Tuesday, 5 August 2014

the vortex that is land

This was a good sunrise.
My life sounds very different than it did only 2 months ago. There is the whirr of a sewing machine, the grumblings of a “real fridge”, the splash of running water. Most strange of all though, is the muffled hum of the wind. It seems so far away

Sunday at the races
I had forgotten how insular life on land could feel. As we enter our second month of house-sitting, our life also looks very different now. We have a lovely view of the channel from the house. And the Tuis keep us entertained during the day, while the Moreporks hoot at night. We look down at yachts sailing by and occasionally feel a twinge of jealousy. Though, we do relish our perch on the hillside. It is after all, still a novelty. And we have so much space: storage space, work space, wasted space. The first week we were in the house, Rick would wander from room to room like a lost puppy, repeating: “This is so luxurious…” We sometimes have to walk three boat-lengths just to go pee.

Tearing Nyon apart
Don’t get me wrong, we are grateful to spend time in a house during the worst of this New Zealand winter. And we are happy to share our space with a spirited cat named Davey. Yet, we miss Nyon, but Nyon is a mess right now anyway. What better time for a makeover, right? When we agreed to house-sit for 3 months, we realized it was an opportunity to get some long overdue work done in the cabin: work that would have been pure hell on our marriage had we tried to live aboard at the same time.

Rick has been working on Nyon every chance he gets. He redesigned our saloon settee/berth and has been tearing things apart. Judging from the photos, he’s begun putting things back together again. He’s also building in refrigeration and adding lockers so we can finally hide our mess. We don’t own much, but our belongings have the irritating habit of spreading out all over the cabin. We hope that with extra lockers, we can hide the fact that our boat is not always shipshape.


The settee that could:
Adding a berth on Nyon

Thank you Sailrite (and Ariel)
Since our settee will have a different outline, we decided it was time to get new cushions. Gone are the tired old velvet cushions. Enter the Sailrite sewing machine and multi-coloured fabrics. Rick’s boss Ariel, kindly lent me her old sewing machine, so that I could sew new cushion covers. It’s been one steep learning curve, surprisingly it has been fun too. (No really, it has, except for a few tears and cusses.) The dining room is my sewing room. The garage is my workshop. There, I am refinishing Nyon’s sole (floor) and cabinetry that we have removed from the boat. 

Our to-do lists are long. Wish us luck. As long as we are mostly finished by September 24, we’ll be able to move back aboard. I want to spend my birthday at anchor in the Bay of Islands. And then… Well, there is the outside of Nyon to tackle. It will be time to haul out again before all the cruisers make their way back to New Zealand and the busy "work" season begins.


First three cushions.
Yes, we are embracing our inner gypsies.
Now you know why we have been silent on the blog front. This is the longest we have been off the boat in seven years. Already, we are dreaming of being at anchor on a sunny spring day. Home for me is Rick, but Nyon is the icing on the cake. There is no doubt in my mind, I miss the sweetness of life on the water.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

sometimes, friend

Old friends. 'Nuff said.
Today, I was thinking about friends. Old friends. You know: the kind whose friendship is so comfortable, spending time with them is like slipping into a nicely worn pair of jeans. These friends are practically family, without the complications. They knew you when you were younger and stupider. (Then again, you knew them when they were younger and stupider too.) They are among the friends I still miss, along with those that were more recently in my every day before we left Canada. Then there are the friends that belong to a larger group. We liked them or we liked the same activities and that was that. We also had friendships that grew after we went offshore through letters and messages.  And of course, there are the friends I let go or that let me go, because things changed between us.

Our everyday peeps back in Canada
 Mentors turned friends, Bjarne and Barb (not pictured),
joined us in Mexico for some fun in the sun
(Sorry boys, I couldn't help it!)

More than one person has asked me, “But what about friendships among voyagers?” How are they different?

