Sunday, May 7, 2017

Newly Salted, Rhapsody at 6 months

Newly Salted is a website that posts interviews of cruisers that have been cruising for less than two years. I read all of these interviews before we started cruising, and dreamt of the time when I could be a part of this project. Now we have officially been cruising for 6 months and I am excited to be able to participate.

A little about us: We are Bob and Sarah aboard Rhapsody, our 49' Jeanneau Sun Odyssey. We sold off our belongings in Oregon and began cruising in November of 2016. We bought Rhapsody in the BVI and that is where we began our journey through the Caribbean. You can follow our story at

What do you find the most exciting about your cruising life?
Sarah- We got into cruising as a way to travel and have our own bed with us, so the travel and seeing new countries is what I find the most exciting.  Meeting people along the way, the quick friendships that form, and getting to do it all with my best friend. I like being able to move to a new place on a whim, or stay put if we find somewhere that we really like.

What is something that you think potential cruisers are afraid of that they shouldn't fear? And what is something potential cruisers don't worry about that perhaps they should? 
Bob- Cruisers should not worry about the details of breaking free and beginning cruising. They should focus on the wonderful opportunity before them and remember that the overall experience will be worth it.  Don't sweat the small things, get away from the dock.
They should worry about knowing their boat, having enough information to stay ahead of repairs with the right maintenance first. This will keep you safer and happier. If you know your boat you will have less to worry about.

What is something that you read or heard about cruising that you found to be particularly accurate? 
Sarah - Don't make schedules. We learned this the hard way. We agreed to meet my brother in Martinique in March.  We made plans with him in January while we were still in the BVI, thinking that we would have plenty of time. We ended up going through countries much faster than we would have liked, leaving friends behind us in our wake. The flip side of this is that we were able to get a taste of the countries to whet our appetites for further exploration. Part of the beauty of cruising is that we can come back. As for friends, we are meeting more people, and have hopes that friends that we have made will catch up with us now that we have slowed down again.

What is something that you were dreading about cruising when you were dreaming that is as bad or worse than imagined?
Bob - Loud music from the beach. Bass pounding, large speakers aimed out at the anchorage, vibrating the hull until 3 AM.

Tell me your favorite thing about your boat.
Sarah- On a day to day basis I love the space that we have. The salon and the cockpit are both spacious and very comfortable to be in. On passage I love the feeling of safety that I get. Rhapsody is a strong boat and I am sure that she can handle much bigger seas and worse weather than I can.

Share a piece of cruising etiquette. 
Bob - Anchor as far as is reasonably possible from the surrounding boats while recognizing that besides added safety many of us prefer a little privacy. If we can hold a conversation with you from our boat to yours in normal tones, you are too close.

What is something that you read or heard about cruising that you didn't find to be true?
Bob - We had heard that we might need to budget $300 - $500 a month for Customs, Immigration and various fees for checking in and out of countries. We have found that checking in and out of countries from Puerto Rico to Grenada has not at any point been particularly difficult nor expensive. We probably have spent about $150 on this in 6 months.

What do you dislike about cruising that surprised you?
Sarah - Rolly anchorages.  We did a lot of research about cruising before we started,  and I even read solutions that people had for stopping the rolling,  but all my research was done on land or in calm anchorages so somehow it didn't really sink in how it would feel. We have been fortunate to have experienced only a few really rolly anchorages, but that left enough of an impression that we avoid them whenever possible.

What is the key to making the cruising life enjoyable? 
Bob - A take-it-easy attitude combined with the right focus to keep the boat maintained, but most of all, a willing partner.

What are your plans now?
Sarah - One other thing that we have learned is the saying "a cruiser's plans are written in the sand at low tide". We have experienced this often as weather, health and friends can quickly change whatever plans we had carefully crafted. Our big picture "plan" is to spend the summer hurricane season in Grenada, possibly exploring Trinidad and/or Tobago. Early in the fall we would like to head to Bonaire to go diving and then in November head north to Puerto Rico to begin the loop again, slowing down for the parts we missed on the first go round.

Unless something else comes up.

Final thoughts
Sarah -  As I am re-reading our answers there seems to be more negativity than we feel in reality. Rolly anchorages,  loud music, rushing for schedules. The truth is, we are really enjoying this lifestyle. The freedom to go where we want to go, the wonderful people we are meeting, and new places we are experiencing.  I am sitting in the cockpit, looking out at the turquoise waters surrounding the green islands with white sand beaches and I have a big smile on my face. Our intention is to keep doing this until it is no longer fun, and we are firmly ensconced in the fun zone now.
                  My current view.

We love to hear your comments.