From early days dreaming of cruising I followed Pat and Ali on Bumfuzzle. This was the second Bumfuzzle, the monohull they cruised in Mexico...for this, they can take partial credit for making Cruising real for me. They are well known among the Cruising community… maybe even infamous. In fact many have called them irresponsible and many other derogatory names for doing what the Hard Core Cruisers say can never and should never be done… they bought a boat, got on it and sailed around the world. That’s it.
I like to reserve my opinion about someone until meeting them myself, especially when the general consensus is negative. Never having met Pat or Ali, that’s kind of impossible to really do, but I have opinions anyway. Ali...we could be friends. Although she doest seem to be the more outspoken one of the two… I think she has the strength of character and confidence with which I can relate.
Pat? Perhaps some of the things they say about him are true… but I can’t think badly about someone who catches the most profound moments in the lives of his family on digital and publishes them for the world to see. The little blurbs he writes in their blog about the goings on in their lives are so perfect that I forgive him for the derogatory comment he once made about the plethora of “things we did today” type sailing blogs being substandard and a dime-a-dozen… A comment that ONLY sticks with me because it's the name of my own (one of so many) sailing blog...
I will admit that I did not pay for his book. I’m already out here cruising. Why would I need to buy a book written by someone else doing it. Besides… he HAS an income! I don’t! So when I saw that it was up for grabs FREE… I snapped it up. It has taken me weeks (months?) since I downloaded it to finally read it. We’ve been so busy getting ready to go, my reading list has kind of backed up…
Arriving here at Rose Island, Bahamas, with two days of high north winds hammering all around us, I’ve got nothing to do but cook and read. I settled in to read Bumfuzzle, Just Out Looking For Pirates… finally.
I will tell you that I’ve started, but been unable to finish two or three other books written by Cruisers. They were just too boring. I guess they were the Things-We-Did-Today type Pat spoke of and I know what he means. And although this book is essentially that... I could not put it down. The book has made what would have been two very unpleasant days into something informative and empowering.
His unexpected witty remarks are peppered throughout the book and his obscurely self deprecating honesty almost overshadows his very confident ego. But hey… he’s successfully taken himself and his wife around the world. Around. The. World. Almost on a whim! The guy deserves a little boost!
I can see where the Cruising community is coming from when they say that he is encouraging irresponsible behavior. But I’m not going to beat that dead horse, and if you read the book, you will know that there must have been SOME planning and preparation that they aren't telling you about... (They get weather info in the middle of the ocean... WE don't!) There will always be elitist naysayers sitting around ready to tear down the dreams of others' that don’t align properly with their own. But I’ve gotta give Pat and Ali the respect they deserve. Lucky, maybe… then so am I!!!
The down-to-earth point of view and devil-may-care attitude, let’s face it… sometimes it just works. And when it does? Magic. I was transported from port to port with Pat and Ali as they started with familiar places I’ve been. Then I buckled in for the ride as they took me to places I’ve never been and may never go. But after reading their book, I think I could.
Do I think I could do it like they did? No. I need more than nasty canned hot dogs, chips and twinkles to eat. But I can appreciate their simplicity. The fact that they take all the rigamarole out of it is brilliant. Just what’s all the fuss about anyway. Can I really believe that they weren’t thrilled with the accomplishment of seeing the places they have and doing the things they’ve done? I can only hope that is a lie. I hope that they did experience fully the wonder of it all at the time and in retrospect.
I thank Pat for bringing these snippets of truth about circumnavigation to us and for the hours of enjoyment they brought me… and the giggles. I can relate on a more personal level as we too have often felt like we don’t exactly fit in with the Cruiser community for the same and different reasons… Would I really want to meet Pat and Ali? Maybe not. I guess he wouldn’t like me either. And that’s too bad.
But, I will continue to follow their adventures and enjoy their adorable children as revealed to us in Pat’s (and Ali’s) life moment photos… feeling as if I know them a little bit better for having read the book.
Disclaimer: I have no connection to this book other than stated.