Archive for May 4th, 2019

Why…. We Cruise

Saturday, May 4th, 2019
A simple verb with a plethora of meanings. Some people think of the Atlantic Rally Cruise or the World Rally Cruise. Those rallies spend approx 3 years traveling with a group of boats on the trade winds route around the world. In roughly 18 months on the water from port to port they will spend another 18 months in port seeing the sites and partying with others of their group. They will meet a few locals who most often are hired. They show them the sites and get a small taste of the countries’ cultures. They might see wonders that other tourists have a very difficult time getting to. And before one settles in they rush off to another port.
 
Some friends of friends of ours we met in Panama were with one of the rallies. They spent 3 days in Panama City and thought that was long enough! On to the Los Perlas (Islands just off Panama in the Pacific) for 3 days and then checking out for the Galapagos. They were through Panama so fast we never had a chance to ask them what they thought of Panama. We found Panama a wonderful country with a vigorous culture. There is one real advantage to a rally, the paper work is usually handled by the group organizers.
 
Other rallies are more laid back. Those don’t have a fixed schedule and still ease the paperwork. Some rallies as well provide support for those in their group. Those rallies we keep in the back of our mind as we reach an area of the world that has a deep seeded love of paperwork. And you thought you had it difficult back home.
 
Then then there are the type A cruisers. They rush from port to port, anchorage to anchorage; trying to see it all. I often chuckle as I see them move into and out of an anchorage. They drop the hook, often in some ludicrous spot, run ashore and seek info on the biggest waterfall, the longest zip line or the fanciest restaurant. They’ll meet a couple of locals and pick their brains for what to see and do. And…they’re off, two days later or maybe three, they’re heading to a new anchorage. I whisper into the wind; you can’t see it all!
 
We have some cruising friends; she’s from the Philippines, and I loved when she bragged that there are over 7,000 islands in her country. Visiting each island every day means 20 years worth of cruising! 20 Years! You can’t see it all. We pick and choose.
 
Our choices however are quite different. We love to share in others lives and cultures as much as possible. This means we must spend time in one area. No one is going to invest in a relationship when they know you are leaving in a hour or a day.
 
Don’t get me wrong, we love to do some of the tourist stuff, love waterfalls, love hikes, and beautiful vistas. We enjoy local restaurants (provided they are clean and bug free), and above all, love meeting and getting to know the people.
 
For us; the number one reason to cruise is to share with others ours and their lives. In the Chesapeake we met some fellow Westsailors who have become wonderful friends. Jenny even came and traveled with us through the Panama Canal and when traveling in the US we hung with them at their new home. Mickey and Lil were neighbors at our dock in Annapolis and their friendship is a bond worth keeping. We pick up cruising friends all along our route; some like Dirk and Silvie we’ll keep forever (well; at least Silvie) LOL. Dirk is like a brother to me; our ideas and methods in yachting so common I joke that somehow we have the same parentage even though our births were continents away.
 
Then there there are the locals; some expats and some not that are frosting on the cake. In NZ we joined two tennis clubs, and a fitness center. In Panama we shared in an expat sailors group in Isla Linton. In Savusavu, Fiji we did yoga 3 times / week with a varying size group of expats, cruisers and every once in awhile a tourist. The relationships we cultivate sustain our souls.
 
In Fiji at Savusavu Marina we’ve shared much time with Bev and her two daughters. Bev is the Marina manager and full of vim and vigor. For most people she is quite the politician. For us I think she let her guard down and we see the real her. She’s not afraid to share her frustrations and joys, she not afraid to let her two daughters attack us. Cathlyn and Ashley will trot down the dock yelling Uncle Dave; Auntie Wendy! Then they throw themselves through the air right at us; wrapping their arms and legs around each of us.
 

I asked Bev if I could help in Cathlyn’s education. I took it upon myself to work with Cathlyn in learning her multiplication

Such a fun girl.

tables. Cath is a gregarious 8 year old and I wish we could all love life as much as she. When she and her sister learned their multiplication tables to where her schools required and as fast as I or W/ could repeat them, W/ and I took them for a small reward. Cath wanted a thick Milkshake from Snowy House (the best Milkshakes in the S. Pacific) and Ashley wanted to go snorkeling. Ashley is a through and through water rat!

 
I also acquired the first Harry Potter book to read to Cath as well as the audio book so she can read and listen to it on her own. Harry Potter is pushing her limits a bit. So W/ and I added some Dr. Seuss books to their collection as well. Before we shower at the marina each day we’d spend time with them.
 
Often when we’re finished reading or playing “hang women” they escort W/ and I to the store to fill up diesel jugs or our ice bag. They carry them over there and the sap that I am; they sucker me into getting them a treat. Unfortunately the diesel is too heavy and I must carry it back. But Cathlyn is strong and she’s able to carry the ice bags back. Don’t worry, she’s makes sure it is quid quo pro.
 

Time to take funny pics on mom’s phone!

W/ has tried to co-opt Ashley into the reading, math work, and learning games. Ashley is 7 and if there ever was a continual motion machine in a human body it would be hers. She must be a lot of what I was like as a child. She never wants to stop. She’s always wanting to talk you into something. She pushed so hard and so often that she wanted a boat ride I finally had to give in. But! I did set some parameters. It would only be on Sundays and it would be one ride each or together. So Sundays if they are around we go for a ride in the harbor.

 
We putt putt through the anchorage and between anchorages I kick it into high gear. The dinghy rises up on plane and each girl hoots and hollers like children at Christmas. That routine was boring for me so I started to teach them to (wo)man the helm (steer the boat). Again, just idling along they both picked it up quite fast and had a great time telling the other which way to go. That is when either was a bit off course which was quite often.
 
This is why we cruise. To meet new people from different countries, to share in their lives and share our lives with them. We are enriched by these experiences and only hope that this sharing of our lives is enriching their lives too.
Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long