Even though this will be our first big sailing adventure on our own boat, I do have lots of route planning experience.
For example, during my years of commuting, I always scrupulously chose the driving route with the most right turns.
The more right turns, and more specifically, the less left turns, the quicker and easier the driving route.
I was so religious in this line of thinking that all of my grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, etc., were chosen primarily for being on the right side of the road, and not the left.
You could call this laziness, but to me it's just smart.
It's economy of motion.
Now we're dealing with major passage planning. For the past 3 months we've been basically planning on sailing from Puerta Vallarta, Mexico to The Marquesas in French Polynesia in April, 2012.
Puerta Vallarta, Mexico to The Marquesas Islands is about 2,800 miles.
The other option would be to continue south from Puerta Vallarta, visit Southern Mexico and Costa Rica, then head west to The Galapagos, and on to The Marquesas.
Now, Costa Rica to the Galapagos is not so bad:
That's about 800 miles.
But then the Galapagos west to the Marquesas, in French Polynesia, is one of the longest passages on earth:
It's 3,040 nautical miles.
So basically, in route planning, my lazy (I mean SMART!) gene kicked in, and I convinced my husband that we should skip Central America and the Galapagos, and take the "short cut" -- the big, economical right turn and go straight to the Marquesas from Mexico.
Much easier. :-)
This was all pretty much settled, until yesterday. We went down to San Diego to meet up with and buy some charts from our friends Mike and Ann Last, who are in the midst of a long circumnavigation.
When we told them of our plans to skip Costa Rica and The Galapagos, they were horrified.
"Oh, you MUSTN'T!" they exclaimed in their British accents. Did you ever notice that things sound that much more ominous and important when uttered in a pure, English tongue? Well, it's true.
Lush Costa Rica
They then went on to tell us that 3 months is more than enough time in Northern Mexico, and that Costa Rica and The Galapagos were simply unmissable.
Oh, boy. A sense of anxiety rolled over me as they cajoled us with things like: "This is your one chance! You won't be going back! You must take this opportunity to see these extraordinary places while you can!"
Sigh. You guys -- stop it. Seriously. We have it all planned out. We're taking the SHORT CUT. Because it's EASIER. It's more DIRECT. It's LESS WORK.
Then they said: "And you can take a tiny detour and visit Cocos Island!"
OK, now this was playing dirty. Cocos Island is basically one of the wildest, most exotic destinations on earth. We have seen countless Discovery Channel specials on it. It is sort of the holy grail of SCUBA diving and ocean exploration.
Diving with hundreds of hammerheads at Cocos.
So now we're back in limbo. Which would YOU do: take the easier, single shot jump?
Or the longer, more tiring and complicated haul with the unspeakable charms of Costa Rica, Cocos Island, and the Galapagos?
Well, the beauty of sailing is that we don't need to decide right now. We have the charts and guidebooks for them all.
So we will do what all sailors have done since ancient times...we will follow the wind, and follow the weather...follow the floating breadcrumbs...
...and the path will become clear.