The Costs of Cruising

When people wonder about the costs of going cruising, they often limit their thoughts to just the monetary costs of cruising. How much will it cost to…? Everything is focused on money, the cost of buying a boat, the cost of maintaining a boat, the cost of fuel, the cost of food, the cost of everything! Forget about the costs.

Everyday you live costs money! You don’t think about “can I afford to live the way that I do?” Instead you simply live based on how much money you have, and the same will happen when you are cruising. If you can afford it, you will do it, if you can’t afford it, you won’t do it. It’s that simple!

The real costs that are overlooked are the emotional costs. These really hit me recently and were rather expensive.

When we set off to go cruising, I said goodbye to the world that I knew. Never again would any of this be the same. When I returned from cruising, the world will be different and the place that I departed from will no longer exist. This might sound dramatic but it is the truth.

Friends that you had as neighbors will move away or die, so where you once lived will not be the same upon your return. Family will get older, cousins will grow up, and everything will change.

I thought this was a preposterous concept when I was leaving. Nothing ever changes in my world. I have had the same neighbors for 5 years, my friends live their lives of routine, and my parents are very resistant to change.

In the short time that we have been gone, our old neighbor sold their boat and moved from Maryland to South Carolina. Our other neighbor went cruising, returned from cruising, and is selling their boat to move onto land somewhere. My parents sold their boat that they used every weekend because they thought they wanted to upgrade to a larger boat, only to realize that they really loved their boat and selling it was a mistake. I now have a nephew who is able to walk around (he didn’t even exist when we set off to go cruising). The area around my parents town is almost double in size, with new stores, shopping centers, and streets that make the place look completely different. Lastly, but most importantly, Sammy is no longer around. My pet bird that was attached to me for the past decade is no longer waiting for me to come home. Being how birds are famous for living forever, I figured that I would just leave her in the good care of my parents (they also have pet birds, so they know what they are doing) and go cruising for a few years. I just reached the Portuguese coast and have the entire Mediterranean to sail, but I was already making plans to pick her up as soon as we made it into Floridian waters. Sammy loved boat life because I never had to go to work which meant she never had to be away from me. I knew she would have loved the Florida Keys with their warm weather and fresh fruits! All that is a pipe dream now.

People often said that we would just slip out of the world, cruise around, and then slip back into the world where we left off without anything being different. Nothing ever changes while you are here so nothing will change while you are not here.

I feel like I have returned to an alternate dimension. One that looks similar to where I left from but is just off enough to make me question the very validity of its location in space.

Cruising is a wonderful life experience, it will open your eyes to the whole world that is just beyond your comfort zone. You will be the outsider everywhere you go with stories to tell of your travels across the seas and of distant lands, but those distant lands will be your home when you make your return. When you set off cruising, be prepared to say goodbye to everything because you may never see it again.

The Importance of Units

When cruising, you will frequently encounter countries that use imperial or metric units. These units are very important!

We started our journey in the United States, where fuel is sold by the gallon. Fuel prices when we left were around $3-4 per gallon. Our next stop was in the Bahamas where fuel prices were more expensive, ranging $4-7 per gallon. Our last port before heading to Bermuda sold fuel for $5.40 per gallon.

We use fuel to power the generator to keep our fridge running should cloudy, windless days persist and run down our house battery bank. Keeping our food refrigerated and frozen is worth buying 10 gallons of gasoline!

I was relieved when we arrived in Bermuda and found gasoline to be sold for $2.19! Being a former British colony, I assumed that they would also use the gallon. Our next stop when we leave Bermuda is the Azores, about 1800 miles away! So we decided to purchase an extra 5 gallon (20L) jerry can.

Bermuda is famously expensive, but nowhere near as expensive as people had led us to believe. We could still eat out and have a wonderful meal for about the same prices as stateside dining. I think the real kicker comes when cruisers tank up before leaving. This is usually their last purchase in Bermuda and therefore the one that is freshest in their mind when they reach home.

The fuel we bought was $2.19 per liter. At 3.8L per gallon, this meant that fuel here was $8.32 per gallon!

Our meager purchase of 15 gallons and a jerry can was $150! Yeah.

Now I understand how people can complain about prices when they need to buy hundreds of gallons of fuel to get home.

The moral of the story is: pay attention to the units because it can radically affect your experience.