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Cruising on your boat...
Chuck it all, quit the job, sell the house, buy a boat, move aboard and go cruising. Well, we did it. Almost a decade and a half ago. We can tell you, it's great! But not quite as simple as it sounds.
And just in time for your Cruise South! Tips on how to cruise the ICW without running aground; some (we think) convincing arguments for the inside passage over the outside; free docks; links to where to get fuel and groceries; and photography of some of our favorite places on the ICW. Start your ICW Cruise here...
Ah... The dream. Sitting on your boat, pristine, clear water all around you, tropical island with- in swimming distance, rum drink in your hand, sunshine..
Our cruising friends Coleman and Sandy Blake cruise with their cat, Mr. Mischief. Sandy contributed this article which starts, "We are pet lovers (cats in particular). To us, the commitment made when acquiring a pet is second only to the huge responsibility undertaken with the rearing of children, and the concerns of caring for pets on board is not unlike those of caring for children. The problem is ...
Our good friends Skip and Harriet Hardy wrote an excellent article for their blog and consented to allow us to reprint it here. We met them in the first Dismal Swamp lock primarily because they have a Sheltie. We used to have a Sheltie, too, back in our land dwelling days. The writing is first person by Harriet.
We have met lots of cruisers out there. Some seem to have and unlimited budget; some seem as poor as dog meat. Almost all seem to be enjoying themselves. I'm telling you, if we can do it, almost anyone can do it.
Sometimes just trying to simplify your life can be complex. Keeping in touch with people while you're out cruising is easier now with the internet and cell phones - when you're close enough to a signal. However, you still need to get your mail. You want to receive your magazine subscriptions, greeting cards, and (shudder) bills.
If you plan to take an extended voyage on your vessel, even a single overnighter, it is an excellent precaution to file a float plan with a trusted friend or relative. Here's what you need to include.
The Gulf Stream, that is. Specifically from Florida to the Bahamas. The Rhumb Line versus the Rum Line. How to save afew
There is only one way. We've tried the others and failed. Here's how to do it.
Help support your fellow cruisers - buy a book, or Share on Facebook or whatever your favorite social media is.
What you need to know when you plug your boat in to keep from burning it to the water line or killing yourself.
There are many ways to anchor your boat. A few of them work - most of them don't. Here is a method which works - we
learned the hard way. Maybe you can save yourself the trouble by reading this.
Many cruisers have attempted to use the Bahamian method of anchoring in a crowded anchorage when
others were doing it. If they were there for more than a couple of days, when it came time to pull up the
anchor, the two rodes were hopelessly entangled. Here's a method to avoid that.
When the wind is coming from one direction but the waves are coming from another, it's going to be a
very uncomfortable night. Here's what we have used to avoid that.
It's a nice talent to have to wake up in the morning, glance at the water and know what the wind is doing. Maybe you just want
to roll back over and get some more shuteye, or maybe get up and get underway, or maybe it's time to set that second anchor.
Here's the secret.
Every cruiser worries about lightning - living on a sail boat with what seems to be a 50 or 60 foot
lightning rod which leads right to the middle of where you live. What can you do about it? The jury
is still out on that question - but here is a lot of research we did trying to find out the answer. You
be the judge.
Sometimes we poor cruisers are too poor to head south for the winter. If you don't have a nice warm house to escape to when
the cold winds blow, you'll appreciate having an insulated boat. It will help keep you cooler in the summer, too.
Ever wonder how some of these more experienced cruiser types could look up at the sky and clouds and tell you that the NOAA
weather guy is full of petunias - and tell you what it's going to be in the next few hours? And he's right? Here's some
information that can help you start to be that salty ol' cruiser type.
You're a cruiser, you already know how to use your VHF radio. But maybe you've got some crew that needs help with it. Steer
him in this direction. (Or maybe there's a few things you might want to know, too. Go ahead and read this. We won't tell.)
Admit it... we all need to brush up on these now and then.
And I'll admit this - I kept a little cheat sheet at the helm that listed what all the sound signals and navigations lights mean. I
claimed it was for the crew, but they all knew better.
It's two in the morning. There's a boat coming straight at you - you can see his red and green running lights. But you see a
bunch of red and white lights in the middle of the boat above them. What the heck could that be??? This is why I have a cheat
sheet at the helm. Maybe you should brush up on these, too.
Long day, the anchors down, the wine is poured, and you've still got a couple of hours of daylight left.
And it's warm but the breeze is perfect. Time for a good book.