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Old 28-03-2008, 19:26   #1
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On extended cruising, relationships, and cruise logs....

Slightly different than SailingWoo's recent post....

One of the things that I've learned about my boat/water addiction is that an important part of it is the people that are part of the picture. Whether it is family reunions at a lake in the mountains, cruising the local islands on my boat, or vacation charters in beautiful places...extended time with friends and family away from the grind of daily life is a key ingredient.

As I ponder living aboard with an eye toward extended cruising I wonder if it's possible to maintain this key element. I've read a number of articles on cruising where people comment that they have many fewer guests than they thought and friends and family don't meet them along the way for a week or two aboard as much as the pre-cruise talk led them to believe.

I also keep tabs on a number of blogs of folks on extended cruises. Many of them read like vacation journals in that even though they are cruising, their activities at each stop are mostly sightseeing and enjoying restaurants, shops, and marina/resorts amenities. The other common topic is the details of operating the vessel, repairs, supplies, etc.

While this is all useful information, I wonder if this would get old after a while. There is little maintaining relationships or building news ones. No discussion of getting to know the locals, perhaps some sort of volunteering or even paid work, sharing one's knowledge and learning new things. Perhaps if you are only around for a couple days or even weeks there just isn't time. If you are in one place, there are long term relationships with neighbors and friends.

I've also read that in decades past there was a much greater sense of camaraderie between cruisers, presumably as communications were more sparse and the common challenges were greater.

I'd certainly be interested in personal experiences, articles, blogs, etc....

Thanks

Mark
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Old 28-03-2008, 19:37   #2
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Hey Mark -

While I'm not out cruising yet, I definitely know what you're talking about. Unlike some, I don't have a situation where I'll be able to live off interest. I plan on working as I go. As a result, I expect that I'll be stopping for longer periods of time than a lot of people. This will give me more time to experience local culture and people.

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Old 28-03-2008, 20:23   #3
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Cruising camraderie is alive and well, but it is different from what you find on land. In a land-based existence, life revolves around work, family, children, and the location where you live.

In cruising, your life revolves around your cruising style. We always cruise in the company of people who become our friends because we have a similar agenda. You quickly find people who sail as hard as you, cover the same number of miles as you, drink the same number of sundowners as you, have or don't have the same number of children as you, eat out at restaurants as much as you, take similar tours as you, and are traveling to similar destinations as you.

When you cruise, the seasons and wind patterns control your life to a great extent. The year we went through the Panama Canal, there were about 400 yachts that transited the canal. When sailing across the Pacific, we saw the same yachts again and again. It didn't take long to find cruising mates that accompanied us all the way to New Zealand.

After the south Pacific cyclone season, hundreds of boats head north from New Zealand over several weeks sailing for Tonga, Fiji, and New Caledonia. Birds of a feather once again flock together, and you cruise in the company of yachts with whom you have significant mutuality.

Although most yachties don't spend large amounts of time developing relationships with the locals, many other yachties do, and they return to the same locations season after season to spend time with their local friends. It's not an either/or proposition. It's whatever you want cruising to be.

With modern communications - email - pactor - the cruising family and community is bigger than ever. We stay in contact with cruising friends all around the world, and it doesn't matter where we are. We can be in metropolis or Nowhere Land, and still be part of our global crusing family.
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Old 28-03-2008, 21:26   #4
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We did French Polynesia in the mid 70's. At that time, they were deserted/empty/no one there compared to the pictures of the anchorages I've seen recently. We made friends with fellow cruisers of like mind, going in the same direction and at relatively the same pace as us. We still keep in touch with a couple of these people after all these years. I expect if we'd continued on around, we'd have spent more time with some of the people and discovered a lot of new people along the way. Our friends were varied ages from late 20's like us to over 60. The two years we were out, most of the people were of a similar age to us. From what I hear, the ages would still be similar to ours only 30 years older.

Since you can only spend so much time in the water free diving, I'd go out and find some locals who needed help and volunteer my time. Got me off my butt, taught me useful tasks like collecting copra, laying up FRP chairs, intimate with a machete clearing land, etc. and made friends with the natives. It was an initiation into the local social scene. Didn't keep in touch with any of these locals who we helped out. A case of dissimilar interests, economic status, language barrier and, even though we cruised at a snails pace, we never spent more than a couple of months in the same anchorage and usually less than a month.

