The Blue View of Visiting Exotic Places

You don't normally hear from me...Marcie is the outgoing one and does most of the writing about what goes on in our lives. My writing tends more towards “How-To” type articles, and isn't as interesting for a daily blog. From time to time, however, I'd like to give you the male's point of view of life aboard Cups, or what we refer to as the “blue view”.

An old adage is that the definition of cruising is repairing your boat in exotic places. While it was meant as a joke, in my mind, it is definitely a truism from the “blue” point of view.

Passages are tough on a boat and things break on even the best of passages. Add in a gale or two, or big, breaking following seas, and the repair list really starts growing. We have made many a repair in some of the most exotic places you can imagine. We repaired an inoperative propane solenoid and realigned the diesel engine in the Galapagos Islands, repaired the running lights at Easter Island, made a major sail repair on a beach in Suwarrow Atoll in the Cook Islands, and repaired our windlass in Cape Town, to name just a few.

Once we arrive in a port, Marcie and I differ in our thoughts on how best to spend our time there. My idea of a good time would be a few days spent repairing things, interspersed with visits to the local places of interest like the marine chandleries, hardware stores, and fishing supply places. Marcie has a different list of interesting things to see and would prefer to photograph every bird, flower, insect, tree, sign, and building within walking distance. Obviously, a bit of compromise is called for.

We try to reserve our first evening in a new port for a negotiation session. We both come to the negotiating table with lists. My list includes all the items that really should be repaired. I generate this list by going through our passage log sheets and prioritizing everything that needs attention. Then I estimate the amount of time I think each repair will take. Marcie doubles my time estimate. I usually underestimate the time to hunt down parts or the time spent talking with other cruisers about where we've been, where we're going, and their suggestions on how I should be doing whatever it is I'm doing at the time. Marcie comes to the negotiating table with her list of the things she would like to see and do. Her list was generated from online searches, local tourist information pamphlets, cruising friends' recommendations and Lonely Planet.

We talk about our lists, then look at a calendar and try to plan how we will fit everything into the time we have in a port. Sometimes, we can fit everything we both want to do into the time we have (rarely). Sometimes we can extend the time we plan to stay somewhere long enough to make everything fit (occasionally). Usually, we both pare down our lists until we can fit in the most important things we both want or need to see and do.

This seems to work for us. From the “blue” point of view, Cups is still floating and in reasonably good shape, and I've been able to make all those repairs and visit chandleries in some of the most spectacular and exotic places in the world. And in all honesty, seeing the sights and natural wonders on Marcie's list is thoroughly enjoyable. Often almost as much as a good fishing tackle store.