After climbing Mt. Otemanu
with the gang on Bora Bora 
There are the whirlwind friends, (usually a few boats that end up traveling in the same general area). Perhaps those connections are more superficial, but you have enough bodies to make for a dynamic group with whom you spend an intense but short time that you remember with a smile. We met such a group in Bora Bora. We hiked and played like a bunch of kids.

Two crazies we just don't want to
get rid of

Then there are the “couple” friends. We are two on our boat, and sometimes we’d meet another two we hit it off with on another yacht. Every now and then, we’d decide to travel together for a while. This happened to us more than once. It turns out that two-boat adventures were double the fun.

The guys and I on Isla Danzante

Most of the single-handers we’ve met are guys. I find that single-handers often don’t get a fair shake. There’s an attitude that maybe something is wrong with someone who chooses to sail the world alone. We’ve enjoyed meeting some pretty quirky and interesting solo travelers. We don’t need even numbers to call someone a friend. One solo sailor traveled with us for a summer in the Sea of Cortez. Of course, there are the anchorage friends: those definitely belong in the acquaintance category. A social butterfly in an anchorage decides to invite all the anchored boats to the beach for some type of social event, like a potluck. It’s a lot of, “I’m so and so from that boat, went here and here, and am going there, etc.” This can be a lot of fun and exhausting. 
Hanging out on Nyon with
Sabine

In more isolated bays, we met locals who welcomed us into their homes, and shared the food they’d caught. And I met Sabine in Taiohae, the capital of the Marquesas. Before long we were laughing over Nyon’s stove about the language barrier between her partner Jonathan and Rick. (I was the only one that spoke both French and English.) After visits and hugs, we made promises and waved goodbye while wondering if we’d ever see each other again.

In Mexico: Rick and Holly (Wondertime)
relax after playing in the waves
There is one other type of friend we’ve made while cruising: they’re known as the kid boats. We call them that because, well, they’re boats with kids on them: families sailing the 7 seas with children of all ages, including babies and even teenagers, like our friends on Letitgo. Being a non-kid boat, we were not usually in their primary social hub, but we occasionally did “break in”. It’s a special thing to find a kindred spirit in an 8 year old artist or discover a new bay through the eyes of a 3 year old. We found that cruising kids are a neat bunch, the parents themselves tend to be pretty damn cool too.


I feel the need to mention “Internet” friends. Are they valid friendships? They have the potential to be. Through social media and blogs, we voyagers meet like-minded sailors or travelers who share some of our values and interests. While these friendships might not always run deep, they are one way to find support from people (when there is Internet access) who understand what weathering a storm on a yacht is like, or the emotions that run through you when you see land after 25 days at sea. These contacts are also great when it comes to sharing information about sailing into new countries or out-of-the way places.

Bella Star and Dream Time: 2 degrees of Separation
Occasionally, you end up meeting some of them along the way. It’s grand when you realize you like them even more in person than you thought you would. We were first in contact with Aaron and Nicole (Bella Star) through the crew of Estrellita whom we hadn’t met either. We all left from the Northeastern Pacific to go cruising around the same time and read each other’s blogs along the way. Rick and I eventually met both crews which was great fun, (though we didn’t meet one of the crews until 2 years after we’d left Canada, and only very briefly!) It was also because of Estrellita (thanks guys!) that we met the crews of Cariba and Dream Time. Forget the 6 degrees of separation, in the cruising community, make that 2.

But can the people you meet as a transient become friend friends: the kind that you are heartbroken to say goodbye to as you sail off over a different horizon? The sort that you know are kindred spirits after a short time, where you tell each other as many of your favourite stories as you can, all the while wondering how it is that you already feel like old friends. Do those friends even exist out here? Yes, yes, they do. It’s not everyone, but you recognize them when you see them.

