The Ups and Downs of Cruising
This isn’t the post I had planned to write for today. (Update: this was written April 6, 2015. We still have ups and downs, but they’re new and ever-changing.)
If you follow The Boat Galley’s Facebook page, you know that on Friday we finally found and cured an air leak in our fuel system that would periodically cause the engine to lose RPMs and eventually die. We’d been working on it for over two months, and after checking many things and repeated testing, had finally run for 3+ hours in chop with absolutely no problems. We were ecstatic.
On Saturday, we went out for a day sail. No testing anything. Just a sail in beautiful weather with wind 10 to 15. And we sailed for over four hours, going south of the reef into the deep water of the Straits of Florida. We were just grinning. This is what we’d dreamed of for the winter.
Coming in, we turned on the engine and lowered the sails as we approached the entrance to Boot Key Harbor. And the engine quit. [It did start up again.]
Just like that, we went from a high to a low in about two seconds. Cruising can do that to you. Much more often than life on land.
Or maybe it just seems that way since, for most of us, “land” problems are familiar — what we’ve dealt with all our lives — and “boat” problems are new and unfamiliar. We don’t know what the consequences will be: what it will take to fix them, both in terms of time and money. And what those will do to other plans or dreams that we had.
And in our dreams, we didn’t envision any problems. No, it was pretty sunsets, white sand beaches and cute little rum drinks. I mean, who dreams of weather delays, leaking holding tanks or tearing apart a diesel engine?
When we first began cruising, we expected the “highs” that cruising would provide — seeing sea life, beautiful sailing days, gorgeous scenery, the fun of exploring new places. What we didn’t anticipate were the frustrations, or lows. To get those great times, we learned that we had to cope with the problems. The range of emotions is just that much wider.
As Beth Leonard has said: “The highs are higher and the lows are lower.” I can’t say I like the problems, but life aboard a boat is never boring!