Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cruising FAQ's

Over the course of our extended cruise this winter, we have been lucky enough to share our journey with an assortment of family and friends,  be it for a few nights, a week, or even just cocktails on the Calypso Deck. Some have been experienced boaters and others lifetime landlubbers. No matter the asker's status, some questions have been posed with regularity. Perhaps you, treasured reader of this blog, might be just as curious. So, here are our top Cruising Questions and Answers:
What Do You Do All Day?
It depends
If we are on the move, we are up with sun and underway before the first pot of coffee is brewed. On such days we spend most of the day in the Pilot House taking turns navigating and steering, all the while keeping an eye out for other boats, marks, dolphins, or anything else out there on the water. If we have friends on board, I might slip away to exercise in the cockpit or to do some computer work in the salon. I am also in charge of keeping the crew fed, so unless I am seasick, I am in the galley too.
While traveling, we try to reach our destination by 3PM. If we are at a dock we go onshore for a walk or a trip to the grocery. Whether we are at a dock or at anchor we always take time to plot our course for the next day and focus on any repairs that have come to our attention during the day. A nap is always nice too!
It is often early to bed while we are traveling but sometimes after dinner we watch tv or enjoy a round of Catchphrase or cards.
If we are tied up at a dock, we still have a full day. If you ever read US Weekly, you are familiar with a feature they call "Celebrities, They're Just Like Us!" I would say our cruising schedule is just like the one we follow at home - other than not getting up every 10 minutes to let the dogs in or out. Cruising Couples, They’re Just Like You!
Typically we will get up between 6 & 6:30, put the coffee on, read the paper on the iPad, check our email, watch the CBS Morning News, eat breakfast, and workout (either in the cockpit with the TRX or free weights, or with a long walkor bike ride).  There is always something that needs to be cleaned or fixed onboard, and the Cap'n keeps a long to-do list. While he is working on his projects, I might head to the laundry or the grocery, attack a cleaning project, work on the blog (I know, not as much as I should), research marinas, travel plans, etc. for future trips, or oversee matters relating to our house on shore. From time to time we both have volunteer duties that we attend to via the Internet. 
After lunch we have Siesta Time for about an hour, and then we typically have an adventure. Yesterday we took a 6.5 mile round trip bike ride to Barnes and Noble to purchase books 2 and 3 of The Hunger Games series. I devoured book 1 last week,and the Cap'n is currently captivated. We both read a lot while cruising. Other recent favorites include: Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand; Molokai'i ; and The Paris Wife. We also read a good number of magazines: Passage Maker and Cruising World for the Cap'n and O, the Oprah Magazine and Fine Cooking for me., and the local papers as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Before dinner we like to enjoy refreshments on the Calypso Deck and watch the sunset. After dinner we tend to read, watch TV, or if we have friends along, play a game or two. And,I admit to spending a certain amount of time surfing the web, playing Words with Friends, or pinning on Pinterest.

We also try to get to  catch some local flavor wherever we are: an art gallery, a historical museum, a concert, the Farmer's Market, etc.
Can You Really Anchor Overnight Where Ever You Want?

Sort Of.  
As long as the spot we select to anchor is deep enough, is not in the shipping channel, or is not posted as a restricted area, we can anchor there. Not everyplace is good for anchoring though. We need to take into consideration wind direction, "holding" potential -- is the bottom sandy, rocky, muddy, current, and boat wakes (bouncing around all night is not fun!)
Among my favorite places to anchor are in sight if a city skyline or in the middle of nowhere -- with the middle of nowhere, as in no cell service, being the best.
How Often Do you Refuel?
Every 6 months
We burn 3 gallons per hour at 8 knots of speed. Freedom is known  as a Trawler, aka a ‘Turtle’. We carry our house on our back and travel slowly. We might not cover as much ground as quickly as some boats, but we sure are efficient on fuel use!
If You Are Traveling Overnight Do You Stop to Sleep?
No, everyone takes turns being on watch and the boat moves 24/7.

Do You Eat All of Your Meals On Board?
Breakfast, almost always.
Lunch, mostly.
Dinner, 6 out of 7 nights (unless we have friends aboard or we have an enticing array of restaurants to try)
Happy Hour is the most frequently enjoyed ‘meal’  onshore. Especially here in Florida we have found that many bars/restaurants offer drink and appetizer specials during Happy Hour (anywhere from 2 - 5, to 4-6, to 4-closing), and that careful selection of appetizers can make a meal. And we never would have discovered Fish Dip if it wasn’t for Happy Hour (see MarthasGalley.blogspot.com for the recipe)

In general, eating on board is better for our budget and our waistline, and you can't beat the view!

How Do You Get to the Grocery Store?
Two feet, two wheels, the random rental car and the kindness of strangers. 
If we cannot walk to a grocery, we ride our bikes. If we need more than we can fit in a backpack and/or bike basket we walk to the market and call a cab for the ride back.
Some marinas offer transportation: either a car you can borrow for an hour,  or a regularly scheduled shuttle bus, or an ad hoc system: call when you are finished shopping and they will pick you up. 
Anyone who comes to visit with a car is often called into service to make a grocery run for heavy things (sleeves of soda, quarts of chicken stock, jars of mayo, gallons of vinegar, cases of beer - thank you Bryant and Bill!)
A few times this winter we have rented a car for Costco/Target/Walmart runs. Those have been my favorite stocking runs!

How Do You Get Your Mail?

We pay almost all of our bills online. Everything else is delivered to our home in PA, and our housesitting K'dults sort it and send us those items they feel we need to see. Most marinas are happy to receive packages for boat owners, and keep them until you arrive.
If you don't have anyone at home to forward your mail, there are companies who will do that for you. In fact, they can make sure you get your mail no matter where you are in the world. Many popular cruising locations have designated mail drops where you can arrange to claim whatever cannot be sent via email.
Can You Really Run That Boat All By Yourselves?

Where Else Do You Want to Go on Freedom?
Okay, no one has asked this, but I want to answer...
Martha: Cuba (Pres. Obama? Gov. Romney? who’s going to lift the restrictions????)
Cap’n: Rio Dulce in Guatemala; Maine; Anywhere with the Admiral (aka, Martha)!

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff Martha! I'm told by friend who have been there that Cuba is spectacular! Have fun up the coast.