Cruising is a “lifestyle”. Like all lifestyles there are differences. There is the “Circumnavigating”, the “Tourist”, and the “Immersive” cruiser.
The Circumnavigating cruiser wishes to get around the globe. They want to test themselves, test their boat and see a bit of the world. Oh, they do see a good bit, and they miss much. Truth: no one can see it all no matter how much they try. Some cruisers sign up for adventuring through an organization like the World Arc. For a nice chunk of change, details are taken care of. Paper work (officialdom) is completed for you, ie immigration visa’s, customs paper work, canal transit details, and passage planning. All those cruisers need do is: follow the plan. There is a lot to be said for having another cover the details of cruising. We’ve joined two groups to make this life easier, the Puddle Jump and the Go West Rally. Both are the least demanding of cruisers wanting to do it their way.
Then, there is the tourist cruiser. They arrive at a port and want to see all the attractions. Life is a huge Disney World, minus many of the lines. Plus, they see the real deal, not a miniatururized plastic version with piped in music. They hop in a car, jump on a train or plane, and off they go.
And then there is the immersive cruiser. I don’t think there are many of us. We go slow. For the most part that is Elysium. We’ve been out 13 years and are only half way around the world. We plan on staying for long periods of time. We want to know what it is like living in various countries. How the people are, what the culture is like. To do that we must find a key for entry into the local’s world..
In Penrhyn it was Church. Even though we are not religious people, every Sunday when anchored off the town we went to church. No one actually said “you must attend Church. Intuitively we knew it. Church was expected. It was our way to get to know the people, to feel what they feel and live as close to how they live as we could. We joined their community clean ups on several occasions. I helped with 12 v electrical work, fixing machines that were not working properly, and repairing their swing set. We saved the town for a day when the belt on the town generator went out. Elysium had the needed spare engine belt in their inventory. Often we ate with them and I dove for Golden Pearls with them. Experiences like this one never discovers as they wave sailing by.
In NZ and Australia we joined tennis clubs. In Australia we have some tennis friends we’ve known for 30 years living in Brisbane. We played tennis and vacationed with them. We joined a local tennis club and shared in 4 social tennis outings every week. We met a tennis couple that loved traveling as much as we do. With them we made traveled to Cairns and Uluru. (We can’t skip all the tourist stuff 🙂 ) .
The most difficult part of being an immersive cruiser is saying “good bye”. I prefer… “until we meet again” because one never knows.
Before we left the states we had a christening party for the boat. In NZ we had a get together with our tennis peeps before leaving and we did the same here, in Australia. People we’ve met; land people, were always curious how we lived and what our “home” was like. Rather then having 50 different visits we put together plates of goodies (another of our great tennis friends- Lynn helped), some refreshments and a chance for them to see Elysium. Richard (the General Manager) at Scarborough Marina reserved the cruisers lounge for us. Two of our fellow cruisers boys – great kids, Louis and Ollie – great kids, escorted the guests through the marina gates, to the boat and back to the lounge. We added a slide show on the lounge TV of where we’ve been and commiserated how much we would miss them …all of them. And to be honest, we do miss everyone of them. They were all kind enough to share their lives and stories with us making us richer for the experience. We hope it was a fair exchange.
These cruising groups are not exclusive. There is movement in and out of them. Everything depends on ones available cruising time.