Thursday, March 30, 2017

It Must Be Good

Great friends of ours recently bought their first cruising boat.

In the nautical world, this is recognized as a dark and lamentable turning point in anyone's life.

Just joking.
Sort of.

We spoke with these friends of ours - really some of the most remarkable, steadfast, and simpatico people we have met in our decade afloat - right in that awful extended moment when the depths of their predicament had become fully clear. (Drop us a line, guys! We want to know how it goes.)

Everything on their new boat boat seemed to broken. They were looking at that insurmountable job list that is a part of most stories of how someone acted on the dream and bought their own traveling boat. And, I think, they were trying to figure out if the lake of expense and angst that had suddenly opened at their feet, demanding to be swum, was really going to be worth it.

We talked with these friends, just when they were re-evaluating their view of the sailing life through the new prism of boat ownership. At one point, one of them asked me if I ever got off the boat.

"Sure," I said somewhat defensively. "I get off the boat."

We have just spent a couple weeks anchored in Las Perlas Islands in Panama, poised on the verge of our big jump to Hawai'i.

Granted, I have been pouring heart and soul and considerable time into the scientific research that keeps us going financially, so my time budget would not be representative for most yachties.

But still, a few days ago I looked at Alisa, wiped the dust from my brow, and said to her, "I had my answer wrong. I should have said, 'Get off the boat? Why would I ever want to get off the boat?'"

Because, when I haven't been trying to understand the ecological implications of sea surface temperature-sea level pressure coupling in the North Pacific, I have been pouring heart and soul and discretionary hours into projects like those illustrated above: fixing the wind generator (partly successful) and renewing the nonskid deck paint in crucial areas (generally regarded as a stunning boat maintenance coup).

Meanwhile, our transmission has developed a leak that seems to have eluded my first attempt at a fix. And our busted telescoping whisker pole seems likely to set out for Hawai'i in a still-busted state. This is a really classic boat problem - it was broken when we reached Cape Town, got fixed there, failed nearly immediately on the trip back across the Atlantic, got fixed again at Ascension Island, and then broke immediately again.

So this is us, a decade into the sailing life, on a well-used boat, which are generally less maintenance than the marina-sitters of the world. We're always fixing something.

And yet, for all that effort, we are all four of us completely enthralled with the sailing life. Consider the days we have just spent at Las Perlas, off a deserted beach, in waters thick with life, at a spot that you could only get to your own boat.

See the beach fire pic above from Las Perlas - I expect that our next beach fire will be in Alaska.  See the photos of Eric below, swinging from a halyard.

And see the happy family, very much together, very much in the same boat, below.

Buying your way into that kind of living with some boat maintenance...who wouldn't make that trade?

Brown pelican, catching dinner


  1. Love that pelican shot, and it appears he was inverted on his approach.

    1. Thanks. I got a few of those shots, and they were inverted each time. Seems to be their standard approach.

  2. I rarely write but you just summed up our position to a tee. Huge list of issues from a previously neglected but sound sailboat. Keeping the dream alive. Thanks

    1. Boat maintenance - I try not to write about it too much, but those posts do seem to get the most comments!

      Keep the dream alive!

  3. Maybe a FBB (fucking big bolt) through the pole at a reasonable fixed length? Cheers folks. Our boat is for sale in La Cruz, near Puerto Vallarta and we will be heading home end of April. Happy passages.