Cruising: The Ultimate Life...or...Lie
“Tell your blog followers that this is all a lie.” Scott was pissed. “Everything is a lie. This life is not awesome, it’s a total pain in the ass, everything breaks, we hardly get to sail, islands are all the same and I hate it.” He continued to mutter angrily to himself as he fought our swinging dinghy that was not hanging properly on the davits despite a lot of effort and engineering from Scott earlier that morning. The white capped seas were huge and confused, the wind was blowing over 20 knots and our boat was being tossed around like a toy. I was feeling nauseous, Isla was seasick and the overall vibe on the boat was utterly unpleasant. I mentioned earlier that Scott is less than enthused with the cruising life than I, and this was most certainly a low point for him.
We were on our passage from St. Maarten to Ile Fourche. Scott and I hadn’t been getting along due to communication issues, and as if a passive aggressive shuffle around our boat wasn’t enough to kill the mood, this trip was the icing on the cake. “I’m done.” He continued. “We’re hauling the boat…I’m finished with this. Cruising sucks. I’d rather just have a Laser, sail on a lake by myself and be done with all this. Enjoy these last few weeks, because this is it for me. I’m out.” He was not joking. I might have tried to cheer him up, told him to “look on the bright side” and remind him of all the wonderful aspects of cruising, not to mention the fact that he wasn’t entirely thrilled with his life ashore either, but this would have been pointless. There was no stopping this rant. Best to just nod my head and let him run with it. I sat silent, cradling a seasick baby. Miserable. All three of us were miserable.
Five hours later we picked up a mooring ball in Ile Fourche, a tiny uninhabited little island off the coast of St. Barths. Suddenly, the boat was still, the breeze gentle, and the sun danced brightly on the water. Peace. Everything was right in the world again. The horrendous passage we just endured felt a million miles away, like it happened in another time, another place. Such is the dichotomous nature of cruising; one minute your cursing life the next you wonder how you got so lucky. Our friends on s/v Yolo came over for dinner and it was unanimous: the passage sucked. “But” Luuck continued with a smile, “anchoring some place like this makes it all worth it.” Luuck is definitely the kind of guy who looks on the bright side which is a quality I admire, and one that you should possess if you plan to live on a cruising boat at sea. Because – honestly – things can get really rough on a boat, both literally and metaphorically. Being able to keep your chin up should be a prerequisite; if you are prone to depression or tend to see the glass as half-empty, this might not be the life for you. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; cruising is punctuated by high highs and low lows. Rare are the days in the middle, at least that is our experience.
The next day we dropped our mooring and set sail for St. Kitts, a nine hour trip away. This time, however, the seas were more manageable, the wind was at our beam and we sailed – strictly sailed – 90% of the day. Scott was in his element. The boat was quiet save for the rush of the water against the hull and the sing-song creaks of a boat at sea. The conditions were mild and our boat gently rode the rhythmic waves – up, over and down, up, over and down - like a galloping horse. The bellies of our sails were full of a fresh wind and trimmed to perform, and we charged forth at over six knots. It was a pretty perfect day – one that you couldn’t help but appreciate. “Well," Scott suddenly piped up out of nowhere while gazing forward to our lush, hilly destination, "maybe we can cruise a little longer.” He sat there pensively, taking it all in, no stranger to the fact that this type of day was exactly what he signed up for. I had to laugh – because out here, moods change like - and with - the wind. We take it one day at a time.
Posted with permission by Brittany Myers of s/v Asante.
You can find her blog at http://www.windtraveler.net/
Believe me when I say we experienced those exact emotions and exchanged similar words (more me than Craig). The only addition I would make to this story is that cruising with kids can AND will make the highs higher and the lows lower! In the heat of the moment, you might throw your kid overboard (yes, I threw Kate overboard fully clothed, at anchor) but you will love them stronger everyday!