Living a-board and cruising will change your life forever for the better.
I celebrated my 70th birthday on my 8th voyage around America's Great Loop. Today, I am healthier today then I was 24 years ago when I
moved onto my boat. I not only feel better, I am better (and my Doctor will verify I am in better health). I am also a better father, sailor, friend, and a
better man. Stress, has to be totally nonexistent in my life. My kids tell me that If I were any more laid back, I'd have to be flipped over. I sleep great
and wake up early each morning with a passionate enthusiasm.
I watch each and every sunrise and sunset with great admiration. At night, far from city lights and smog - I gaze at the billions upon billions of
stars - clearly visible with their own unique blaze of vibrant colors - of which (sadly) you can seldom see anymore from land.
The ocean... is ever more the most miraculous of all this planet has to offer. At night while cruising, a river of moonlight lights my way, as the
hypnotizing luminescence of phosphorous algae glitters like fire flies in the water at the stern of my vessel.
When it comes to the sea, God does provide and he does so abundantly. Even the fresh clean air will re-awaken all your olfactory senses, and as
the fresh brewed morning coffee permeates the sea breeze, it energizes your very soul.
Fish are for the taking, shrimp for the catching, and lobster, crabs, oysters and scallops for the picking...
When you are moving through the water in your boat on the open sea, your life becomes crystal clear. Everything falls into place in terms of what's
really important in your life and what's not. The self importance of all your past accomplishments fade in your wake like the morning dew. This, as it
is with the love of your life, is furthermore the ultimate experience to which all else in your life will forever be compared.
If I have learned one thing from living a-board and cruising, it is that our dreams most certainly must be God's way of energizing
our life and telling us how he wants us to live. The true fact is, living your dream requires much less finance than you think, but indeed, a far
much greater and exhilarating leap of faith than you can possibly imagine.
Especially for the first time voyager, and certainly for the frugal voyager, one of the very best cruising and live a-
board areas in the world is the Caribbean. From Florida, Bimini is just a short 50 miles across the Gulf Stream. That's one good day's sail that
leaves you plenty of daylight on both ends of your voyage for departure and arrival.
On Bimini Island, you'll find more fishing, diving, sailing and more to do per square mile than anywhere in the Bahamas. The true "Island in
the Stream" is perched at the edge of a sheer underwater cliff that falls thousands of feet into a blue abyss. The Gulf Stream rushes north,
washing past Bimini Island, feeding and warming its coral reefs and serving as a watery highway for everything from marlin to dolphin to sea
For Ernest Hemingway, it was love at first sight; gin clear water, pristine sandy beaches, and great rum. He returned often, and once there,
you'll know why.
Bimini Island is actually two small islands, North Bimini Island and South Bimini Island, connected by a shallow flat it has a fascinating
history, and is the closest Bahamian island to the United States. Bimini served as a convenient offshore speakeasy and liquor store during
prohibition. Rum runners stored their hooch both ashore and on a concrete Liberty ship called the Sapona that still rests where it grounded
during a hurricane – it’s one of the Caribbean’s very best shallow-water wreck sites for divers. Close to home, yet a whole world away... you
simply will not believe your eyes when 50 miles across the Gulf Stream from Florida you find yourself surrounded by the most beautiful aqua
blue/green seas and clean pristine sandy beaches in the world. In addition, you'll definitely want to lay back a rum or two at the World Famous
"End of the World Saloon".
Beyond the fishing, and diving, Bimini Island offers voyagers a safe quiet escape of empty beaches and boisterous camaraderie with other
cruisers. Menus at the local restaurants are naturally, heavy on fresh seafood and Bahamian favorites like cracked conch and Lobster.
Living so cheap is a bonus of frugal voyaging, and you can't live any cheaper (or safer) then you can on your boat cruising the Caribbean
between Bimini and Venezuela. This is the only place on earth you can cruise so far and yet, your longest passage between Islands is only a
day's sail away.
Why is living aboard in the Caribbean so cheap? You are not tempted to spend...when at anchor the only person urging you to buy something
might be a local in a rowboat with lobsters to sell or exchange for toothpaste or beer; and when you go out to eat you look for a restaurant
where the menu is on a chalkboard - which means the seafood was caught that day - and it's not only delicious - it's cheap as well.
