First of all, let me start by wishing all our loyal and new readers a happy new year! 2023 was an exciting year and the first one where we felt that the pandemic was finally over and life was more or less back to normal. I was busy sailing Ellidah from Trinidad to Martinique to install our new watermaker before continuing with a crew of two and a buddy boat due west.
We landed on Bonaire for a week of diving fun and to meet up with Julia, who sailed with us back in 2022. Next, we continued down to Colombia for a month of backpacking through the natural reserve, Cartagena, and Medellin on land before continuing to Guna Yala in Panama towards the end of the season.
After spending a month between small islands with wooden huts with straw roofs occupied by ultra-friendly natives, we finally sailed to Bocas del Toro to park Ellidah and end the season. By then, the thunder was rumbling several times daily, and the humidity was off the charts!
Between these adventures, I’ve been working on helpful content on this website, which I will publish in separate posts. Starlink made it possible to stay connected underway, but it has been hard to keep a balance of working on the computer while also enjoying the paradise-like surroundings we’ve been sailing in.
LUXlife Sailing Blog Of The Year 2023 – Europe
LUXlife emailed me and said that Sailing Ellidah had been nominated for one of their nautical tourism awards for 2023. How cool is that?! At the end of the year, they got in touch again with congratulations that we were awarded Sailing Blog Of The Year 2023 – Europe.
This was a sweet achievement for us and a massive tap on the shoulder, giving great motivation to continue what we’re doing – sailing, cruising, and living the best life possible while creating and sharing stories along with helpful tips and guides to inspire those of you who dream of setting off on your own adventure.
But let me tell you one thing that has been tough this year. Most of our readers find us through a Google search. Maybe you are one of them. Maybe you were wondering about how to anchor a sailboat and found our article. Or maybe you were looking for some nautical terms. Either way, we have previously had great exposure in the search results.
Lately, however, Google has shaken things up quite a bit. We’ve lost a ton of exposure in the search results, and sadly, we’ve lost more than 70% of our traffic. Instead of growing, we’re actually shrinking.
So what do we do about that?
Sailing Ellidah in 2024
I will continue to create helpful content for you. As a matter of fact, I’ll even up the game and try to catch up on the stories that haven’t been published yet. And there are loads of them! What you can do to support us is to share the content you like and keep visiting us for new stuff.
But I’ll also have to spend most of the year working through my profession to save up money. The coming sailing season will be short, with possibly just a few months of sailing as a vacation rather than full-time. It doesn’t mean that our circumnavigation is canceled, but rather that it is on hold for now.
Luckily, Ellidah is in great shape and well-equipped for whatever I decide to do. I’m playing with a few different ideas for the years to come.
1. Crossing the Atlantic and sailing back to the Mediterranean
The med is close to Norway, and commuting was easy when we cruised there a few years back. Even after spending two seasons there, I’ve barely scratched the surface of its vast selection of great sailing destinations. I could see myself spending more time in Greece, for example. Which is actually where I’m at as I write this. Just this time, I’m at work.
2. Sailing back to Norway and exploring our vast coastline
Sailing Ellidah back to Norway would be really cool. We have a pretty long coastline full of gorgeous fjords and islands, making it a paradise for sailors. For those who don’t mind the long and cold winters and relatively chilly summers. On the other hand, I could park her just across the road from my house in the local marina. That would be a great base to explore Lofoten by sea and maybe even do an expedition to Svalbard.
3. Continuing cruising the Caribbean
The easiest alternative would be just to keep Ellidah in the Caribbean and spend a couple of long vacations a year there during the cold Norwegian winters. I’d take another trip down to Guna Yala and visit Providencia and San Andres. I could also continue west, revisit the Honduras Bay islands, sail to Guatemala, and explore Rio Dulce. I don’t really feel any urge to revisit the eastern Caribbean.
4. Crossing the Panama Canal and continuing into the Pacific
Sailing into the Pacific and exploring the South Pacific atolls and islands was one of the dreams that got me into sailing in the first place. Especially the more remote ones like Tuvalu and Kiribati. Also, continuing into Southeast Asia has been a big dream after spending so much time backpacking on land down there. Whatever I decide to do next, this one will stay on my list until I can fulfill it, whenever possible.
5. Sell Ellidah and buy Ellidah II when the time is right to continue
Just the thought of selling Ellidah breaks my heart. She has been solid, safe, and comfortable for thousands of nautical miles. She has been my home for years. I’ve worked my butt off with upgrades and improvements, and she is truly in excellent shape. We have made memories and friendships that will stick for life.
Ellidah made it possible for me to embark on my life’s biggest adventure, which has changed me in so many ways. But from an economic point of view, selling her would be the smart move if it turns out that I’ll stay land-based for a longer time. The storage expenses are pretty significant and may not be justifiable unless I continue to spend many months a year on board in the years ahead.
So, what’s next?
That’s the big question: What’s next?
Ellidah will stay in the Caribbean through 2024. As I mentioned earlier, I’ll take a few sailing vacations this year and enjoy Guna Yala, more commonly known as San Blas. I don’t plan on making big passages or covering greater distances this year. I’ll miss those long, sweet passages, but I know I’ll be ready for the Pacific eventually. But whether I’ll sell or make a detour back to Norway or the Med in between is unknown for now. I’ll for sure let you know when I know.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, especially if you’ve been in a similar situation before!