Friday, September 7, 2012

Questions on Cruising


A couple of weeks ago, Dani from Sundowner Sails Again asked me a whole heap of questions in the comments section, and I thought they deserved a full post rather than just a quick response. So, in answer to Dani's questions . . . .

Would you have departed home when you did and taken the route you did?
We had planned on waiting until after hurricane season to leave Texas, giving us more time to work our way down through the Caribbean to the Panama Canal, but instead we decided to go early. On the one hand, that decision was costly because we had to hurry through places in order to beat the heavy part of hurricane season beginning in August. On the other hand, had we stayed, we might have wasted our money on just one more thing (or 20) for the boat or other unexpected expenses and been stuck at the dock for another year or two. We decided that it made more sense to just go, and even though there are downsides to that decision I don't regret it for a second. As to the route we chose, I think it would be fantastic any way you sliced it or diced it - down the Central American coast or through the thorny path and the Eastern Caribbean - either way is pretty incredible. A couple of articles on SailFeed just tackled top cruising destinations - here and here.

Have you had any experience so far where you felt you or Vlad may have gotten hurt or killed?
Not really. Vlad's pinky finger did have that unfortunate encounter with the windless that one time, but other than that we haven't had any really perilous moments. We've been in a few squalls, and we've run aground in sand and mud twice, both of which aren't fun but generally aren't the end of the world either. Obviously, you can get hurt while sailing, and we do take precautions like clipping in when offshore. But I haven't found it nearly as scary as people make it out to be. Then again, we haven't been in a major storm, and we work hard to keep it that way! I would also like to note that we don't take many risks with the weather or sail close to reefs in uncharted water. If it looks at all dubious, we don't go there. Perhaps this limits us, but I would prefer to keep our boat afloat, hole free and out of stormy weather.

If you could redo one part of your journey down there what would it be and how? 
I would stay in Providencia longer. Best island ever.

After cruising for four months, money aside, do you feel now that you want to stay cruising longer than originally planned, shorter, or the same?
Definitely longer! Hands down. We just haven't seen all the stuff we want to see yet. There is so much more to explore, so many more people to meet, weird animals to watch, reefs to snorkel, those gorgeous, picture perfect anchorages to snuggle down in that it's hard to say when we will be ready to move on from this life. Undoubtedly, there will be a moment in the future when we both look at each other and say, that was fun but I'd like to live on land again, but if money were not an object I think that point would be a long time coming.

If anyone else has any questions on the cruising experience, feel free to send them my way.

11 comments:

  1. On the life threatening part how about the two boats you met who were boarded and the other one here in bocas. Bring tazers, or a dog! Jennie almost got washed out of the cockpit by a rogue wave, so teather in to. I say in the Caribbean take a few security precautions, it makes for better sleeps.

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    1. Tazers, flare guns, spear guns, bear spray, all those things may help but in most cases, they will not. There are always at least two and usually many more who come uninvited. These items above only work on one person. IMHO, the only item to actually protect yourself with is a semi-automatic gun and two would be better.

      Dogs are great for alerting the owners of intruders but if the intruders are motivated and not worried about the noise, will just shoot the dog if it gets agressive. I will admit though that a dog, espeically a big one, would be more effective in security then the items above, but I still think you need a gun to back up the bark.

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    2. Hey, Dave! All those things are absolutely true, but Dani only asked if either Vlad or me had been in a life threatening situation. The answer to that question is not really. Other people we know have had their boats broken into or have experienced rough, terrifying weather, but as of yet we have not. And I hope we won't!!

      And Franklin, I've banned myself from discussing guns on the blog for a variety of reasons, so no comment. I'm thinking about breeding a race of guard hedgehogs though. :)

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  2. Great answers that inspire us to get out there ... soon!

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    1. Thanks! And I hope we see you out there!

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  3. Ah yes, my questions! Thanks a bunch for answering them. I love to hear real life experiences, and i'm sure these will help others as well.

    Don't worry I have many more ?'s in the arsenal.

    Most of the answers are positive, that's pretty cool, but please if ever there were something really awful we'd all want to know!!

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    1. I promise I will let you know when things aren't all puppy dogs and sunshine. Overall though, we've had an amazing time so far, even with the bad.

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  4. I know if money isn't an issue, I, so far, would like to stay cruising for at least 10 years and even after that 10 years, may want to do another 5 years in a trawler doing the big circle.

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    1. I'm right there with you, Franklin. Once you get started, it's hard to go back!

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  5. Great post Attila! I am so happy for you and Vlad that you untied the lines and took off, though a bit sad we didn't get more time to hang out. Oh well, hopefully we'll hook up in an anchorage at some point in time.

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    1. Thanks, Cidnie! I wish we could have had more time to hang out as well. I really enjoyed meeting you and Mark and Kitty, even for just a little bit, and I hope we get to meet up again someday.

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