Voyaging... Living a-board and cruising the Caribbean with the one you love... Folks, life just doesn't get any better then this. And you can
do it - and live very-very well doing it on about $2,000 a month; some less, some more, depending on your lifestyle and comfort zone.
Andros Island is a great place for a laid-back beach getaway, the earth’s third-largest barrier reef (after Australia’s Great Barrier and Central
America's Belize). A mile-deep abyss - walled with coral and filled with whales, dolphin, marlin and lobsters. It’s called the Tongue of the
Ocean, and licks along Andros’ east coast. Underwater caves riddle the island, surfacing as mesmerizing blue holes. Mangrove-lined wetlands
cover huge swaths of Andros, inter-cut with endless mazes of channels that open onto bone fish flats and hidden beaches.
The Berry Islands lie 150 miles east of Miami and 50 miles northeast of Nassau. The islands' main attraction is their seclusion and privacy.
Decked with greens and fringed with drifts of sand, here you can find a multitude of magical harbors and swim-ashore beaches. These
uninhabited islands offer spectacular swimming, diving and the area is known for sport fishing, second only to Bimini with the World's Record
catches of Mackerel, Marlin and Sailfish.
Living the voyaging lifestyle, we didn't care at all about what time it was, but often found ourselves asking each other, “What day is it?”
The measure of time is different here. You see the sunrise and the sunset and the hours between are contiguous.
Back in the real world the day is subdivided into minutes... and you jump from one moment in time to another. First, it's the Alarm Clock ending
your sleep time, then get ready for work time, drive time, work time, lunch time, work time, drive home time, run errands time, supper time,
laundry time, mow the yard time, bedtime, everything timed - even free-time is timed. Then you get up and do it all again. No wonder we’re
worn-out all the time!
I used to think “island time” was simply a lethargic laziness in which nothing got done, but I was wrong. Island time is when you have no
need to even know what time it is. It is a way to live in which time flows like a slow calm, cool stream over your bare feet. The sometimes abrupt
divisions of time we created for ourselves in the “real world”, like getting to work on time, are the rocks, rapids and waterfalls in our river. They
just don’t exist on island time.
Back home, I remember the young mother that worked at the local Starbucks. She would arrive to work each morning at the exact time I
would stop to get a cup of coffee. I remember watching her as she put on her apron, and "clocked in". I always thought it was ridiculous. I
never worked at a place that required me to "clock in". But here, in Paradise... shops, restaurants, bars... open when they open, close when
they close. On the boat it’s even more relaxed. You live in tune with nature. Out here, sunrise and sunset are the only two real measures of
time aboard. And to this, I salute... For that’s real island time, mon.
Your voyage will not be without its bumps. There were times when you think one or the other of you should walk the plank. Now and then,
you will get on each other’s nerves. So much very close time together on the small confines of a boat from which there is no escape - will test
every relationship. But you can't quit, at least not when you're hundreds of miles from home in the middle of an ocean, and it’s a grueling nine
knots all the way back. So you both must adjust.
From the book, “The Last Ship”, by William Brinkley, I am reminded of this quote: "Avoid, as you would the greatest of perils from the sea
herself, these two things: Anger and Irritation." Those living on a boat emotional "adjustment" times however, will soon evaporate. At each
anchorage you will get settled, meet people, go exploring and it will be great. Leaving a marina with a full tank of freshwater and fuel and a
fridge stuffed with food and beverage you will discover, is was very satisfying. Soon enough, when you know you are good for another three
or four weeks before you have to think about civilization again - the two of you will be at your best together. When the wind and waves are
right, and you're making nine knots on one of those beautiful days God made just for us sailors, all will be well, with you, your mate, and the
world. It is then, you will think, "what an experience! What an adventure! How very blessed, and how very fortunate you are.
|FIRST TIME VOYAGING
and living aboard
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|What it really costs to go cruising - click next
|My oldest son, "Capt. John Jr." at End of the World Saloon - Bimini
|This is my oldest son "John
Jr." he too is a Captain in
his own right, and a very
experienced as well as an
accomplished world sailor.
It was John Jr. that in fact
taught me how to sail. Up
until a few years ago, I was
a die hard power boater.
That's when my son
kidnapped me and took me
Sailing of course will take
you around the world on
less than a few hundred
dollars in fuel.
For cruising the Caribbean,
it is without doubt the best
way to go.
|THE LIVE ABOARD & CRUISING LIFE