinary for me. It has tested my in ways I would have never thought possible. My path over the last six years and particularly the last two has been stupefyingly unpredictable. I am a different person than I was six years ago; a better one I hope. And with that evolution in hand, in hand to depend on, in hand to reflect and smile upon, in hand to be proud of, and in hand to remember the mistakes and learn from them, I’m heading home to a new phase. And I’m excited as ever.

Jun 03 2011


Tag: Australia,Justin,sea life,wild lifeJonathon Haradon @ 1:57 am
A week or so ago while sailing from Airlie to Townsville, Justin and I saw about 20 dolphins all jumping and playing at the bow as we cruised along at 7 knots. It was a lot of fun to watch. I had never seen that many at the same time around the boat. Here are some pictures.