...And the Envelope, Please
16 September 2009 | Deltaville, VA
Lynn and Ken
We are definitely not world travellers but we've had some interesting experiences in the past year. In this blog, we will share with you some of the highlights (and maybe some of the bad parts) of this last year...
Finally getting away from the dock - this was a big psychological jump for us. We were past working on the boat and now we actually had to go somewhere. Talk was cheap...it was time to go! The send-off from the membership at Queen City Yacht Club was very moving (we left on race night!).
Crossing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas - this was our third overnight sail, but this time we were going away from the Continent. We were sailing to a country that we couldn't get to by car! At night the stars were so clear and numerous. The water colour changed from dark blue to a lighter blue to the green of the shallow banks. We had never seen water like that before, nor the flying fish that skimmed along the top of the waves.
Our first walk on a deserted Bahamian beach at Chub Cay - stepping out from a Causarina stand and into the sunshine onto a white beach, with just one sailboat at anchor, bobbing gracefully in the clear blue water. We even found a conch shell.
The first time we anchored in the Exumas at Norman's Cay - we finally had the chance to really appreciate just how clear the water was, and how deserted it can seem to be.
(Ken's choice) - Audrey and I going for a walk on Bitter Guana Cay, and being "chased" by an Iguana. He says he can just picture me yelling at it to "#*$% off!"
And the downsides...
"Get into the boat. NOW!" - a 10 foot shark maybe a hundred feet from the boat while we were swimming was quite disconcerting. Ken wouldn't go swimming anywhere without me standing watch after that.
Being 15 miles off-shore with an inaccurate weather forecast - the forecast was 15-20 knots, but we ended up getting 30-35 knots on the nose. We were avoiding "charted fish havens" (they fish there), and we eventually saw a number of lights ahead of us that we thought was a fleet of fishing boats. They ended up being container ships anchored outside of Tybee Roads (the Savannah River). As we made our way up the Savannah, I (Lynn) was wiped out because of the Gravol I had taken for seasickness. Ken had to do the full 5 hours up the river as I was falling asleep standing up. It was also became very cold, to add the extra kicker.
Charleston Customs - they are overbearing and over the top. At least in my opinion...nuff said.
Somewhere in that in-between area, and certainly a memorable experience, was the episode with the crabs in Georgia.
The number one highlight of the year was all of the fantastic people we have met. Something tells me that will always be the best part of cruising
And that pretty much sums it up for this year!
One Year Later
15 September 2009 | Deltaville, VA
As Ken and I approach our one year anniversary of being full-time cruisers (and two years married!), I have chosen to do a couple of reflective pieces for the Blog. This also makes it easier to write as we are still in Deltaville, and there isn't that much to write about at this time!
"What we have learned in one year of cruising" (feel free to cue dramatic music there!)
1. Be flexible. You never know when a better opportunity or experience will present itself. Flexibility will allow you to keep your sanity, and sometimes safety.
2. Keep your long term plans to yourself. Many cruisers, ourselves included, end up eating a little crow because we advertise grandiose plans, then end up changing them for whatever reason for something more low-key. It's okay to change your plans - see number one - it's just easier when you don't have to embarrass yourself or worry about what others might think!
3. Be nice to everyone. This may sound obvious, but by saying "Good day" or "How are you", you make yourself available to meet nice people. Stopping to chat with a complete stranger can open up some wonderful friendships and opportunities. And you never know when that jerk you wanted to yell at for waking you might be next to you in a marina or anchorage!
4. Keep it (reasonably) simple. The less stuff you have to fix, the more time you have to play. Also, the simpler your systems, the higher the likelihood that you can affect some kind of repair in out of the way places.
5. Keep tabs on your expenses. Ken and I aren't prone to the "accounting" mentality, but keeping a spreadsheet of expenses is a darned good way to help keep spending in line. We should have done that a lot sooner.
6. All cruising advice is opinion. One person's favourite spot could be someone else's "worst place" - it depends on their experiences there. Example - we found checking in at Chub Cay easy, but another couple we met had a poor experience there.
7. Everything is a compromise. Pristine, secluded beaches don't have supermarkets! Big, roomy boats incur bigger costs. Water makers are expensive, but allow you to not have to be so frugal with water. Just don't compromise on your anchor and chain!
8. You need a reliable dinghy. This is your "family wagon" - without a reliable dinghy, you are stuck.
I think that pretty much sums up the basics for now. We'll see if the list stays somewhat the same next year!
Next Blog.... one year highlights.