One of our long-time readers made a comment recently. He said, ” Now that’s a cruising blog post!”. Such a simple comment, but such a moment that shifted my consciousness. It’s true! This is no longer the ‘planning to cruise’ blog it’s been for 5 years. It’s now a real live ‘we’re cruising’ blog. So strange and wonderful.
I’ve been thinking about the word ‘cruisers’ lately. We have a lot of time to think about things like that now. You know, that word has never really set well with me. I think it’s because of my age. When that word first came into the local vernacular, I didn’t think ‘cruising’ was something to aspire to. Cruisers were people who drove their cars down the boulevard in the heart of the town, hair gelled back, cigarettes hanging out of their mouths, one hand on the wheel, looking for trouble. They ‘cruised’ the road, usually late at night, windows down, sound blaring, yelling at friends on the sidewalk and other passers by. They were like wound springs, running on tension, waiting for a scene from American Graffiti, or worse. They were right on the razors edge of the law. Cruisers made me nervous. You never knew what they were going to do next.
Is that what we are? Are we spending our last gasp of young-enough going from anchorage to anchorage, looking for fun and excitement, if not a run-in with the law? Are we laid back, and gelled up? Has our ‘cruiser casual’ already gone too far? So far the most excitement we’ve had is a group of four Egyptian college students who shyly asked if they could come aboard and have their picture made with Galapagos. Now THAT was fun. Of course, I said yes. And they did and it was a great prelude to what we hope will be many fun encounters with people from completely different lands who are as curious about us as we are about them.
The closest we’ve had to a run-in with law enforcement is when we decide to stay a little longer than is absolutely proper at the public dock, because we’re having too much fun with friends to leave. Or maybe it was the time we anchored in the bay close to the work dock in Olympia. I mean, there were no signs saying we couldn’t do it. Security came by the next morning and ran us off, but too late, Mr. Man! We already spent a peaceful night. We’re back to our renegade youth when rules seemed more flexible than they probably are and asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission. These small run-ins used to stress me out. Now it’s just, ‘yes sir, moving right along, sir, three bags full, sir’. Then we finish breakfast before pulling up anchor. No one wants to make trouble. Not security men, and not middle aged sailboat anchorers. We are all out there just doing our jobs. Theirs is to say something to us. Ours is to let them say it, be agreeable, and move on.
Come to think of it, people who are not in the world of boating don’t always understand what you mean when you say ‘We’re cruisers’. If you consult any of what passes for a dictionary in these times of communication by tweet, the first definition you’ll find is ‘one who cruises’, which is no help at all and besides, isn’t there some kind of rule about using a form of the word in the definition of that word? I believe I learned that in third grade. Seems kind of basic to me. Where is the Oxford English Dictionary when I need it?
Then you’ll get definitions such as of ‘small war ship’, or ‘motor boat that is big enough to live on’, or ‘police car’ or ‘large motorcycle that cruises’. Nowhere is there a definition on the order of ‘people who go at a tortoise’s pace from place to place on their sailboat just having fun and looking for laundry facilities and free water’. So I’m trying to think of another word that would describe this ‘cruising life’ we lead now. Traveler? We certainly aspire to be ‘voyagers’, but we can’t call ourselves that yet. Explorer? Nomad? Those are over-used. Drifter? I certainly hope not. That has it’s own connotations, probably those from the depression era. Sailor? Maybe. But that doesn’t capture the whole thing. There are many sailors who are not cruisers.
Maybe we need to make up a word. Its definition would be: people who travel by boat, on purpose, looking for life to be full of interesting and entertaining happenings, good people, good coffee, good night’s sleep, and good weather. Or maybe just: People who travel by sailboat, leading a life that’s full. Got a word for that? Bring it.
And while you’re here: Do you, or someone you know, want to be ‘cruisers’? And if so, have you been looking at Galapagos with an eye to having a boat like this sometime? ( I mean, why wouldn’t you? She’s pretty great.) You’re in luck. A sister ship has just come up for sale down in Florida. SV Gromit is for sale again. Just back from the Caribbean, she’s ready to go again and make your own. Here’s a link to her For Sale page. There are not many of these Olympic Adventure 47’s available in North America. If you are looking for a stout boat that can take you anywhere, give her a look. And as fellow owners, we’ll be there to give you a sounding board and the benefit of our experience as you make her your own.