Nov 16, 2012

Our First Year Afloat: Thoughts on a 13 Degree Shift in Latitude

We were all humans until
Race disconnected us,
Religion separated us,
Politics divided us,
And wealth classified us.

Sunrise million dollar view from Honeymoon Cove
It has been a full year of cruising and reminiscing comes easily when this landmark approaches. Over this last month of our first year I started collecting year-end thoughts and wanted to share them with you… but first let me start with something I came across a while back that I felt was pertinent. I would like to give credit to its author but I’m afraid I don’t recall where I read it.


I find this reflection very applicable to what we are doing now. In May my mother passed away after fighting leukemia for over 22 years and now more than ever my dad realizes just how much she was part of his history. Also in May, a best friend’s husband died of cancer, too young of course, and I am sure Dianna feels the same emptiness of the missed habits and history they discovered jointly.

As Mike and I sail together in our own little cozy cocoon called Déjàlà, we are adding to our habits and history at a quick pace. Being so closely intertwined and inter-reliant during passages and journeys into various remote and unfamiliar locations builds a still more meaningful and colorful history. The longer the voyage, the more we seem to finish each other’s thoughts and sentences, handing the other just what they were thinking of retrieving at that very moment, or we grab for the same thing simultaneously, the dance becomes smoother over time.

Questions this brings up: ‘Are we missing important parts of the history and habits of our loved ones, our family and close friends? Does this journey help them be inspired to create their own adventure? Does the distance make us miss important milestones like a first step, a birth, or a death that slowly lead to feeling disconnected from them? Can we bond as deeply with them via emails, our blog, or from long distance phone calls? Is it important to strike a balance between visits with them and our own journey away from them?’

Our answer: Live your dreams! We hope to be a good inspiration and example that dreams can be followed no matter money, knowledge, preparation, or work needed to accomplish it. Like someone wrote in another blog (s/v Miramar), the scariest part of their adventure was to ‘THROW OFF THE LINES’. One simply has to start somewhere and follow through; the rest eventually sorts itself out.

Mia, full of life and wonder - How quickly we forget to be that way.
In a year of sailing we’ve learned or were reminded that:
  • On a boat using wind and sun for power to travel and live, you learn to regard nature as an ally to be understood rather than a force to overcome. Nature is AMAZING – we couldn’t design it any better. Being immersed in it keeps us very humble. Time spent watching it is much more soul satisfying than watching hours of television.
  • Bio-luminescence is just another word for Milky Way in the water. 
  • Shooting stars are much more common than thought; we just don’t take the time to look for them. 
  • From our small ‘house’ on water, we get to be outdoors 99% of the time. Another million dollar view to ourselves! The longer you live like this, the less you want to be around cities surrounded by people, pollution, cars, etc.
  • Life is short, get the adventure going now. Since we started sailing we have met one sailor who fell asleep, hit a rock, and sunk his boat. We know another sailor with newly discovered health issues that may mean the end of their trip. Things can change or stop quickly. Do it while you can.                        
  • Teddy another reminder to live life fully
  • People are what makes the experience most memorable. A beautiful sunset watched alone may be breathtaking but years down the road it won’t be remembered as well, if at all, as one watched with special people. A stay at a not-so-nice anchorage turns wonderful when you meet like-minded folks who make your day. Another dinner becomes special with the right conversation and exchange of ideas with new voices and laughter. Someone once told me they went through their old cruising photos from years back and cleaned out all the ones that had no people in them, they didn’t mean that much anymore. They barely could remember or tell the difference between views of islands, rocks, volcanoes, cliffs, architectural pieces, sunsets, trees, etc. However, any scenes highlighted with people were easily remembered, relived, and kept for future reminiscing.
  • On their own, waves (water) make no sound. The BUBBLES are what we hear. No bubbles = no sounds. If you don’t believe me, take some time to watch wave after wave to see when you actually do hear them. When you do, there WILL BE bubbles.
  • Cruisers enlarge/enhance stories of large waves, high winds, bad anchorages, size of fish caught, etc – except when it comes to what budget they have, they always claim to have less than they actually do.
  • No refrigerator living was a good experience in recognizing/realizing that foods that normally require cold for preservation are more expensive, richer in calories and fats and possibly not quite as healthy for you. Think of butter, cheese, meat, mayonnaise, sauces, dressings, and prepackaged foods… Without the fridge we lean more toward a diet of fresh fish/seafood, rice, beans, sprouts, lentils, nuts, dried fruits, fresh fruits and vegetables. Interesting that modern conveniences have led us to spending more money to eat less healthily. Also interesting: the refrigerator is the single largest energy hog onboard!
  • Being naked is the easiest on laundry, wear and tear, and heat rashes… (You don't have to look)
  • Sailboats would never be approved as a safe workplace by OSHA! Try as we might to practice safe sailing, a keen respect for the awesome power we harness is paramount to staying alive.
We have learned much more about our outer (destination, goals, targets) and inner journeys as we go and are thankful at the opportunity.

