This trip has been a huge learning experience. We discover something new about ourselves, each other, the boat, our environment, this lifestyle, everything – EVERY DAY. When we set out on this journey, we were really confident that we knew what we were doing. We felt like if we had the basics figured out (keep the boat floating and keep ourselves alive) that we’d be just fine. Almost four months later, our perspective has completely changed. There’s much more to consider when choosing to live this lifestyle than we ever imagined. What made us rethink everything? Georgetown, Great Exuma.
One month in cruising heaven
We really loved all of the little islands in the Exuma chain (I’ll post about that later), but we really ‘figured things out’ in Georgetown. The town is the largest cruising community we’ve ever experienced and hopefully it’s not the last. Never have we found so many people in one collective place doing the same thing as us. It verified that this journey we’re taking isn’t crazy and that we aren’t crazy for doing this. There’s a whole other world outside of the ‘typical American life’ that has opened up to us and we only wish we would’ve discovered it sooner.
The great thing about Georgetown is that everyone there wants you to succeed. They want to get to know you, help you and ultimately, they want you to be happy. People there sound pretty fabulous right? They are!!! They’ll invite you on their boat, pick you up in their dinghy, feed you dinner, give you drinks, share their wisdom and then take you back home. Oh, let’s not forget that they’ll also give you ANYTHING you need, no questions asked. It’s like being surrounded by close family you never knew you had.
Time for improvements
After being in the community for a while and going on other cruisers boats, we soon realized that we were living in the ‘Cruising Stone Age’. Our quality of life was suffering, but we just figured that’s how this lifestyle had to be. We had this notion that because we weren’t in a building on land, we’d be eternally ‘roughing it’, like camping (which we enjoy). I guess that’s why we never had any qualms about trying this lifestyle. It wasn’t until being in Georgetown that we realized we couldn’t have been more wrong.
All around us were people who had been living the cruising lifestyle for decades. They lived full time on their boat or they traveled south for the winter and headed back north in the summer. These people know what they are doing and they do it well. Boats in Gtown are serious (for the most part). Wind generators, solar panels, giant dinghies with monster outboards. Want ice for your your G&T? No problem. Want a REAL hot shower? You got it. All of the comforts of life on land have been harnessed on their boats. And really, why not? Who said that living on a boat meant you had to live like a caveman? After all, if you’re living there full time, shouldn’t you be comfortable? Just as comfortable as if you were on land?
What is comfortable?
Everyone has a different take on how to feel comfortable on board. Some people are satisfied with eating canned food and they don’t care about having refrigeration. Others wouldn’t leave the dock without a working freezer stocked with ice, loads of meat and ice cream. Some cruisers can’t live without cockpit cushions while others are satisfied with ‘throwables’ to sit on (which also serve as floatation devices). Some are obsessed with having two heads(bathrooms) with full stall showers while others are content with using solar showers and having a two minute fresh water rinse in the cockpit.
No matter what your position, there is no right answer. Everyone finds comfort in different ways and we’re trying to find out what works best for us. I suppose we fall somewhere in the middle. Our boat is too small to have all of the bells and whistles that larger boats can accommodate, but Oop has enough space for those important things we want.
Pulling the trigger
Having all of this knowledge available made us more aware of our living situation and how just a few small additions could drastically improve our quality of life. Our friend Bill aboard SV Charisma was a huge factor in giving us the push we needed to make some much needed changes (thanks again, Bill!) With his help, we purchased two new (to us) anchors (for the boat and the dinghy), some more batteries to add amps to our battery bank and even got a new wind generator.
These items have already helped us out immensely. Imagine how great our lives would be if we were able to check everything off of our ‘cruising wish list’? With that said, we hope to make more upgrades along the way that would help us be more comfortable living aboard off the grid.