Lest you think that cruising is all sunsets and raft-up parties, I have to address the boring, the messy, and the frustrating parts of cruising.
Someone once said that cruising life amplified; the highs are high and the lows are really low. Lately I’ve been feeling like a stick in the mud, so I thought I’d harness all that negative energy. This blog is a lazy person’s scrapbook so much of it is devoted to the highs of cruising, the memories that I want to look back and savor. Today, I thought I’d share with you some of the lows:
:: Running your own municipality. A portion of our brains is always leaking energy worrying about things like: do we have enough water? (We haul drinking water in 5-gallon jerry cans) Are we getting enough charge from the solar panels? Do we need a pump-out? How much diesel do we have left? Is it time to do laundry again? Is there enough sun for a solar shower (to bathe the kids)? Do we still have propane to cook food?
:: Re-orienting at each stop. Another portion of our brain power is spent figuring out the public transportation and the local grocery stores. Once we get there, we have to adapt to a new grocery store layout, then schlep all the groceries back to the boat. The kids poke around complaining there’s nothing to do. These are often the unglamorous moments that don’t inspire me to whip out the camera.
:: Constantly monitoring the weather. We think about the weather right now, the weather tomorrow, and the weather a few days from now. And then we wonder how accurate the weather forecast is, whether the wind will shift while we are at anchor, and how much fetch we’d get. I forget how simple the days were on land when we just glanced out the window and stepped out the door. No more.
:: Somedays the sailing sucks. There is no wind, the horseflies decide to hold a convention on our boat, the prop gets fouled on sea grass, the secondary anchor won’t come up, or we’re stuck in the mud. On other days, there’s too much wind, the swells make some of us puke, or the dinghy flips.
:: Dinghying to land. When I was living at a marina, I took for granted the simple act of jumping out onto the dock. At anchorage (which is most of the time), Tig has to hoist the dinghy up off the deck, throw it into the water and assemble the two halves in the water. Then we have to gather the kids, get their life jackets, sun hats and shoes on before getting them into the dinghy. When we leave anchorage, we have to take the dinghy apart, haul it up to deck. Rinse and repeat.
:: Tempers flare. Yes, I’m so blessed to be able to spend so much time with my family. Yes, I love living more simply and being on the water. But some days, the toddler wants to be held right as we’re ready to drop the anchor. Someone needs to pee right when we need to change the sails. Everyone wants to be in the same square foot of the boat (which only has about 200 square feet). Some days, the toddler’s screaming, the engine is sputtering, the four-year old is whining, the captain is barking orders, and I want to throw myself off the boat.
That’s just a quick top of the head list of hard things about cruising. I don’t have the energy to re-hash the engine troubles and boat work.
After wallowing for a while, it’s time to pick myself off the muddy Chesapeake floor and look toward brighter horizons. One day after I had tweeted about a bad day of sailing. My buddy Judy retorted, “Even a bad day of sailing is better than a good day at the office.” Yes, my friend, you are right. Onward and upward.