Cruising

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.

Azores to Portugal: Day 2

Our mystery rudder issues were confirmed! When we left the harbor in Terciera, we had trouble turning to starboard. We thought it might be weird currents or something keeping the bow from turning to starboard. I thought it was epic weather helm since we were moving straight but had the helm hard over. 

Later, the issue manifested itself as “not turning to port” when we were on the other tack. In my mind, this meant weather helm again. 

I started wracking my brain to figure out how this could be, weather helm while only flying a staysail makes no sense!

I inspected the steering system and found that the quadrant key had slipped out and the quadrant was slipping around the rudder post. 

We made quick work here to get that key in there again and suddenly steering was restored. 

With good steering, we set the trysail and staysail in harmony and rocketed along the surface at 6-7 knots the rest of the day. 

Azores to Portugal: Night 1

This time, it was less surreal because we knew what to expect. We sailed out of Terceira and away from the little island chain that has been our home for almost a year, and we are back in the abyss. The warm orange lights of little towns are dotting a small portion of the horizon behind our stern. It’s a cloudy night, but I can still see Jupiter shining big and white next to the moon, which is making the boat look like an old film in its gray light. I can see Saturn too.  On our way out, we passed two pods of feasting dolphins, and one of them came to say a brief hello. I wonder how many are below and around us now. We are only granted access to the stars, while below the black waves exists an entire world. I am still grateful. 

Azores to Portugal: Day 0

Today we left Angra do Heroísmo, 10 months after we arrived there and 364 days since we left Florida on our transatlantic voyage. Why the huge delay? Because we are not in any rush and really wanted to experience the Azores. 

After being there a few weeks, we learned that the window to make it to Portugal had closed and it would be unsafe to venture on until May the next year. 

We spent that time rebuilding and refitting the head and galley, making upgrades and changes that we have been talking about for years but never had the time to execute them. Now we had the time, so we spent 6 months working on the boat and making her look brand new again, 51 years after her hull was produced. 

So, the time has come and we had to say goodbye to the place we called home for so many months. Leaving a place will show you how much of an impact you have had there by how many people will come and say goodbye. All of our friends as well as people from the town that we had come to know well all came by to see us off on our voyage. 

We scooted out of the marina quietly with our electric motor, then raised the sails quickly since we have a make-shift battery bank at the moment. We began tacking out of the harbor in what seemed like a washing machine! Ocean waves pounded into the harbor only to reverberate off the rock walls in the harbor. You are literally being hit from sides by towering waves. 

The forecast for that day and the next few days was light winds (8-15 knots, no gusts) but we had steady winds of 20 knots! We all know how accurate forecasts are! 

Once we made it clear of the harbor and Monte Brazil, we turned onto a broad reach to leave and clear the island. 

As we sailed around the island, we could see all our favorite towns and the towns where our friends lived. We now have a deep connection with this tiny island in the middle of the ocean. As the sun set and the island lights turned on, we slowly sailed away into the darkness of the ocean, watching the little lights dim out on the horizon. 

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We are cruising once again. 

Heading Offshore Again

Hello everyone! We left Terceira, Azores on June 12, 2019 and our next port will be Porto, Portugal. 

By becoming a Patron you can follow our path in real-time and message us directly to the boat while we are cruising. 

While we are crossing the Atlantic to the Mainland, we will be writing many blog posts so they will resume once we have internet access again and can upload them.  

See you then!