When you start your cruising journey, you picture white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees. Drinks are optional. However, if our first few days are anything to go by, we are not there yet. Quite the opposite, though we will probably look back on these early moments and laugh one day. Why is this? Let me discuss the reality of cruising, certainly not for the fainthearted.
No See Ums– In California, we have maybe a few mosquitoes at sunset. But here in Western Florida, they have a pesky little midge called a “No See Um.” Think invisible teeny tiny flying bug with fangs that bite. Make that bite HARD. They itch, too. Joe is happy about No See Ums because he has me around to draw them away. For some reason, they love me- and I have the 50 bites or so to prove it. DEET is my new perfume.
Marina Birds– The marina our boat is now at has a VERY large bird population. Don’t get me wrong, I love our fine, feathered friends, but these birds are different. They swarm like locusts onto unsuspecting boats, especially sailboats, and leave little spots of treasures behind that stain the deck. It takes a boat owner an hour or two to hose off and scrub down the deck. For that reason, I have nicknamed these birds the spawn of Satan. If you were to place a webcam on our boat, you might see me running up the companionway stairs, yelling and banging the halyard against the mast, so as to chase the birds away. Yes, I make a spectacle of myself so I won’t have to spend 2 hours cleaning the boat. It’s a trade off I am happy to make.
Repair Work– we knew from the survey that we already had a punch list of items to fix. However, we didn’t expect the forward A/C to fail our first night aboard, or there to be major issues with the aft head- in the middle of the second night aboard.
There is a joke in cruising that B.O.A.T stands for “Bring Out Another Thousand.” This is mainly because things tend to break on a boat and requiring fixing. Often. Blame it on the harsh sea environment, but we knew this going into purchasing a boat and moving aboard.
Luckily, Joe is one handy guy. He was able to diagnose and fix the A/C issue (a failed printed circuit board), and pull apart the head, and work to understand the head sanitation issue. (partially blocked vent, failed joker valve, full holding tank, and permeated hoses.) We are now waiting for a rebuild kit to arrive since the impeller needs changing, plus we are pouring vinegar and a great product called Raritan KO down into the holding tank. Raritan also makes a great product named CP, too.
Joe says he now understands the marine toilet and A/C systems quite well. It is good to be married to a mechanical engineer. Especially since you never know what will break next. 🙂
I was talking to my friend, Pam, who circumnavigated with her family aboard a 39-foot sailboat, and shared that our first few days had been challenging for us. I really liked her response, which was that yes, “cruising was hard. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” Great point!