Cruising is more than just traveling on a boat – it’s a different lifestyle. For one, life slows down – moving at 6 mph down the East Coast definitely provides opportunities for reflection that fighting DC traffic does not. And being out in the open is wonderfully refreshing after spending my days in an office staring at a computer screen or talking on the phone.
We get to see some fun stuff, (see the blog “Lots to See”).
Here is the sunset from our anchorage in Dewees Creek.
This anchorage is just northeast of Charleston. You leave the Intercoastal Waterway and make your way through what are basically swampgrasses with little rivers through them. We watched dolphins play in groups of two and three, feeding along the shore and chasing our boat. Here’s what the swampgrasses look like at low tide and you can see the splashing of a dolphin near the shore.
Part of the lifestyle change is that my husband of 31 years and I are with each other 24/7 on a boat 31’ long and 10’ wide. That’s some togetherness. I used to see him for about 2 minutes in the morning – just long enough for him to tell me how great I looked – he always did no matter how horrible I really looked. And then for about 2 hours at the end of the day, scrambling to get dinner and eat. So this is very different. Here we are having dinner on the boat – very relaxed.
We also have to depend on each other and trust each other – like at home, but different. And it’s also fine to be a check for each other, diplomatically of course and without appearing to doubt the other. For example, “do you want me to steer now,” means “you are in 5’ of water, are you trying to run us aground, you must be too tired/distracted/spacey to steer right now, OMG, let me steer.” Or, as we are coming into a dock, “you have enough speed” means “slow down RIGHT NOW or we’ll crash into the dock.” Like that. I think every couple has their own code. But we both help with piloting, following the chart and watching for marks and buoys. Just yesterday, I missed a turn and got out of the channel – thankfully I didn’t run us aground. This is what our chart looks like for the cypress swamp of the Waccamaw River.
We have to be more self-sufficient. We can only use the water we can carry on the boat and we can only use the power that we make – we are motoring every day now, so that’s our power. Once they are wired, solar panels mounted on the back of the boat will also provide power. So we have a tiny frig – no freezer – to reduce our power needs. And we conserve water. We have a compost toilet which is wonderful.
I’ve been cutting my husband’s hair for years, so that’s not really new. But we get the power for the electric clippers from the engine, using an inverter to convert to 110 power.
We have to work together to make the boat work. One person can run a boat this size, but it’s a lot easier with two. For example, when we anchor Goldwin goes forward to let out the anchor and an appropriate amount of chain while I steer the boat, getting it into position, and backing down so he can get a good set. We communicate during this process with hand signals, although some couples just yell. Okay, sometimes we do too.
I prefer to do the cooking and Goldwin often does the dishes. We have these adorable plates that look just like paper plates, but aren’t – from a good friend and we love them. (I think my daughter’s PlaySkool kitchen had a bigger sink than this.)
We are company for each other – as all couples are. The difference for us it that sometimes we don’t see or talk to another person for several days or a week. So it’s just us. But we are good with that – we kind of like it.