Thursday, December 19, 2013

Around The Gulf In 80 Days

We’ve been Cruisers for 80 days.  Phileus Fogg attempted to go Around the World in 80 Days in Jules Verne’s 1873 adventure story.  You’d think we could get around the Gulf of Mexico in that amount of time in our own modern day adventure story...But it is not so.  But it has me thinking about all the things we’ve learned in the past 80 days, in no particular order.

  1. A Cruiser friend told us once as we eagerly pumped him for information about his recent cruise to the Bahamas “Something breaks every day… every day.”  Well, we found this to be inaccurate.  The truth is, something breaks every OTHER day.  
  2. There are people living out here.  Yes, sounds dumb I know… But my impression was that we would be going out into the wilderness where there would be no one and nothing for days on end.  
  3. It’s WINTER out here.  During all of my planning and all of my imagining about how cruising would be, I never dreamed that it would be winter where we’re going.
  4. When preparing to cruise and deciding what goes and what stays… It’s better to keep things for the boat instead of things for yourself.  You can get more clothes, towels, food… Replacing boat stuff that you gave away due to storage space issues is a lot more costly.
  5. Things are bigger than they look on the chart.  Before we left home, I had a certain amount of anxiety about being able to maneuver in the small spaces that appear on the charts.  Rivers, bayous, channels.  I worried about anchoring and having swing room.  They’re big.
  6. Clean clothes are wonderful.  Laundry facilities at marinas are a disappointment.  They are costly, which would be fine, if they work.  They are most often substandard.  Never take a laundry facility for granted, wash all of your laundry, every time you get a chance.
  7. Believe none of what you hear, and only some of what you see… We have heard so many stories about bad things that have happened to other Cruisers.  I won’t say that bad things haven’t or won’t happen to us… but we have experienced nothing even remotely like all of the bad stories that have befallen other Cruisers.  Maybe we’re just lucky.  (knocking on teak)
  8. Marine toilets are the devil.  We have replaced parts from day one with these stupid things and they are still leaking, unreliable bitches.  
  9. Pump outs are HARD to find.  I thought with the recent hoopla about the MSD stickers and government grants for installation of marine pump out stations, we would have no problem.  States that say they are “clean” are lying.  We have had a fair amount of stress due to worry about where and when we will find the next pump out station.  Many we have used have been weak and nasty.  There are fees for using the pump out.  We think that if a state wants people to use them, they should be free of charge. 
  10. We are not as dumb as we thought we were.  We have risen to the challenge in so many situations where I thought we would falter. 

These are the standouts among all of the new and exciting experiences we’ve had since we left home on September 30th.  It seems like so long ago and yet the time has flown by so that we can’t really figure out how it got to BE 80 days since we began.  I guess that’s another thing about Cruising that we’ve learned… time is relative.

P.S.  We have spent the entire day here at beautiful Palafox Marina in Pensacola doing our laundry.  We haven't done laundry since Houma, on November 30th.  We failed to take advantage of the machines in NOLA and are regretting it.  The laundry bags have been stored in the v-birth with the door closed to keep the smell in and we have been desperate to find a laundry.  Imagine our disappointment when we discovered that the dryer here costs $1.25 per load (no problem there), takes one hour to complete one load and you must run each load through at LEAST twice if you would like to have DRY clothes.  That leaves us stringing lines inside the boat to hang our clothes with the heater blasting them.  Cruising is so glamorous!


  1. Congrats on 80 days!! I can't wait to say the same. We've been living aboard here at the dock in Burnt Store Marina (Charlotte Harbor) since the beginning of October and we are almost ready to set sail. When do you think you'll be down this way? We'd love to meet up with you two!

    1. Thanks! We may be as far as the Clearwater or St. Pete area in a couple of weeks then plan on spending a month or so, hoping for the Pasadena Marina to spend some time with our daughter. Then we'll be going wherever... I'm sure we'll get together sometime. If you're still in Charlotte Harbor, we'll come see you for sure!

  2. 80 days ... time flies! Love the map above that shows where you sailed, and where you anchored too. We'll be following that same path someday.

    Your marine toilet and pump out woes ... remember that post I wrote about bags. LOL!

    Glad cruising hasn't been as bad as some told you it would be. Good point about making room for what the boat needs instead of what we think we may need. Enjoy Florida .. and some warmer weather!

    1. Yes it does, heres to time flying for you too! The Google map is very cool. You should set one up. You could import mine and add your own things to it if you want. Warning: it's kind of quirky and frustrating at times. Yes, I remember your post!!!! I've offered the cat litter bags (bags we found in the baby section for taking dirty diapers) to my husband but we haven't crossed that line yet... And even the BAD is good so far!

  3. Love your list! It really gives a little insight into your day to day cruising. I hope you see warm weather soon!

  4. Thanks so much for the list,,,,I have already started a list of thing to change,,,,
    already know I have to many clothes. Storage building/ locker is going to get a lot fuller after this post. 80 days,,seems like just yesterday you started it.

    1. Glad I could be of service! I know I read and have benefited from SO many other Cruisers out there. It can really make your learning curve less dramatic. It's amazing on how little one needs when living this lifestyle and clothes that don't get used, not only take up valuable real estate, they tend to get musty and mildewy as well... Thanks for this and many other comments!