Friday, February 28, 2014


Kabul, Afghanistan

The beginning of a gorgeous sunset.  

Once a month, on Fridays (hence the title Friday's Favorite Fiveduh), we will give you a list of favorites, or not so favorite things, related to cruising.  

Today you are about to experience the first.  :-)

While we have only cruised for 6 months (in the Bahamas in 2006), it didn’t take very long for us to realize there were a lot of things we loved about living in the tropics…. on a sailboat.  We did discovered that there is also a lot of work involved, that it’s not all fun and games, BUT, the good definitely outweighs the bad.  At some point later on, we may discuss our list of least favorite things about cruising, but for now, here is our most favorite thing list:

1) The Simple Life:
We don’t have TV, so we read and we have real conversations; we have no timelines, no deadlines, and no rat race.

We like not having so much stuff.  No matter how hard you try, if you live in a house on land that has X amount of storage, you will fill it up.  While living on land, most of the things we own we don’t really NEED.  We have learned that our happiness and contentment doesn’t depend on the “stuff” we own.  There is actually a lot of relief and freedom in downsizing.  When you live on a boat, you just don’t have room for un-necessary things.  You learn very quickly the things that are essential to a comfortable life afloat, you keep those (or purchase those), and you get rid of the rest.      

There is much less stress, particularly the chronic stress that can occur in our everyday land-based lives.  Now, admittedly, there ARE times of acute stress…strong thunderstorms, entering inlets at the less than ideal times, docking with strong currents or adverse winds, etc., but these don't occur that often, and when they do occur, they are over quickly and you get back to enjoying yourself and your surroundings.  There are no chronic stresses that reappear day after day after day.     

There is little need to wear a watch; no schedules, no appointments, no rush.  We go to bed soon after the sun sets, and we get up not long after the sun rises.  Your body does get into a real, natural rhythm that normally revolves around the sun.  After you adjust to the schedule, you are more rested when you wake up in the mornings, have more energy throughout the day, and generally just feel better.  In the cruising life, the old adage that “early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” is partially true…..IF we could only get that wealthy part to work out, we would be golden. 

We even enjoy your daily routine, including the chores (most of the time).  We plan and cook meals together, often based on what we caught or speared that day.


Norman's Cay, Exumas, Bahamas-2006

2) The Daily Activities:

We love the warm weather, the water, the beaches, and all the activities associated with them.   We enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, exploring uninhabited islands, shelling, walking beaches, seeing and experiencing the local culture.  While we do enjoy the solitude of remote anchorages, we also enjoy socializing occasionally.  There are opportunities for both.

I love spearfishing for food, especially when lobster season is open.  In the Bahamas you hunt while snorkeling/free diving (as opposed to scuba diving), so Dahleen will snorkel on the surface as I dive for food.  Sometimes, if there is a beach nearby, she will have me drop her off and she will enjoy the beach and keep an eye on me from there.  There is nothing like the thrill of the hunt, but we never take more than we can eat.  This trip we plan on purchasing an Engel freezer to increase our capacity to store seafood.  

3)  The Travel:

We both love to travel.  There is no way that we could afford to travel to the places that we plan to visit, and stay for the length of time that we plan to stay, if we didn’t do it via sailboat.  

While the initial cruising yacht costs are not insignificant by any stretch of the imagination, in the end it is the better travel deal.  The cost of living on a sailboat pales in comparison to land living.  

Total costs per month, while at anchor (not in a marina slip) will average between $1500 and $3000, depending on the area you are cruising in.  The Eastern Caribbean is more expensive than the Western, and the Pacific Islands are less than either.  The more time you spend in remote areas where spending money is not an option, the less expensive your living costs.  The caveat to that is, if you have to have things shipped to the Pacific Islands it will jack up your monthly expenditures.
It also gives us the flexibility to move when we want, and travel where we want, avoiding airports, layovers, and cramped airplanes.  After traveling from one side of the world to the other (repeatedly) over the past couple of years, if I never flew another commercial flight I would be happy.

Bahama Bank -2006

4)  The Sunsets and Sunrises:  

More the sunsets, than the sunrises.  I am not normally one that gets up before daylight unless it is necessary.  But, when we did we were rewarded with gorgeous sunrises.

Sunsets are an everyday social event.  Whether we are alone in a secluded anchorage, or gathered with other cruisers for sundowners or dinner, the sunsets are so spectacular that we almost always make a point of being in the cockpit to see the sun go below the ocean horizon. 

As a “dirt dweller”, I can count the number of times we have purposely made a point to watch a sunset on two hands.  We are always too busy, too occupied with something to slow down and enjoy those special scenes.

5)   The Sense of Community/Relationships

During the 6 months we spent cruising the Bahamas, we visited our neighbors more times than we did during the last 30 years living in various sub-divisions.  Granted we moved much more often living on a boat, so we had new neighbors more frequently, but the cruising lifestyle just cultivates the interaction that land-living doesn’t.  I am sure the leisurely paced living promotes more interaction also. 

Most everyone is so helpful, offering advice and labor any time you need something, expecting nothing in return.  For one thing, since we cruisers are all living in more remote areas, we tend to depend on each other more so than we would in a home surrounded with every type of repair service know to man.  Most cruisers become pretty self-sufficient fairly quickly, and they are willing to pass on what they have learned to someone else.  We/they have been assisted by someone at some point, and are just repaying the debt to the cruising community.  

While it is not all paradise, all the time, there are numerous things about 
cruising that make it an extremely desirable lifestyle for us.  

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