If all good things must come to an end, then it had to happen sooner or later. After 7 years and nearly 400 tips, DIY projects, yarns, and wordy expressions of opinion, we have decided to end our Monday posts and shut down the website. We will still be sharing tips and great information on our facebook page, and pictures of both the practical and eye candy variety on Instagram. So as we and technology move along, please move with us and like and follow us at either or both of those locations. And as always, feel free to swing by and say hi when you share an anchorage with Eurisko. Thanks for all the support. See you out there.

What do you DO all day?

September 19, 2016

It's here! My latest book, Years of Ideas from a Simple Sailor is now available on Amazon.

Anyone who has been running on the gerbil wheel nonstop for any length of time may find it hard to fathom what cruisers could possibly find to occupy their time. With no schedule (the only safe way to cruise), how do we fill our days? The answer depends on what day it is.

Our lives are the same, day after day, as long as we are in one of the following situations. Then BAM, everything changes as our lives progress to the next stage. One stage to the next, the variation can be extreme, but within those stages our days vary little. Here are a couple of examples.

School days

If we are working, our lives are like many other people's. We get up, heat water on the stove top to make coffee in our French press, rinse the sprouts, eat breakfast, figure out what's for dinner in case we need to soak a bean, make lunch, and out the door he goes. When we were both leaving the house to work we had boys at home that I homeschooled, so my morning included getting them up and ready for school and then teaching until around lunch time. I usually had to bake something during that time, too, since we were continually running out of goodies for breakfast, snack, and dessert. Once the kids were done with school I had a few hours to do chores: laundry, get water, run the trash to shore, walk to the grocery store, refill the propane tanks, and so on. When the boys were home they helped with many of those chores, even going so far as to walk to the laundromat with me so I didn't have to carry 3 loads of laundry both ways. Then, I'd have to be on the boat by 3:00 to get ready for work at the local bar or restaurant until 11:00 or so at night. Row home, climb into bed too exhausted to even think straight, up at 6:30 the next morning to do it all over again.

Chores in Trinidad

Now that the boys are grown and moved out and I work online, my days are less frantic but Dave still gets up and does the regular "go to work" routine. When we're working. Which is not usually more than a few months a year. When we're not working, our lives depend on where and why we're not working. If we're sitting in a safe zone waiting for the end of hurricane season, our lives are wonderfully slow. We can sit on deck and watch the neighborhood dolphins, rays, monkeys, or oro pendula, depending on where we're anchored. We do our chores when it's convenient, timing them around our hike/swim/snorkel/sail the dinghy schedule. I heat up the boat baking something wonderfully sinful and then we leave it to go do chores or something fun while it cools off. By the time we've finished our hike/swim/snorkel/chores/sail in the dinghy the boat has cooled off, and it's time to cook dinner. We try to get off the boat every day, even if it's just to jump overboard for a quick swim. But when your list for the day includes only baking a cake, going for a hike, and maybe a swim to cool off in the afternoon, we do a lot of time for what my sister calls "Practicing the art of doing nothing." But it's not really nothing. We read. We study our latest hobby or passion. I write. Dave designs or builds jewelry. We watch the world around us, listening to and watching things that people who aren't "doing nothing" miss entirely. These are the parts of our lives that I enjoy the most. But of course, we have to work a few months to be able to eat during those times, and we have to travel to get to those places that I enjoy. And sometimes it's the traveling that's the hardest.

My favorite "vacation"

On days that we are supposed to be moving, we get up about an hour before Chris Parker comes on the SSB so we can get coffee, eat breakfast, and be ready to anchor up as soon as we're sure it's a go. If something happened to our weather window, we stand down and consider it a day off. We resort to "vacation" mode as if we're not supposed to be making miles that day. But if it's a go, we gather the pile that goes in the cockpit with us when we travel (handheld GPS, my camera, two water bottles, coffee thermos, Dave's coffee cup, charts), Dave raises the sails, I raise the anchor, and we're off. Offshore there's just no such thing as "a day in the life" because every day is different. It's more a matter of doing what you've got to do to get through. Sometimes it's bliss, other times you're in survival mode and all you want is to get off this @#$%^& boat! But there's no such thing as "typical."

The joys of unexpectedly being able to witness Regatta

This summer while traveling through the Bahamas we had an unusual combination of travel/vacation modes. We were technically traveling, and we moved every day we could, pushing to get to the Caribbean by the time hurricane season got rolling, but because medical issues prevented our leaving at a good time, weather didn't cooperate much. So even though we were in travel mode, we spent a lot of time hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and sailing. I think it was the best "vacation" we’ve ever had because it was short (only 5 months) and sort of forced upon us by weather. We didn't intentionally spend the summer in the Bahamas, but oh what a magnificent time we had!

Some days we practice the art of doing nothing and others we try to be content with only getting one of a million things done that are on our list. When we go to clear into a country and we realize it's going to take all day to see all the different officials, we just say, "Well, this is what we do today." When we row to shore with our propane tanks, wait at the correct corner for the propane truck for three hours and he never shows up, we shrug our shoulders and say, "Meh, we'll get it later." Life is more about how you react to things that happen to you than about making things happen. When the store doesn't have eggs or butter for three weeks, we get creative. We could complain or compare it to "home" (if we still had such a thing), but that would take all the fun out of the 8-hour sail we enjoyed to get to the store to realize they still didn't have butter. We could complain to the customs officers about how long it was taking, but that would do nothing but confirm their previous impression of Americans. And we could bemoan the months we sat in Georgetown, Bahamas, trying to get east. But then we wouldn't have been able to experience Family Islands Regatta or any of the other wonderful days that this summer offered us. What is there to do when you jump off the gerbil wheel? If you're not willing to accept that just about anything can happen on any given day, then you might want to just keep on running.

Regardless of the time of day or how badly we don't want to, when Mother Nature says it's time to go, we GO. MONDAY we'll share our experiences of knowing when getting out is your best option.


Connie McBride's work has been published in Good Old Boat, Sail Magazine, Small Craft Advisor, Cruising World, All at Sea, and Blue Water Sailing. As a full-time liveaboard cruiser for over 15 years, she has written several books and in her spare time, well, who has spare time?

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