Just now, in the midst of a paint job top to bottom in Fiji, cruising for me is about boat maintenance in foreign ports. It’s not my favorite part of cruising.
My favorite part of cruising is being anchored all on our own in remote locations with little sign of mankind, preferably with perfect weather and no time pressures, so I can take time to drink in all the details of the natural world: the sky, day and night; the sea, above and below; land formations in all their infinite varieties of shape and detail.
But it’s also anchorages shared with one or two of our newest best friends where we might spend the day hiking or snorkeling and wind up with a few adult beverages, a shared fish dinner, and good conversation or a hot game of cribbage.
And, of course, it’s the opportunity to visit places that are not at all like home and to meet people who live differently than we do.
But even boat maintenance in foreign ports has its rewards. Because Tackless II is our home – and I mean home in the deepest sense of the word – and because she has not only enabled these special experiences of cruising, but been our refuge when we’ve needed a break, it feels GOOD to take care of her. I’m not the best yard worker on earth, god knows, and neither of us is anal retentive like many boat owners. We’d rather be out there floating than fussing. But the boat has taken good care of us, so it feels good (or will feel good when it’s over!) to honor our obligation to her.
And here’s the thing, while we’re doing that, we get to live on foreign turf, pick up bits of language, learn our way around town, eat local foods. When you’re in the yard, you rarely take time out for the highlights or take the local excursions, but you see the country you’re in on an extended, day-to-day, I-live-here level. That’s hard to beat!
So, in the end, I think the best part of cruising for me is the broadening of perspective: perspective about who I am and want to be, about what is really important in life, about obligations and responsibilities both large and small, and mostly about the complexities of this world we live in and of her peoples – differences that are in danger of being homogenized out of existence.