We had a couple of people come down and visit us while we were out. This turned out to not have been the best of experiences. Both overstayed there welcome, one for three months. Don't know how anyone sails with more people than their immediate family. They were nice people but living on the confines of a boat in the Marquesas, Tuamotus, and Tahiti got to be too close quarters. The biggest problem is they tended to need entertaining and were always about. We just didn't have any privacy while they were there.

I wouldn't worry about making friends along the way. I wouldn't let any 'friends' visit for more than two weeks. More important to the enjoyment of the cruise will be your adapation to being responsible for almost all your own existance.

Aloha
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Old 28-03-2008, 22:00   #5
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Mark,


I think it's all about how you decide to cruise. If you are into traveling from place to place, you don't get a lot of local interaction. If you decide like we do, SLOWLY, you will have the chance to make wonderful new friends. Both local AND other cruisers! It's all up to you.


You might want to take a look at our “Position reports” page on our web site. We have also documented a lot of our interactions on video.


Greg
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Old 29-03-2008, 10:26   #6
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We made many more real friends in our 6 years of cruising than we had in the previous 20 on land. It is the thing I enjoyed MOST about cruising. Have no fear...if you want friendships they are there to be had.
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Old 29-03-2008, 10:50   #7
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To second Cam's post, we've made more friends since we started cruising that we made in working 25 years. Our friends are either those we made when we were very, very young or those we made cruising. As far as this life getting "old" after a while, Mark, I think that'll only happen if you get old! This life, although I only do it six months a year, is what keeps most folks young. Nothing like days and days of sunny, easy living and then, when the weather deteriorates or you're sailing in conditions when you'd rather not, a day or two of getting the s**t scared out of you to keep you young. Never a dull moment.
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Old 30-03-2008, 04:42   #8
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Those who do extraordinary things, are often extraordinary people.
Those who share extraordinary experiences & circumstances, often develop extraordinary relationships.
So it goes with cruisers and cruising.
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Old 31-03-2008, 15:07   #9
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Thanks to all for the thoughtful replies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaDouleur View Post
While I'm not out cruising yet, I definitely know what you're talking about. Unlike some, I don't have a situation where I'll be able to live off interest. I plan on working as I go. As a result, I expect that I'll be stopping for longer periods of time than a lot of people. This will give me more time to experience local culture and people.
Perhaps it's not only about relationships, but about work. On one hand I think work has my head in such a vice that if I didn't work for 6 months I think I'd be a completely different person. On the other hand, work has been the major endeavor of my life and a large part of my definition of myself. While I would certainly change many things about work, I enjoy the intellectual challenges and stimulation from colleagues.
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
In cruising, your life revolves around your cruising style. We always cruise in the company of people who become our friends because we have a similar agenda. You quickly find people who sail as hard as you, cover the same number of miles as you, drink the same number of sundowners as you, have or don't have the same number of children as you, eat out at restaurants as much as you, take similar tours as you, and are traveling to similar destinations as you.
This is very interesting. One would think this would be true on land as well, but I guess we all get caught up in the noise and trivia of daily life and these things suffer. I occasionally wonder whether long distance cruising is really what I'm after or whether it is really a metaphor for a simpler more deliberate existence and I'd be happy tied to the dock and heading out for short trips.
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
With modern communications - email - pactor - the cruising family and community is bigger than ever. We stay in contact with cruising friends all around the world, and it doesn't matter where we are. We can be in metropolis or Nowhere Land, and still be part of our global crusing family.
I must say that connectivity and lack of some affordable broadband is a major concern. While I'm certainly an information junkie and could stand to cut back, I think I'll need more than occasionally stumbling upon wireless.
Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Since you can only spend so much time in the water free diving, I'd go out and find some locals who needed help and volunteer my time. Got me off my butt, taught me useful tasks like collecting copra, laying up FRP chairs, intimate with a machete clearing land, etc. and made friends with the natives. It was an initiation into the local social scene. Didn't keep in touch with any of these locals who we helped out. A case of dissimilar interests, economic status, language barrier and, even though we cruised at a snails pace, we never spent more than a couple of months in the same anchorage and usually less than a month.
There always remains the issue of balance. There must be time for fun, shouldn't be too much time on chores, boat repairs, etc, but there also must be time for learning new things, or contributing. Perhaps it's that workaholic disease I inherited from my father and grandfather, but in the back of my mind I'm always thinking about what value I'm creating or contribution I'm making.
Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
We made many more real friends in our 6 years of cruising than we had in the previous 20 on land. It is the thing I enjoyed MOST about cruising. Have no fear...if you want friendships they are there to be had.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
To second Cam's post, we've made more friends since we started cruising that we made in working 25 years. Our friends are either those we made when we were very, very young or those we made cruising.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delezynski View Post
I think it's all about how you decide to cruise. If you are into traveling from place to place, you don't get a lot of local interaction. If you decide like we do, SLOWLY, you will have the chance to make wonderful new friends. Both local AND other cruisers! It's all up to you.
Thanks. Actually, thinking about what you said, it's amazing how little time I actually get to spend with people I think of my good friends, jobs, traffic, kids, housework, etc....

