Saturday, 08 February 2014

Last winter, when we had the boat in St Katherines Marina in London, we met a lot of cruisers who had sailed and lived on their boats for many years. They told us enthusiastically about the lonely anchorages in French Polynesia, where they would swim, dive, and relax. It was like having a holiday during your holiday, they explained.

A holiday in our holiday
The previous week has been such a holiday for us – even though we’re not in French Polynesia and we are surrounded by charter boats. We have anchored off lovely sandy beaches, been swimming in clear waters, and used our SUP (Stand Up Paddle board). We've been walking along the beach, and I've read two books and made pancakes. You would think that we should be able to have a holiday like this most of the time, but for some reason we always have too much to do.

The difference between short-term cruisers and long-term cruisers
I have experienced a huge difference between cruisers that are sailing for a shorter period of time, e.g. doing the Atlantic Circuit, and cruisers that have exchanged their land based home with a boat as we've done. To me, the short-term cruisers seem to be better at being on holiday - experiencing things and enjoying themselves - than long-term cruisers. Long-term cruisers are always fixing or maintaining their boats, and you can often find the men in a chandlery looking for that one piece to finish a job on the boat. Short-term cruisers never spend all their awakening time working on their boats. Maybe they worry less about things that might break down, as long as it will last them to the end of their trip? I don’t think long-term cruisers consider their lives on the boat as a holiday in the same way. I guess, you can compare them to retired people who are often more busy after they have stopped working!

Short-term cruisers have a defined holiday, even though it might be a yearlong holiday, and I think that makes a difference, which I will try to learn from. It does seem a bit ridiculous to be under stress on a boat in the Caribbean!

Picture perfect
The anchorages in Bequia, Tobago Cays, and Mayreau where we've been the previous week have looked like sceneries from post cards, and sometimes I need to pinch myself to understand that this holiday is my everyday life. We've enjoyed having time to relax and get all the events of the last couple of weeks at a distance. We haven’t been able to keep our non-alcoholic diet, though, but we've cut it down to one “sun downer” a day before dinner.

After all, we’re on a holiday!

Signe Storr Freelance journalist and friend of Boatshed