Reunited after 2 years!
In my naïveté, I had expected to meet more of them when we first began to sail abroad. I learned that those connections are something to be cherished. Because if you do meet kindred spirits, they may not be sailing in the same direction, or they might be living on the land you are passing through. You have days, (and if you’re lucky) weeks to get to know each other before the friendship becomes long-distance. What is it that makes you connect with another person like that? For us it’s when our interactions quickly become effortless, by reaching a certain level of candor through stories and laughter. Among other fine sailors, we experienced this with an Aussie boat called Storm Bay. Chris and Margie popped into our lives in Victoria (as they cruised through) and we met up again in the Northern Sea of Cortez 2 years later. They are now in Chile and we are in New Zealand. We still write and follow each other’s journeys. Maybe one day, our wakes will cross again, we’d really like that. (I just need to convince Rick that he wants to go around Cape Horn!)

Girl Time
One of my walking buddies
Some friendships take off with “that first talk”. I don’t know how many of you that cruise or travel have had that happen. You meet someone, and there’s an instant connection. Or maybe there wasn’t one right away, but a couple anchorages later, something clicks. You happened to be chilling out on the same beach, or agreed to meet for an early morning walk. One of you opens up, shares something a little more personal. And you both dive into a juicy conversation that is more raw and honest than what you’ve experienced in a few months of encounters. In the end, you leave each other with lighter hearts. It can be that you go your separate ways never to see each other again, or that conversation can be the seed for a newfound friendship.

Buddy boating with Gab (above) and Issy throughout the
the Society Island was awesome. 
While voyaging on the ocean and hopping from island to island, I learned to accept that friendships come and go. Some associations survive in a finite place and time. But some connections do have staying power, and those ones are worth the heartbreak of inevitable goodbyes. Because when you end up anchored in the same part of the world once again, it’s like you’re finding an old part of yourself. Sweet is the taste of meals shared with friends who last hugged you thousands of miles away. Sooner or later, you have to say goodbye all over again. Such is the life of a voyager.

Having said all that, it is undeniable that there were times on our journey when we felt awfully lonely. Short meetings with lovely people left us hungry for more. The intermittent contact with friends and family back home was not enough either.  In time, Rick and I realized that we had to work hard at being each other’s best friend because of our transitory lifestyle. And when you spend a lot of time together in sometimes challenging circumstances, it means you have to forgive easily and laugh a lot. There aren’t too many people I could share what I shared with Rick on this voyage so far. Yet we both do value our connection with the people around us. It’s important to reach out when you travel. Half the fun is the people you meet. Sometimes, they turn into a good story. Sometimes, they become friends. And sometimes, they’re both.

NOTE: Thank you for putting up with my need to cram as many photos as I could in this article. Many special people are missing, but you get the idea...

Monday, 21 April 2014

oh happy day

Morning light
One of  our favourite things to do while anchored out in the Bay of Islands is barefoot tramping. (Now before you let you mind run to the gutter...) Tramping is the Kiwi word for hiking or walking. And those Kiwis, they like tramping. Maybe that's why I like them so much. As far as we're concerned, when we're hiking here, shoes are optional. And other than a minor injury from a particularly razor sharp blade of grass, we ran around Moturua Island like happy hippies. Best. Day. Ever. 


"Rick, show me how you're feeling today!"

Colour bliss

Isn't this lovely? I wish you could hear the Tuis
Yup, awesome day















Another beach on Moturua (The hike around the island
consists of ridge-beach-ridge-beach, etc...

Me and my favourite

shades of blue

The clouds begin their takeover, but the water is still bright
The sun personified is a moody artist who paints the sea in various shades of turquoise, steel grey,  or deep indigo. Sometimes translucent and at other times opaque, the sea is transformed by light. I'm always amazed how a cloudy day or early morning light transforms my backyard. The following photos were all taken from the same anchorage, over a 3 day period: so many shades of blue...






