It’s hard to say exactly when our journey begins, as the lives of the crew and our home (better known as Wisdom) have slowly come together through a multi-month progression. So, for now, I’ll just say it begins in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the Hilton Marina in June of 2021; I’ll save pre-Fort Lauderdale for another time.

Our days at the dock consisted of six and a half weeks of mechanical, electrical, industrial, interior and exterior labor, plus everything in between. On any given day, there were between five and fifteen people running in, on and around the boat. It was a mad rush to get the boat ready to head south for hurricane season. There were contractors working on the engine, the air conditioning, the hydraulics, the sails, the teak, and day workers providing a hand wherever it was needed.

Wisdom on July 8th, 2021. Anna is rigged up to the top of the mast cleaning the wind radar while contractors come to and from the boat.

Wisdom Yacht on July 8 2021 with crew member Anna on top mast
Wisdom Engineer Cesar on his birthday

Cesar, the engineer, celebrating his 43rd birthday after lunch on Wisdom.

Our engineer, Cesar, was busy managing and troubleshooting numerous different issues around the boat. To put it bluntly, our sailing yacht, Wisdom, is a thirty-two-year-old vessel and had some fixer-upper work to be done before it would be ready to set sail come August; so, we put our noses to the grindstone and got to work.

Robin, our cook, was busy organizing and preparing the galley to get ready for provisioning, as well as cooking three meals a day. We prepared the crew and guest bedrooms and took inventory of essentially everything on Wisdom. Robin and I dealt with the entire interior of the boat, whether that was organizing, cleaning, identifying issues or managing day workers. Before Wisdom was a part of I Can, it was privately owned and utilized for cruising purposes (it’s completed three circumnavigations!), so our job was to revamp the interior into what would serve as a training vessel for young adults learning how to sail (aka less wine racks and more books).

In addition to working out the interior and exterior of the boat, we also had some new crew members join us in our upcoming expedition: first and foremost, Steve joined Wisdom as the new captain, and Alex came on board as chief mate. Tyler, the dive master, also helped out around Wisdom when he could and would join us on our voyage south to the Bahamas and Antigua.

Wisdom Mid yard with storage bins full of equipment

Wisdom, mid-yard period on June 26th, 2021.

In light of such intense work days, we also had the opportunity to bond not only with our fellow crew members, but with the workers and contractors we spent our humid, laborious Florida days with; we simply could not have accomplished what we did without their dedication and energy, day in and day out. We hosted barbeques, celebrated birthdays and built relationships that are bound to last longer than we ever could have imagined upon our arrival at the dock. In the midst of a chaotic yard period, we managed to create a family amongst those we spent our most grueling hours.

We arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, June 7th and departed for the first leg of our trip on Saturday, July 24th. Between our arrival and our departure, Wisdom underwent a renovation which gave it both a fresh look—adorned with a brand new Bimini, a proper name and a much-needed interior sweep—as well as a mechanical and electrical renovation of the vessel.

Our time in Fort Lauderdale is what I perceive to be the prologue of a long and arduous expedition. As we packed, prepped and provisioned, it came to our realization that the journey was just beginning and the adventures ahead would far exceed the day to day tasks which we endured in those six weeks. As we continue our journey, we could not be more thankful for the help and friendships that we built in our time at the marina

Wisdom from the top of the Mast

View of Wisdom from the top of the mast.