Monday, March 17, 2014

The Things We Do For Love...Or From Ignorance!

Living on a boat is not quite the cosy, romantic fantasy I envisioned when I agreed to cruising in the Bahamas for the winter.  We set off from Chesapeake Bay last October (in 30-degree weather, by the way).  Since then, there are many things I've had to get used to:

1. Money flying out of our wallets into the deep blue bottomless boat cavity.

2. Being wet: salt spray, humidity, rain, sweat, leaky boat. After a swim or shower, throw the clothes back on, who cares how uncomfortably wet.

3. No-see-um (sand fly) bites: small red bumps on arms and legs, itch itch itch. My least favorite feature of the Bahamas.

4. Salt and sand on/in everything: corroded metal, itchy scalp, gritty bed sheets and boat deck and floor.

5. Shower only every 4 or 5 days when we check into a marina. In between, sponge bath with a jug of water.

6. Hard work every day: navigating shallow waters and strong currents, dropping or lifting anchor, securing dock lines, adjusting lines as tide and current change, securing everything against strong wind, fixing electrical connections, cleaning up corroded parts, washing clothes and towels, cooking and cleaning up, sweeping the floor and deck, cleaning the nasty bilge, pumping out the stinky toilet, mending sails or other fabric, improvising solutions to broken parts, buying groceries or other provisions, etc etc etc. Endless. Not as much time for fun as one would think.

7. Seeing sunrise and sunset every single day and the stars most nights.
Sunset at Spanish Wells, St. George Cay, Eleuthera
Sunrise at Black Sound, Green Turtle Cay, Abacos
8. Being “stuck” waiting for weather windows that allow cruisers to continue on to another destination. Schedule and itinerary subject to weather, always; can't just go where you want when you want.

9. Always holding on with one hand. Everywhere, no matter what: boat, dinghy, or dock.

10. Tripping over things on a crowded boat. Crawling up and down ladders inside the boat and on/off the docks, especially at low tide.

11. Sore arms and legs, multiple cuts, massive bruises, crushed fingers and toes, bleeding, pain, from hitting things on the boat or dock, moving around on a rocking and rolling boat, climbing on and off docks to/from boat or dinghy in variable tides and currents. We are both due for some x-rays when we reach Florida.

12. Sleeping two to a bunk that's only 11" wide at the foot. (Measure the width of your foot, multiply by 4.)

13. Swimming alone at the periphery of a big scary ocean. Pope is not terribly interested in beaches or swimming, so if I want to swim, I just hop on the bike or dinghy and go. I usually have the beaches to myself, since we go to places outside the tourist itineraries, reachable only by boat.

14. Sharks hanging around all the docks and many of the beaches. "They don't bite very often," the locals say.
15. Being unprepared for the unexpected. (*sigh*)  The epitome of the cruising life, apparently. Everyone on every boat has stories.
16. Enjoying beauty wherever you find it: a beach, a shell, a marine critter, a flower or plant. One of the rewards for all the hard work.


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