It's beginning to rain
Hunkering down and letting it pass

Turquoise, the royal colour that re-emerges after the rain

Early morning, a deep blue



Saturday, 22 March 2014

same song, different verse

Early days on Nyon
I’m an adventurer, but I do love cozying up in a blanket with a good book. I’m a nature lover, yet I relish immersing myself in a large city’s energy, the galleries, cafes, the gritty neighbourhoods, the whole-in-the wall shops… I can be the life of the party or a wallflower, it depends on my mood. Of course, I can talk your ear off but I’m just as happy spending a day by myself with my music and a sketchbook. And I’m a voyager yes, but the homebody in me is never far off.

One of our biggest projects
I started writing this blog as a way to explain to our loved ones the crazy adventure Rick and I had just begun. We had bought an old wooden sailboat and had started refitting it. All the while, we were rambling about going offshore with it. We were going to sail off into the sunset, that’s what we told anyone who would listen. I sometimes wonder whether people believed us. But I kept writing, and we kept dreaming while spending hours, weeks, months, fixing our old boat. That was 7 years ago.

Last glimpse as we
left Canada
If you are reading this, you know that we did leave. We embraced our inner adventurers. Call it what you will, we saw ourselves as footloose and fancy-free. The blog became a log of our discoveries, both geographical and cultural. I also began to write about my inner journey. I included some of the challenges we faced, like the time our mast broke. I also sometimes touched on the loneliness that crept up on us at times. As we travelled south, our readership expanded. People we met along the way began to read our stories. And then strangers did too. Anonymous readers wrote us asking questions or sending encouragement. I was no longer simply writing. At some point, this blog morphed into an exchange of ideas, experiences and philosophies.

Soaking in the city vibe
Lately, I’ve been wondering, what will I write about now? People expect adventures, anecdotes… How do I share my sense of wonder at the daily observations that come from staying put in one location? I won’t be travelling thousands of miles this coming year. What I’ll be doing, is journeying deeper into one country that is foreign to me. This is an opportunity. And I want to write about that while also taking the time to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned on the way here. 

Fiji and the Western South Pacific await, but this time when the grand exodus begins in April, we will be among those waving goodbye to the yachts sailing over the horizon. Soon after, we'll dig out our woolies and brace ourselves for our first winter in 3 years. And maybe, just maybe, I will have a story or two to tell.

Exploring the vicinity with friends we met thousands of
nautical miles away (with Barbera from SV Landfall)

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

paying attention

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.
Looking I mean not just standing around,
but standing around as though with your arms open.
(Mary Oliver)

Rowing to shore for an early morning walk
(Photo courtesy of Fran Kelly)

Misty goodness

As the fog lifts: colour
The light at the end of the tunnel

The end

Sunday, 16 March 2014

an unwelcome visitor

Just a little bit windy for now
Lusi is coming to town this weekend, but we don’t want her to.

Friday 1100: The energy is charged around Opua this morning. We’re waiting for Lusi to make landfall on the northern tip of New Zealand. Boats have crammed themselves into the marina and then there are those of us tied to moorings with multiple lines and plenty of chafe guard. Our decks are cleared. Everything is tied down. And we have chocolate. We are ready. We’ve been through our share of storms, but never a cyclone or hurricane. We do expect Cyclone Lusi to shrink down to a storm before she graces us with her presence. We just wish she weren't coming at all.

Vanuatu has suffered because of Lusi. She has sadly been the cause of 3 confirmed deaths and a number of people have disappeared (likely due to mudslides) The damage a tropical cyclone can leave in its wake can be extensive. The recent Cyclone Ian is an example of the desolation that can be left behind. 

Friday 1400: The skies are overcast. Big thick clouds have been gathering since last night. The wind has begun to rise. But so far we’re in the 20 knot range with gusts only slightly higher. That’s just run of the mill winds. Rick is still at work. And I’m monitoring weather forecasts and working on some computer projects.

Live action while we still had Internet, can you see NZ?
(Click to enlarge)
Friday 2300: The wind has become very gusty, still only in the 30 knot range, but we don’t expect it to worsen for a few hours. After dawdling for a while, we go to bed.

