Snapshot: 3 years of cruising
At 2 months and at 12 months, Carol and I answered a bunch of questions about cruising. At 12 months I added some more questions than we answered at 2 months and this time I’ve slimmed them down again a bit. Here we go again with quite a few more miles under our belts. We answered all of the questions independently.
What do you love about cruising?
Carol: I like the adventure. I like the people – local and boaters. I like the fact that everyone I know back home is jealous.
Livia: (In French Polynesia) I see something that is mind bogglingly beautiful in nature, on a daily basis, often more than once a day.
What do you dislike about cruising?
Carol: Being run by the weather. The weather controls my life. We chose this. I could go to only protected anchorages but I choose to go places where weather can chase me out at any point.
Livia: I’m tired a lot, either emotionally or physically. I didn’t realize how much of my life as a working woman involved chilling out. Pre-cruising I spent a lot of time sitting in front of a computer, or driving (not in traffic) and those hours added up to a lot of dead time. Now, I always seem like I’m having to say “I need a break” and making a conscious choice to sit down and relax/rest. Obviously, this reflects the activity-driven way that we cruise. My new theory is that everyone has an ideal number of activities per day and mine is 2-3 medium (snorkel, hike on motu, campfire) or 1-2 biggie (most of the day transit, kiting). Carol’s is virtually unlimited. Also, I miss my family.
What do you worry about?
Carol: Getting complacent. Not appreciating what I have in front of me, getting bored of it. That is why it is good to hang out with vacationers.
Livia: We made the choice to go cruising which was big and scary. Now that we are out here, totally in charge of our happiness on a daily basis, I worry about whether there is something else we could be doing that would be even better. It’s a high class worry, but hey, I only have one lifetime.
Carol: Be careful who you listen to. Be a researcher not a follower.
Livia: I wish someone had told me how much of what I was reading about “how to cruise” and “what gear or boat you need” was influenced by N American culture. I wish I had talked to a few cruisers from other countries about boat types and gear so that I could see how much of what is passed around in books, boat shows and forums in the US and Canada is influenced by a fear-based, risk-adverse mindset. I’m not sure if I would have made any different choices but it would have been freeing to see other viewpoints on things like cored hulls, fin keels and multi-hulls.
What are you looking forward to?
Carol: Nothing. I’m here. I’ve got it.
Livia: I’m so happy here in French Polynesia that I am (for once in my life) mostly living in the moment. If pressed, I would say I’m looking forward to another few years in the Pacific, particularly the Marshall Islands and stopping in some out-of-the way places like Kiribas, and Wallis and Futuna.
Favorite place recently was
Carol: Everywhere has had a good surprise. Now that we have time, it is easier to enjoy every place either because we meet cool people or because the place was fantastic/gorgeous.
Livia: Oh Tahanea, how I love thee. Let me count the ways...
Least favorite place recently was
Carol: No answer to this one.
Livia: I’m probably going to get my butt kicked for saying this but I have to say that my least favorite place recently was our recent trip back to Washington State. I *loved* seeing my family and friends and I still think Washington has a lot of beautiful places but if you stack up all of the places I’ve been recently Washington stands out at the bottom of the list.
A lesson learned is that
Carol: Chill out, you could be in Moose Jaw. .
Livia: I actually like buddy boating. With the right crew, it is amazing. I’ve also learned that I really enjoy having non-boaters aboard our boat, whether they are local residents or they are travelers in a hotel, I enjoy having non-cruisers aboard.
Best gear award goes to...
Carol: I am really impressed with our new tow generator (until we lost the prop). We should have bought one before.
Livia: Our new 9’ semi-rigid dinghy with a 15HP engine. Although I love the fact that even though we have it, we still paddle our kayak half the time.
Worst gear award goes to...
Carol: Our watermaker (Powersurvivor 40E). On paper it looks good but then we realized that you don’t get what you expect. We wanted to run it overnight but our volts overnight are so much less than the output specs are based on that we don’t. In general, watermakers are a pain in the ass unless you have a mechanical one that doesn’t use your batteries…but they are necessary.
Livia: All plugs. We had a microphone for our VHF radio in the cockpit and the connection always corroded and it finally died. All of the stuff that plugs into our 9V outlet in the cockpit gets corroded connectors. Our quick disconnect plug for our solar panels has given us problems. The 9V plugs in our navigation station are annoying. Our handheld GPS plugs have corroded. Salt air gets at the plugs it seems before anything else on the units.
What is something that you read or heard about cruising, that you didn't find to be true?
Carol: “Boatwork in paradise”. Yes, you have to do work but it really isn’t just that. If you want to work all of the time on your boat, you can, but if you pick up some hobbies and keep your boat simple, it isn’t just that. Yes, you have to maintain your equipment but it hasn’t been just that so far for us.
Livia: I heard over and over that cruising is hard, but ultimately that it is rewarding. For me this is true, but I find that I’ve met a fair number of people who don’t find the actual process of cruising fun, and who stick it out only because they set themselves a goal and invested so much time into it. You might be surprised at how many people I meet cruising who don’t seem to be actually enjoying themselves.
What is something that you read or heard about cruising, that you found particularly accurate?
Carol: Go young.
Livia: We’ve met some really wonderful people. As cruisers Carol and I are focused on the outdoors, and outdoor sports, but I’ve spent a lot of the last year in the company of kindred souls and that has really changed our perspective on what we want from cruising.
What question do you wish I would have asked you besides the ones I've asked you and how would you answer it?
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