Our friend, Cheryl visited for the week of April 5-11. Here is her blog entry:
Hi, this is Cheryl, writing from South Dakota. I was fortunate enough to spend a week on the boat with Dave and Mary. I know there are a lot of us who have enjoyed reading Mary’s blog of their adventures since the day she started writing it. After spending a week living as a “cruiser” with them I learned that there are a few things that I/we don’t really understand.
I/we think they are living the life and are just being the young retired couple we are happily envious of, but, what I learned is this...living full time on a boat is a LOT of WORK!!! I’m not just referring to things that can go wrong like Mary explained in her April 22-28 posts. I’m talking about the day-to-day, everyday tasks that need to be performed when everything is working correctly. Imagine going camping with a 43’ camper that you set up, tear down and move almost everyday. While imagining that scenario add to the equation that the ground and camper is constantly moving and you don’t get to step off the camper to do anything. Interesting concept, huh??
If any of you watch the TV show Survivor you know that this season they have pitted the White Collar (decision makers) against the Blue Collar (the physical workers) against the No Collar (free spirited). Well Mary and Dave get to/have to do it all.
They make the executive decisions: where to travel to, how to get there, when to do it, where to anchor, when to run the generator, water maker and do it all while conserving fuel and power, manage the money, insurances etc. Trust me, this is the short list!
After they have made all the decisions they get to carry out the plan: raise or set the anchor, open and close up the hatches, clean the boat inside and out, set the course for the day, set the sails (if they get to sail, they don’t go up by themselves), stay vigilant to avoid rocks, reefs, boats, cook the meals, clean up after every meal (there isn’t space or dishes to not clean up each time), dig to find everything. Imagine all your storage in chest freezers and you always need the items in the bottom so you take the cushion off the top, move the lid which is a heavy wood piece, take everything out, get what you need and then put everything else back in, put the lid back on and the cushion on top. Don’t forget that you get to store EVERYTHING in a ziplock bag. That means canned goods, paper goods, crackers, cereals, everything so it doesn’t get wet. The day-to-day activities reminded me of pioneer living. They have their routine and each goes about all the tasks without complaint, but it is work and it must be done. The stairs are steep and the movement is constant which makes everything take more time and uses more muscles.
After all the work is completed they get to be the No Collar folks and finally kick back, relax and enjoy the view which is soul calming and incredible in the Bahamas, walk the beaches, snorkel the reefs or enjoy a cool one. Yes, then they get to live the life that we imagine, but they have earned it after all the brain and brawn it took. And tomorrow they have to/get to do it all again. Even when they take a day off they do a lot of routine tasks.
We decided to do a night crossing of about 50 nautical miles. I was hyped and excited to see what they really go through during a night crossing on the Atlantic ocean. I wanted to experience it all and what an education I got!! They said it was a typical crossing- 10 ft. rolling seas, 15-20 mph winds but not in the right direction for sails for the first 4 hours, and someone must be alert at the helm the whole time. I helped by taking a 2 hour shift at the helm. I did pretty good with the rolling seas but between the diesel fumes and losing the view of the horizon when darkness set in I prayed that I wouldn’t have to do another one after finishing it. I can’t even imagine doing a 40 hour crossing, taking 3 hour shifts and not getting a reprieve until the destination is reached. Their Alabama to Florida crossing was also in cold and wet weather...yuck. And of course once you reach your destination you still get to go through the end of day chores before collapsing.
I have always respected Mary and Dave, but I REALLY respect them now and all the hard work they have to do so they can live the life and enjoy their retirement. So next time you think they are are just being the lazy bums on the sailboat, think again. But also know that they are loving almost every minute of it; I am so happy for them and can’t wait to go do it all again!!