Need I say more?

  • # of miles sailed: 3,419 nautical miles (1 mile = 5280’, 1 nautical mile = 6076’) or 3,934 miles
  • # of different anchorages: 39
  • # of marinas: 13
  • % of motoring time: 1.7% of miles or 58 miles
  • # of hours sailed: 985 hours, nearly a ½ time job
  • Longest time in marina: Marina La Cruz, 54 days so we could visit inland and go to Arizona
  • Longest time at anchor in one spot: La Cruz, Banderas Bay, 25 days – see above note
  • Longest time between marinas: 46 days
  • # of new places visited for at least a day: 70-75 (add inland places also visited. For example: Juanacatlán, Mascota, Tepic).
  • # days not able to get out of boat due to inclement weather: 2
  • Highest number of nautical miles sailed in 24 hours: 134
  • Highest speed under sail – surfing a wave: 8.6 knots
  • Slowest sail – 37 hours for 8 miles
  • Highest wind under sail: 31 knots
  • Highest wind at anchor: 46 knots
  • # of days at anchor: 164 or 45% of the time
  • # of days at dock: 142 or 39% of the time
  • # of days at mooring: 11 or 3% of the time
  • # of days in yard (working on boat): 16 or 4% of the time
  • # of days sailing during night: 32 or 9% of the time
  • # of gallons of fresh water used per day: 5.3 gallons for 2 adults and one dog!
  • # of gas purchased for generator or dinghy outboard: 20 gallons or 1.67 gallon/month
Our blog: 
  • # of page hits to our blog: 7,730 or over 21 per day
  • Most read post on our blog: ‘The dead and fantastical’ – viewed 143 times
  • Traffic sources: US (80%), Mexico (7%), Russia (5%), Australia and Canada (2%), Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, Trinidad/Tobago (1%), UK (1%)
Beautiful warm clear blue waters teeming with life
Where did the money go? 
  • General groceries – food, alcohol, dog food, hygiene products (36.5%)
  • Marina (24.6%)
  • Transportation – trips other than by boat (14.6%)
  • Small Repairs (9.6%)
  • Entertainment – meals, trips, visits (5.8%)
  • Clothing (2.7%)
  • Drugs/Dental/Medical (1.6%)
  • Fuel – gas/propane (1.6%)
  • Information – books, maps (0.7%)
  • Laundry (0.6%)
  • Communication – phone, Skype, internet, Sailmail (0.5%)
  • Boat Insurance (0.1%)
Our lowest expense month: $210.48 while our highest month: $3,125.84
The list above does not include large repairs (new fridge, new paint job, etc for they were accounted for as shakedown projects that should not have to be repeated in the near future). The only large projects left from the shakedown are work on the motor to make it an inboard and new mainsail track system.

With any luck, the money spent on marina fees should go down as we have learned much more about anchoring over the summer and are less afraid of being out and about rather than in marinas. That money will hopefully be better spent visiting inland more or taking some classes (Spanish, etc).

Take the time...
What we wished we had or what we miss: 
  • Better field guides for local fauna and flora
  • Better camera – we may see these places and people only once
  • Maple syrup, lamb, salmon, good cheeses and wines, real French bread and croissants
  • Ability to research things on the web at ANY time – have to do it only when available
  • Yoga on the bluff in Long Beach (donation based outdoor yoga overlooking ocean)
  • Personal trainer
  • NPR/CBC radio in the morning
Do something for someone else
What we didn’t miss: 
  • TV
  • Traffic
  • Elections
  • Ads and their hype
  • Fake news
  • Typical American paranoia and fear of nearly everything foreign/different

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12/29/2012

    I love this post and wholeheartedly agree. Spending this past summer in the Sea has changed our relationship with the boat, each other, and ourselves- for the better!
    Much love, Lanea and Conor


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