Mark and Helen Humphreys began living their dream early Wednesday morning on November 1.
It started not with a bang, but a with the dropping of a sail. The Humphreys are setting off on a two-year voyage to sail to Australia from their home in Jacksonville. Their 38-foot Catamaran named Charabia will be their four-bedroom two-bathroom home for the next 48 months.
"We actually would have gone all the way around the world," Helen said, "But there are too many troubled spots out there."
The Humphreys are no strangers to sailing the open seas. In 1995, they took a year and a half long trip from Toronto, Canada, down to the Bahamas and to Florida for hurricane season. They then returned to the Bahamas for four months before coming back to Jacksonville to work.
"We've got that history behind us where we lived on a boat and we liked it," Mark said. "It's a different lifestyle, but it's a good one."
Why now? Well, because they can.
A trip like this takes a lot of planning, preparation, time and money. Though it has been a dream of the Humphreys for a long time, they are finally in a position where they can make the trip. Not to mention, they found a boat to accommodate their needs.
"If you ask Mark," Helen laughed, "I packed for the whole darn trip, including food."
There will be times when the couple will be at sea for at least 15 days straight as they travel to their next destination, but Helen assures us she packed enough for their trip, and then some.
"We do have some shelf life food, which will last us regardless, so if we’re in a situation where we don’t have – which we’ll never be in that situation because I always over prepare," She said with somewhat of a sheepish grin.
Charabia is completely energy efficient. Mark installed solar panels on the back portion of the boat and there is a reverse osmosis process which will take in salt water and provide fresh water for the couple to use to drink and cook with. There is a stove and an oven in a small kitchen which runs on propane. There are engines on the boat, but there is no room for enough fuel, so they will be relying on wind to power their journey.
Though it seems like the pair will be sailing far from enough worries or troubles every mile they put land behind them, it's not entirely carefree.
"It’s all driven by the weather. You’re very dependent on which way the wind is blowing and how big the waves are and all that factors into when you move, what’s the right time to go to be comfortable and have a safe passage," Mark said. "It’s not totally carefree, there’s a lot of responsibility as far as everything you’ve pretty much got is in that boat and if you make a mistake and wreck it, then you can be in a lot of trouble."
Helen says she will miss things like watching tv. However, "He's added all the creature comforts we could ever ask for," Helen said before looking to her husband, "Right?"
To which Mark replied, "Yes dear, except air conditioning."
They'll watch DVDs and send messages to loved ones utilizing their satellite connection. But they'll both miss their car because while living on the boat, they will have to use a dingy to get to shore, then be pedestrians. But they said it is worth it to see the world.
First, they'll head to the Dry Tortugas National Park near the Florida Keys, around Cuba, then through the Panama Canal to Hawaii, French Polynesian and the Sea of Cortez and onward eventually docking in Australia.
"Don’t wait because you’ll get old and it’s a lot harder the older you get, to actually do it. It’s easier in some ways but it’s also a lot hard physically because we’re not as young as we used to be," said Mark.
"Yes, live your dream, live your dream every day," Helen added.
Bon Voyage, Humphreys, see you in 2019!
If you want to keep up with Mark and Helen's journey you can check out their blog here. The couple has said they will keep in touch with us as they make their journey around (part of) the world.