Saturday 0200: Actually, to be exact, it was 0150. All of a sudden the wind was very loud. And we were both startled awake. We had already decided to get up every 2 hours to check our lines, and it was nearly Rick’s turn to go out in the storm. The boat was straining on the lines, but everything was fine. We’ve experienced 40+ knot winds before. The worst part is the noise, and the potential of lines chafing through. But we know to keep a close eye on that. There can be a lot of friction on the lines that hold a boat to a mooring (a yacht’s anchor rode or dock lines can have the same issues). If there is enough wind, the resulting motion and friction can slice clear through thick lines. Have I mentioned chafe guard?

Saturday 0300: We no longer have an Internet connection. Luckily our cell phone has a mini data plan that allows us to keep checking weather reports. Oh, and our anamometer stopped working. Our transmitter needs fresh batteries, while they still charge on sunny days, a cloudy day means they don't last through the night. [We found out later that the winds went up to 58 knots in the middle of the night. This explains why the wind sounded so ominous, luckily, our location was well protected unlike some parts of the Bay of Island.]

Saturday 0800: The winds are back in the mid 40’s (our anamoter is working again). Rick is sleeping after we've both spent most of the night awake. I'm keeping watch and working on the computer. I'm incredibly productive. Maybe it's because there is no Internet to distract me.

Rick and Ernesto Trying to save
what's left of that sailin 40 knot winds
Saturday 0900: A nearby (unattended) yacht’s foresail unfurled in the wind and we watch helpless as it slowly starts to shred. We pass on the message through friends, but we only have a rowing dinghy, there is no way we could go over there to minimize the damage. Our neighbour Ernesto on Libertee calls on the VHF and asks Rick to come help him furl it back up, Libertee has a dinghy with an outboard. So the two set off against wind and rain. I watch from Nyon as they put a stop to the already extensive damage on the sail. 


Saturday 1900: We barely notice the gusts in the mid 20’s tonight. We filled our bellies with a delicious chicken and kumara curry and we'll likely fall asleep early. We're tired. 

Sunday 1000: Light breezes and sunshine greet us. 

Check out  this footage, you'll see what it looked like in Northland during the storm. 

If you are a sailor (or not) and you want to know how to prepare for a storm or what it's like in an actual hurricane, this is a great article written by someone who weathered  Hurricane Marty in the Sea of Cortez. There is a lot of great information, and our hurricane list is an adaptation of theirs.

Monday, 10 March 2014

pulling over to the side of the ocean

 
Late afternoon view from our mooring ball in Opua
That’s what I read. Switching gears from-full time cruising to settling in a community for an extended period of time can be difficult. “Not me, I’m going to love it”, I thought, “I can use a break, recharge my batteries, find steadiness in a more stable community.”  Well.

Yes, we are still sailing!
We haven’t returned to our home country, we are still living on our boat after 7 years, and we plan to continue exploring this big, wide world. Yet we feel like a chapter has ended. We cruised full time for 2 ½ years and we have sailed the largest body of water on the planet. Now, we are here. New Zealand is a lot like Canada, but it is also very different.  We’re used to different:  we like variety, we love discovering the quirks of other cultures, and we like pushing the boundaries of our comfort zones, but this stop is... more involved. We are now officially expats. We are still on the fringes of our new community but we have work visas! We have IRD tax numbers! Rick already has a job in the marine industry. I’m working on projects and looking for work. Most days, all this newness is exciting, other days, it’s overwhelming. Sometimes, I just feel a little bit lost. My purpose was clearly defined as a voyager. Keep the boat afloat, plan journeys, and discover foreign lands. I’m busy shifting those gears to a more constant environment and different types of responsibilities. The strangest part is that sailing is something I once again do on weekends. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word transition as a: “passage from one state, subject, or place to another.” It also defines it as “a musical passage leading from one section of a piece to another.” The latter speaks more to my state of mind. I’m still figuring out the notes, but I can hear a new melody.


