|Us, the very day we left Chicago! Taken by our good friend, Les.|
I got the idea for this post from Livia of s/v Estrellita who also happens to be the author of the super cool Interview With A Cruiser Project . She granted us permission and encouraged us to use questions from their 'question bank'. So with no further ado - here's our little version of he said/she said - cruising style - in ten questions. Keep in mind we are only three months in - so these answers should be taken with the understanding that we are still "newbies".
What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
Brittany: That your imagination is much worse than the reality. That, and the fact that we selected a FANTASTIC, dare I say, "kick ass" cruising boat.
Scott: As of yet, cruising doesn't offer as much "free time"... or "down time" as you'd expect.
What is your favorite part about cruising?
Brittany: Living freely, traveling in your home, seeing new places, meeting new people. There is nothing that compares to traveling to a place by boat. Somehow it's just 'different'. I love it.
Scott: After hoisting the sails, the moment you turn off the engine... as well as the moment you turn off the engine after dropping anchor in a calm anchorage at sunset. [Editor note: true dat!]
What is your least favorite part about cruising?
Brittany: The fact that everything (even tiny things like making a cup of tea) require 10X more effort than they do on land. But you just learn to live with it. I hate doing dishes the most. Dish washing is the current bane of my existence. I have mastered dirtying as few dishes as possible and pretty much don't cook if it requires more than one pot.
Scott: All the motoring that's been necessary through all of the canals and ICW. As we head out to the Caribbean after the new year, I'm really looking forward to having the canvas up more and letting the horses rest.
What is something potential cruisers worry about that they shouldn't? And something they don't worry about that they should?
Brittany: I would say people worry about the basics like, "how do you shower? how do you eat? what will I pack?" - all this is really minor stuff that requires nothing more than some adaptation and a little homework. More people should worry about whether or not they are willing to do this 'adapting'. An "endless vacation" this is not, but a bad day on the water still beats a bad day on land!
Scott: Brittany will tell you, I do not believe in worry. My favorite Zen proverb is... If the problem has a solution, worrying is pointless, in the end the problem will be solved. If the problem has no solution, there is no reason to worry, because it can't be solved." That being said... stop worrying and just go! [Editor note: Yes. This is 100% true. I am slowly getting there.]
What was the biggest mistake you have made?
Brittany: We've made lots of little mistakes, but the biggest is probably when we went outside a channel marker and hit a rock. That sucked.
Scott: Actually, that was my mistake... not "we." The other was when I put out a fishing lure to troll for lunch and forgot that it was there. Then we came in to get fuel and had to do a few circles to wait for a boat to leave the fuel dock and proceeded to wrap the fishing line all around the prop. This was probably the 4th time I had to put on the wetsuit to dive under the boat. The others being... retrieving my cell phone I dropped in the water at the dock in Michigan, checking the prop shaft for what might have been causing the noise that we were hearing in the transmission, and checking the keel for damage after I hit the rock.
What is the most important attribute for successful cruising?
Brittany: Open mind, no agenda, realistic expectations, ability and willingness to adapt. Oh - and you should probably like sailing.
Scott: Not having inflated expectations. With anything, when you expect to much, your chances of being disappointed are much higher. We both looked forward to everything that cruising had to offer - including the ups and the downs.
What do you miss about living on land?
Brittany: Not much! Bikram yoga, unlimited water for showers/dishes, and access to free laundry. That's about it (besides friends and family, of course!).
Scott: I've gotta admit, every time I pull out the credit card, I miss having an income. Don't get me wrong, as much as I miss all of you at SweatVac, I don't miss sitting in front of a computer and phone all day.
How would you recommend someone prepare to cruise?
Brittany: Read as much as you can in books and forums (and learn to take some advice with a grain of salt - otherwise you'll never leave) and do as much of the work on your boat that you can - you will learn, pun intended, a 'boat load'. As first time boat owners and cruisers we didn't feel super 'prepared' when we left, per se - but we have learned that we were actually very prepared and know a lot more than we thought! Also - SAIL! Both of us raced for years and found this taught us a lot of the basics. Though racing on a boat and owning a boat are HUGELY different.
Scott: Don't get attached to your "stuff." Garbage bags and dumpsters... and craigslist... are your friends. Get rid of it!
When you are offshore, what keeps you awake at night?
Brittany: Gear failure. Period.
Scott: That mysterious ticking noise.
Is cruising as good or better than you imagined?
Brittany: Better. I already have no idea how we're going to go back to "land life"! Out here, away from the constraints of 'society', anything seems possible and that is a pretty incredible place to be.
Scott: As good and better and it get's better every day as we gain more experience and confidence with our abilities and our boat.