A Little Reflection and a Little Fishing
09 April 2011 | Thompson Bay, Long Island, Bahamas
Bud is out fishing in the dinghy. Fuzzy and I stayed on the boat, as there is no shade in the dinghy. I was going to brave the sun this time, but Bud was concerned that the sun would prove too much for the dog and I and that we would cut his fishing short. So here I am.
I changed the bed and did a little bit of hand wash, to tide us over until the next laundry, and thought I'd maybe take the time to reflect on cruising life so far, as Bob requested.
When I tried to pin down how this feels, the first thing that I realized it that it still feels tentative. We have only been out here 6 months, and we are only in the Bahamas. We don't feel like experienced cruisers at all. Georgetown is called "chicken harbor" because a lot of boaters get there and don't go further. We went out to Conception, and then down to Long Island, but both are just day cruises from Georgetown. And our plan now is to go back to the US for hurricane season. We have some family issues and some boat issues we need to resolve, and I don't think we'll feel like we're really on our way until we leave the second time.
The good thing about cruising as a retirement lifestyle is that it is engaging. You have to do a reasonable amount of work and planning to get the basic things you need - food, water, power; so you really can't just slip into automatic and let the days slide by. It's been fun meeting other people out here. It's sometimes frustrating to meet some people you really like, but then your journeys take you different ways. We've never sailed with anyone, even coming down here the folks we had talked to left earlier than we did, so we didn't know any of the boats we could see. I think we are more isolated because of Fuzzy. It's still hard to leave him alone, so we don't go out to the places where the cruisers gather in the evenings. (Saves a lot of money, though.) I would really like to have friends and family come and visit and sail with us. Hopefully that will happen sometime.
The sailing itself has been really nice. We love the wind, water, sky and the way this boat moves given any kind of chance at all. We're still trying to find a rhythm that works, between sailing and being at anchor. You can't sail every day, the preparations and the sail are too tiring. But you don't want to spend a week between sails unless something really special is happening. Three or four days at an anchorage seems about right.
I don't really have any other type of retirement to compare this to, I retired a year before we left but spent the majority of my time in preparation. And Bud was still working, so we weren't living a retirement lifestyle. Bud's last day of work was October 6, last fall and we left on October 13. So this is all we've done.
Anyway, Bud came back from fishing with no fish. He decided to try again at the end of the day, and this time, since the sun wouldn't be as intense, Fuzzy and I went along. We packed Fuzzy's supper and headed out. I took this photo of all of us in the dinghy fishing one of the deep holes (about 20 feet) in the harbor where snapper are supposed to hang out. You can readily see three things. Our dinghy is small, there are no fish in the boat, and there's not any action with the fishing lines. We stayed out a couple of hours and it was peaceful. I don't think peaceful is what Bud was after, but, oh well...