A sleepy Opua (to the left is Ashby's Boatyard)
Melody aside, if I am to be perfectly honest I’m still finding my footing. Why should a more stable environment cause me so much unrest? I feel like my compass is spinning. This morning, while drinking my coffee, I paused mid-sip. I realized how much I have learned about myself since I left Canadian shores in 2011. I realized that loneliness won’t kill me. I worked through my fears of storms or hitting containers out on the big blue. I climbed mountains I thought my body couldn’t climb because of my Ankylosing Spondylitis. I befriended people I may never have crossed paths with in my past life. I am a little less afraid of sharks and I feel a strong affinity with the rhythms of the ocean, the moon, and the sun. I now recognize my strength and resourcefulness. I also truly understand what it means to say “this too shall pass”. 

Rejoicing in our new backyard:
The beautiful Urupukapuka
in the Bay of Islands
The uneasiness I’m feeling right now is obviously part of being in transition. When we were sailing through one of the worst storms we’d faced offshore and I cried in frustration and fatigue, I hit a low. But after weathering the storm, and dropping the hook in turquoise waters, the exhilaration I felt erased the anxiety. It comes down to this, whatever is happening, it’s only happening now. It will pass. Something else will take its place. A wonderful anchorage can become a dangerous lee shore. A stormy night can see the sun rise with a light breeze. Slowing down after sailing 15000 nautical miles can give us a well earned rest. Nothing is static. Nothing is permanent. The sooner I accept that, the easier it is to open myself up to what I am experiencing right now, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I know that eventually, I will feel part of this community. I will enjoy the stability, at least for a while. And I will feel more grounded. For now, I shall sit with my spinning compass, breathe deep, and peruse the classifieds.

Monday, 20 January 2014

a question of dollars

A tiny speck in the South Pacific: Beautiful Suwarrow
How much does it cost? That was the first question typed in the comments section of our Facebook Page, after I opened the floor to inquiries regarding our life as voyagers. And while I didn’t mean to sound flippant, my immediate response was “It costs as much as you have.” That’s what it comes down to, really. You spend what’s in your wallet. We have cruised with folks that own newer, bigger boats with many luxuries. They mostly hire people to maintain or repair their boats. Wherever they go, they often eat out, go on costly tours or rent cars to explore inland, all because they can. We have also cruised with boats that didn’t have anything but bare bones. Our sister ship “Clover” that left for the South Pacific the year before us, was a minimalist’s dream. I met her friendly captain Shane very briefly, and I know one shouldn’t believe everything they read, but an article written about him in Latitude 38 said he left North America with $300. We also met a boat that would catch fish for your next supper in exchange for charging their Kindle, the young couple also swam to get to shore. I’m not kidding. Most of us out here are neither extreme, but how much we spend to explore this great, big world still significantly varies. And it's doable, even if you don't have a lot of money.

“But you guys sold a house!” is the comment I have often heard from others. Yes we did, and it would have taken a lot longer to get out here if we hadn’t. Yet there are many ways to make voyaging happen. It depends on what your expectations are, where you wish to go, what type of boat you have, and how well it withstands the demands of offshore sailing, (if that’s what you’re planning on doing). Sometimes, it’s just timing. Our buddy Ben managed to find an affordable, decent boat which he purchased with a friend. They then learned to sail it and took turns to take it across the Pacific from San Diego to Australia! He’s 26 years old and didn’t sell a house to go sailing.

How much it costs depends on what you can’t live without. When I say “what you can’t live without”, I mean what you don’t want to live without. It’s your choice if you want a certified liferaft (for some that’s a no-brainer), or if you refuse to sail under 4 knots. We have friends we love dearly, who categorically refuse to sail under 4 knots… That is unimaginable to us. First, that means you burn a lot of fuel as light winds are common. And diesel costs money. On Nyon, we only carry 35 gallons of it, that’s including our Gerry cans. We have to be choosy about when we turn on the iron jib. But that’s not the only reason we sometimes sail at less than 2 knots, we much prefer the sound of the wind and waves over the roar of a diesel engine.

