Whoa… That’s a big topic for just one word!
As our season comes to an end, this is a topic I wanted to cover from OUR perspective! I bolded OUR for a reason. Through the years I had read posts, books, blogs and other literature detailing what “CRUISING” is. Everything from where to go, what anchor to use, how to anchor, protection, what to cook, how to provision and even how to take care of our toilet (and tons more). Now while it wasn’t all bullshit, a large percentage of it was!
Ok let that sink in!
Here is where the haters are gonna hate. So be it! The reality is, writing about cruising would be like writing the following titles:
1. How to be an IT consultant
2. How to sell insurance
3. How to be a Dad/Mom
4. How to be a rockstar
The fact is, cruising is not ONE thing or done ONE way. There are certainly some wrong ways to do the technical things, but I have learned one thing. Anyone that tries to convince you it MUST be done a certain way is wrong %90 of the time! The louder and more forceful they are, the higher chance the information they are giving is wrong. True leaders, and captains have a certain way about them, its not forceful, but you know it is right! You learn to recognize those people and that advice (even though it may be contrary to a bunch of what you read/researched). While some of those people have written books, they never act like that information is gospel. This is probably the most important point I will make in this post or ever (and probably the most unpopular). Seriously we have watched new cruisers bang their heads against the wall OVER AND OVER AND OVER BECAUSE IT MUST BE DONE THIS WAY! Hell, I did the same when we first got out here! Listen… There is no %100 right way. Every boat, crew and situation is different.
So our top 6 rules of cruising..
#1 ROLL WITH IT
Seriously. We are not doing this because we want everything to go exactly as planned. We are out here for adventure, romance and enlightenment. Those things only come with uncertainty. Assess the situations, embrace it, the roll with it. I’m not just talking issues or problems but situations. Hell our best memories are being in super strange situations! (E.g. Bandaging a drug dealers severed thumb while he told us stories of his life).
#2 LEAVE YOUR EGO ON LAND
There is no place for a big ego out here. No matter how awesome you think your story, boat or gear is, there will ALWAYS be someone with a better boat, stories or gear. However you will probably never get to meet them as they will avoid your pompous ass. Don’t let your ego get in the way of meeting truly amazing people.
#3 SLOW DOWN
This is going to be one of the hardest things you do. Land life has conditioned you to the exact opposite of this. You are used to doing everything fast and efficient and then moving on to the next thing. Your first few months you will spend cruising like that (I sure did). After those first few months, you will run out of “next things” to do. At this point, you will either learn to slow down or you will be thinking of doing something else.
#4 ACCEPT THE DIFFERENCE
Differences abound everywhere. Culture, food, housing, language and people are all very different from land life. We are not on holidays, enjoying the differences for a few weeks then going back “home”, we ARE home! Once we no longer notice the difference, we know we have stayed somewhere long enough and its time to move on!
#5 REMEMBER THIS IS FOR YOU
We meet tons of other cruisers. Families, singles and crews all out here cruising their way. Its very easy to get caught in what other people are doing. Keeping what is important to us and following our path is important. This can be VERY hard at times when you have to wave bye to boats and people!
#6 CRUISING/SAILING FORUMS SUCK
Like a treasure hunter at a sewage treatment plant you need to wade through a river of shit for the occasional prize. Even then, the prize sometimes turns out to be a polished turd.
Seriously…. I spent 10 years living vicariously and creeping the forums. In all the time I thought I had picked up the prizes. I was so wrong. Even information from HIGHLY regarded posters may not have turned out wrong, but was not the best information (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill). Although forums are fun, understand that they are just that, entertainment. Do not trust the information EVER.
So there you have it, the five rules of cruising according to Party of Five.. Just remember like all the things I read over the years, these things might turn out to be bullshit for you! Most importantly you will never know till you come out here and experience it for yourself.