It was a balmy spring day, somehow I had managed to get myself lost even though I was smack dab in the middle of the Gulf Islands, full paper charts, two compasses and a small hand held gps argued with each other. The warm air was thick with haze making everything look alike. If you have to be lost, doing with your home underfoot is a good start.
Eventually I found my way, anchoring right next to the water runway with lots going on to watch from the cockpit, but I’m cruising. I didn’t have time to lollygag if I wanted to make the morning tide. I grabbed my half empty one gallon fuel can, a 5 gallon water jug, a weeks trash and my shower kit, a hot shower topped the list. Fuel was easy although a very long walk, water was sold and sort of metered, trash was a nightmare and you can forget about a hot shower if your anchored out. I returned to find a bill attached to my dingy for parking it at the dinghy dock.
When your outfitting for cruising everything is a tradeoff. Sure, I could add a water maker and never have to hand deliver the delighful crystal clear commodity that is the single most important catalyst to sustaining life on a sailboat. The alternative is every time I find a town I have to start the desperate search all over again. Of course using a water maker should be as easy as pushing a button but I find the long term cruisers spent an equal amount of time dedicated to the maintenance of their water maker as I did chasing water. The only downside is that while I’m ashore chatting with cruisers and locals, they are either at work paying for the upgrade and maintenance or onboard troubie shooting why it’s acting up again.
I still have yet to add fixed water tanks to Sookie so while a water maker is little more than a pipe dream, it’s fun to imagine but has yet to make the list. I have three lists actually, the must have, should haves, and the someday list. The order of importance is the toughest part. Sookie is designed to carry a 25 gallon water tank under her cabin sole, all I have to do is rip out the sole, make a new tank and build in a new one, easy to do but expensive, the short term alternative as temporary 6 gallon fixed tank and real plumbing with the addition of 45 gallons in portable tanks to fill the main one.
Or I could add a new gimballed alcohol stove, I’ve saved enough money for one or the other, the question is which one do I add first. Hot coffee and soup is pretty nice during these cold months and if I don’t hurry up and choose something else more important will make the list. The damn seagulls and crows are fighting over my tri color, the only nav lights i carry aboard, if they break it there goes the plumbing and the stove and that’s what this whole game is like. I think it was Bernard Moitessier who said cruising costs what ever you have, outfitting is the same way.
“One thing at a time, as in the days when I was building Joshua. If I had wanted to build all the boat at once, the enormity of the task would have crushed me. I had to put all I had into the hull alone, without thinking about the rest. It would follow . . . with the help of the gods.
― Bernard Moitessier, The Long Way