Ok, ok already. When we were posting blogs describing our movements up and down the east coast showing mundane pictures of Charleston, SC, Vero Beach, FL, Oriental, NC, no one gave it much thought. But now that we are posting blogs from the Bahamas, with beautiful blue water scenes of sugar-like sandy beaches, snorkeling, catching monster lobsters, enjoying yummy rum drinks…now the questions begin: “How can I get me some of that?” Well you can’t; or at least probably not this year anyway. It is too late to join us in the Bahamas; we plan to return to the states in the next weather window. And anyway, we are just getting through our “rookie” season, trying to learn some places, times, things to do, sailing routes….so next season will be way better to fly in and meet us sometime/somewhere (like to return for the snorkeling Easter egg hunt at Nipper’s, below, it was a hoot!).
Some of the more curious want to know what it is “really like” and/or what it costs, what a “normal” day is like. First, there are no “normal” days. Each day is different, some full of surprises, many with more surprises than you want, some you want to forget, some frustrating, others totally relaxing, blissful even! If you are sitting at anchor in a place with “all-around protection”, swimming in the blue water on a deserted beach or at a marina dock in paradise with Jimmy Buffet on the stereo and a margarita in your hand… blissful! If you are pounding into 5ft seas, or dragging anchor in some exposed anchorage, or down in the bilge covered with grease trying to get something critical to work, or winding your way thru water too shallow for your boat…well, not so much fun. But each day is different, and for the most part, you can control your exposure to each experience. If you are hell bent to get someplace, moving all the time, the weather is not your friend; and this can be frustrating, tough on you and the boat. But if you have no schedule, planned well ahead enough to get out of the way of bad weather, ask lots of questions, and put plenty of chips, ahead of time, into your seamanship chest, well then your exposure to “bad” days can be minimized. I like that, it goes well with my life-long mantra: “You can control time, or will be controlled by it; there is no middle ground!” Yea, caca still happens…that brand new engine oil cooler can spring a leak, no one predicted this crummy western swell…but you just learn to roll with the punches, and the great days far out-number the bad.
The even more curious seem to want to “get some of that” for themselves. So how do you do it? What does it cost? FIRST: DO IT NOW, STOP ALL THE TALK, AND DO NOT PROCRASTINATE! As a wise person once said: you rarely/never regret what you do, only what you do not do. Sell all your “things”; that is all they are, just things. Buy a boat that will take you where you want to go; you don’t need a “brick shithouse” if all you want to do is cruise up and down the coast and in the Bahamas. We have seen many 30ft 40-year-old boats out cruising that, I’ll bet, cost less than your last car. It can be rather Spartan, but it need not be “camping out”. Most small cruisers have hot and cold running water, showers, refrigeration…but you don’t need AC, a big screen TV or that surround-sound stereo. Aspire to live a simple life, and you can do it! Yes it was scary at first, but the longer we do it, the more comfortable it gets, the less we miss the land-life. The picture below is of a humble Catalina 25 in New Plymouth Harbor, Green Turtle Cay…proving that Matt M., Jim C., and Richard E. can all do this with their current boats.
We have an enormous budget, by comparison to many. Except for the initial costs of getting the boat set up with the proper/up-to-date equipment, we planned for $100 per day every day the boat was “in service”. This includes fuel, dockage, annual maintenance, repairs, food, you name it. So far, that has not been too far off. It is much less per day ($25) when we are at our house in Venice and the boat is just “stored” somewhere. Obviously, we don’t spend too much time at $100 per night marinas (we would have to go to bed hungry), but $50 per night, yes, some. But we like to anchor out majority of time; it is free! Walks on the beach replace a night at the movies (as if Shep went to movies). Hosting a “dinghy drift” has replaced Superbowl parties… Anyway, come do it! Even though we are making new boat friends, we miss our old, land-based peeps.