Shades of blue in Makemo, Tuamotus
If it looks like I’m avoiding giving you actual numbers, it’s because I am. I am not comfortable sharing my finances on the Internet.* But I understand the question. Many wonder how we could afford to not work for 2 ½ years while voyaging nearly 15000 nautical miles. I’ll tell you: we sacrificed a lot, and to be honest, most of the time it was easy for us. We generally choose to live very simply. Still, we are at the point where we also have to start working again. We need to put some money into the boat and into the cruising kitty. As we settle into life in New Zealand for the time being, we apply the same approach we have had while travelling. We ask ourselves these kinds of questions: Do we need it or do we want it badly? Is there a cheaper option? Is there a free option? Can we trade for it? Of course, we did treat ourselves to the occasional meal out, but in Mexico that usually meant taco stands while in the South Pacific, it meant going to a roulotte.  We learned the art of using Sikaflex to fix our hiking sandals. We mended our clothes and washed all our laundry by hand. We anchored out 99% of the time. (Although in the South Pacific, we did use moorings more frequently due to the depths of certain anchorages.)
Heading to Moorea, as seen from Tahiti
Now that we’re in New Zealand, we live on a mooring, not a dock. (It’s much cheaper.) We live in a tiny village where there just aren’t many places to buy things (unless you’re buying boat bits). There are plenty of free anchorages within a couple hour sail. Do we feel isolated? A little. But we like going for walks and hikes, sailing, and storytelling. Those are all pretty much free. We might eventually have to buy a car, but we’re holding off for as long as we can. We walk everywhere and borrow other (kind) people’s cars and bikes when we need groceries. Sometimes we rent a car for the day. We discuss every major expense to death, and we each have a spending “allowance” that we can use as we wish without prior discussion with the other. (I’m talking about $20 a week here.) As we make money again, we will split it in three categories: 1) Day-to-day living, 2) Savings 3) Boat repairs/maintenance. We note everything we spend. Sometimes we let loose, and splurge, we’re only human after all. But living simply is a goal for us, not just a necessity. The fact that we don’t want to be sucked onto the consumerist train encourages us to make the choices we make.
Nyon leaves La Paz, Mexico
Photo courtesy of SV Eagle
Owning a boat costs money, and travelling costs money. How much money you have saved will dictate what kind of boat you buy, how old the boat is, and how much of the work you do yourself. How much money you have might lead you to cruise Mexico for very few pesos, or spend a little or a lot more to explore the South Pacific Islands. Depending on your interests, you may explore foreign countries by enjoying free activities. We hiked a lot, spent as much time as possible in the water and we shared homemade meals with new friends. If you like being in marinas, checking out local restaurants and organized activities, you will want to budget accordingly.

If you’re dreaming of sailing over the horizon, and you actually make it out there, how much money you have will not change the fact that one day, you will likely find yourself in an anchorage with both a multimillion dollar yacht and a tiny hippie boat with no refrigeration. Trust me: the sunset will look the same from both cockpits. So allow me to answer your question with a question, Rob: "When you say, how much does it cost?" I say, "How much have you got?" (And what are you waiting for?)


Tahanea, Tuamotus

*If youre interested in some proper number crunching here are a few links of other cruisers' budgets. While they vary a lot (due to the size of the crew, personal preferences and priorities, etc), they will give you a more concrete image of the costs of cruising. 

For Scream's budget in 2011-2012. Click here.

For Wondertime's South Pacific budget (2012). Click here.

Further reading:
Voyaging with Velella. Click here.
Estrellita 5.10B has linked to a number of sources on their blog. Click here.

If you have any links to recommend on this topic, please include them in the comments below..


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