Thanks again to all, in the end the answers seems to be it is what you make of it, and worst comes to worst, you do something different.
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Old 04-04-2008, 16:29   #10
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Friendships and the cruising life

Yup, to echo what others have said so well...we have never made better friends. But, it was somewhat of a surprise how difficult it was to have our land-based friends join us on the boat...and how difficult it was to get rid of them...logistically speaking, of course. Timing anchorages and passages with airport schedules is nearly impossible in some places. But, meeting fellow cruisers and locals is relatively easy and stress free. Do not fear, you are not alone, especially in good bars and anchorages.

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Old 05-04-2008, 03:06   #11
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It's perhaps the curse of humankind that we define/label ourselves by what we do for a living rather than the person we actually are. Perhaps you may find that you swap labels, as in 'I used to be an X, but now I'm a cruiser'.
Interesting comment of broadband. Last time I went cruising my communications consisted of an SSB/VHF and telephones ashore. Sending a fax was the height of sophistication. I brought a boat phone in the Caribbean and that was a revolution! This time I have a sat phone, as well as SSB, which means phone calls (at a price) and emails. I also just brought an 'international' SIM card for my mobile phone, so this time things will be different. I use the internet a lot at the moment, but perhaps I'm bored waiting to get going? I will miss (I think) not being able to look at this forum (amongst others) but then I'm sure life will throw up other amusements. I will always be able to communicate with family & friends (provided the Iridium keeps going) so maybe getting up in the morning and looking out over a (hopefully) sun -drenched anchorage with the first tea of the day will fill the gap left by lack of internet access. I won't know until I try it, neither will you. I'm leaving at the end of this month.
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Old 05-04-2008, 05:11   #12
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As for communication nowadays, I am currently sitting in my main salon in my pajamas reading and responding to these posts. We are on a mooring, but I could also do this at anchor with an antenna that we haul up the mast and a signal amplifier. Wifi signals abound in many many places, at least in the Caribbean. I am a wifi junky, and I love nothing more than sitting with that first morning cup of coffee reading the news online. With both Skype and a GSM cell phone, I never feel deprived of communication with friends and family.
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Old 05-04-2008, 05:52   #13
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Good point
I guess we think people who read our blog are more interested in places than people. We spent a couple of hours chatting to a local yesterday. He had a fascinating history, spent the night drinking and eating with 2 couples from different boats we only also met yesterday. Went around this morning to try and fix the CD player on another boat. They are coming around to our boat tonight. These meetings probably wont make the blog (my wife writes it so we will have to wait and see)
You are also correct that iit sounds like a vacation. It feels like the best vacation I have ever had.
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Old 05-04-2008, 06:24   #14
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I guess we think people who read our blog are more interested in places than people.
We like the stuff about people as any cruising guide will be better about the technicals of the places, and the best places get mentioned in personal bits anyway.

But what amazes me is how many blogs and websites have no, or very few photos of the people! Lots of sunset piccies and clear water etc.
Names too often get side-lined.

Your blog is excellent! Lots of photos of you and Angela and heaps of travel photos so we can live a bit of your life with you. Love the good photography too, and the large size photos on clicking. Also love the writing style. Love the "tethered like a blue healer in the back of a ute". That'll confuse this pack of foreigners!!!!!

Have fun!


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Old 07-04-2008, 06:32   #15
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Thanks Mark for your kind comments. Angela was thrilled to hear you liked the blog. I have just downloaded your web site. Very professional,with great photos. I have not had a chance to read it properly, but it looks like we share many similar experiences, buying a yacht overseas was not easy for us either.
When we are sick of the med hopefully we will catch up with you.
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