Everywhere

We turned a corner a few weeks back.  We crossed the Gulf Stream: the warm northward running current between Florida and the Bahamas.  We were back in the U.S.  We’d been looking forward to this milestone for months, but when it came—as with any ending/beginning—it was bitter sweet.  We miss sailing in the Caribbean and Bahamas, where life is a little tougher but simpler.  That said, the East Coast has brought with it’s own set of welcome surprises.  Here is my list contrasting the two regions:

WATER

Caribbean/Bahamas: 
Crystal clear water; good visibility.  Makes for easy hull cleaning : ) 
U.S. East Coast: 
The water is clean, but clouded with silt.  Surprisingly, the cleanest water by far (according to our water tester) was in North Carolina.  The quality was that of high-end mineral water.  Marshes make miraculously clean water.  Maybe we should keep more of them around.

STUFF

Caribbean/Bahamas:
Getting stuff can be hard.  In the spring, we ordered a generator.   For them to process the order, I had to first call them using international roaming minutes to confirm that yes, New York, NY was the correct billing address.  Then it was shipped from Ohio to Miami, where we'd contracted with a freight forwarding service that put it on a cargo ship to St. Martin.  It took a few weeks, but it eventually arrived. 
U.S. East Coast:
Getting stuff is easier.  Home Depot.  Target.  West Marine.  You name it, they sell it.  Just rent/borrow a car and everything is at your finger tips.

GO / STAY

Caribbean/Bahamas: 
We spent most of our time at anchor, experiencing a new place deeply.
U.S. East Coast: 
We stay shorter times in each anchorage.  Our sailing has been more about covering distances; getting somewhere.

WHERE YOU SLEEP

Caribbean/Bahamas: 
People anchor their boats.
U.S. East Coast: 
People stay at marinas.

POWER VS. SAIL

Caribbean/Bahamas:
People own sailboats.
U.S. East Coast:
People own powerboats.

SAILING

Caribbean/Bahamas: 
We "sailed" with our sails.  We only motored when traveling upwind.  More fun, less predictable.
U.S. East Coast: 
We "sail" with the motor on quite a bit.  Less adventurous, more predictable.

KEEPING IN TOUCH

Caribbean/Bahamas: 
WiFi was easier to get.  There were more open networks, and/or we could buy a day/week/month's worth of connectivity from a shore-side source.  Phone communication was hard.
U.S. East Coast: 
Phone communication is easy, but WiFi is hard.   We have good 3G/4G service via AT&T, but getting WiFi became tricky.  Most of the networks are password protected and/or don't sell access in shorter increments.

COMMUNITY

Caribbean/Bahamas: 
Boaters are a community of people that talked to each other, both for fun, safety and convenience.  Our favorite was the cruisers net in St. Martin:  7:30am, Mon-Sat, hosted by Mike at Shrimpy's laundry, Channel 10 on the VHF.  You get plugged into a community immediately.
U.S. East Coast:  
We’ve met very few new people on the water : (  The wonderful exceptions have been the Yacoe's on s/v Little Wing.  That said, we've seen so many long-time friends and family (see below).

FRIENDS

Caribbean/Bahamas:  
We never had friends waiting for us anywhere along the way, but we made friends in an instant.  And those friendships have come to mean so much.
U.S. East Coast:  
We’ve been welcomed in and invited over by family and long-time friends more than I ever would have expected.  (Andy & Shari in W. Palm Beach, Nathan and Brooke in Cape Canaveral/St. Cloud, the Alonso’s (Discovery's) pier in New Smyrna, FL, Matt & Julie in St. Simon's GA, Larry and Penny in Brunswick, GA, Sam & Laura in Charleston, SC, Cannon & Kassie also in Charleston, Travis & Jamie in Newport News, VA, my Mom & Dad in Springfield, VA : )  

In the end, it's the people that matter...at least to us.  We're grateful that we've been able to make so many new friends along the way, and reconnect with so many old friends.  As Emily has so aptly pointed out, people are amazing...everywhere.

P.S. and one of these places is warmer than the other.