We have met some wonderful people in this lifestyle we call “cruising”. We travel around on our sailing catamaran Just One Dance seeing new places, hanging out in our favorites, meeting new people, and enjoying life. We share stories, challenges, defeats and triumphs, and many hilarious stories about all of it.
One source of funny stories comes when non-boaters take a vacation on a boat with a cruiser. This list of things for you to know is written with the intent that the only funny stories will be from the good times we share. Otherwise, you will become a story we tell to other cruisers and we will all laugh heartily at your expense.
We love to have guests and invite you to come enjoy this unique way of living with us. But there are a few things you need to know before you come. This kind of vacation may or may not be for you.
So please read, ask questions, and by all means, come see us.
Packing and Luggage
Only soft-sided duffels bags are allowed. If you can’t fold it up to fit in a bread box, don’t bring it on the boat. Bring two of them if you think you must, but read the rest before deciding to bring a lot of luggage.
We mainly wear t-shirts and shorts, bathing suits, cover ups and sun shirts. We are barefooted on the boat and in flip-flops or sandals off the boat. If you will feel lost or naked without something nice to wear, then bring one thing, just in case. But please leave the dress shoes at home, you will not need them. You will not be wearing shoes on the boat, and our “car” is a dinghy, which involves a ride on the water where you will usually end up with a wet butt afterward.
This is not a cruise ship and you do not have that kind of space. Lay out everything you want to bring and then cut it in half. I promise you’ll never miss it. You will find you throw on the same shorts and t-shirt multiple times before retiring them as “dirty”.
Here is a recommended packing list.
We usually eat on the boat. There are restaurants, but Martin cooks better than the food you will find off the boat. There are no Publix, Kroger, or Whole Foods grocery stores. There are some well stocked grocery stores, but they are few and far between. We have a lot of food that we stocked on the boat before we left the US and we pick up what we can find as we need it, adapting to local tastes and preferences.
If there is something specific that you can’t live without, bring it. If you just have to have your Captain Crunch in the morning, you better bring your own. We’ll provide you with some powdered milk to mix up for it. Do NOT try to bring in fruits, vegetables, plant life, or raw meat. It’s illegal to do so coming or going.
Make no mistake, we have good food on the boat. And the chef can hold his own against the best of them.
Please feel free to donate to our wine stores when you come. Good wine is hard to find here and is very expensive compared to the US. Just throw a box of Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon in your bag when you come. We prefer the boxed wine so we can keep the bulky bottle and the glass off the boat.
Marine toilets, aka heads, are temperamental creatures, and we go to great lengths to avoid head issues. We do not want to dissemble the toilet to clear a clog. The only thing allowed in our marine toilets on the boat must come out of the human body. No paper, no trash, no foreign objects allowed. We have disposal bags for your used paper.
We have 2 heads and 3 showers on the boat. One of the showers is on the stern of the boat and can be used to rinse off after a swim, or for a shower if you want to flaunt it au natural (not recommended unless we’re in a private anchorage).
Our itinerary is based on what the wind, waves, and weather dictate. We will not go out in questionable or unsafe conditions. What this means is that you may sit in one place the whole time you are here or we may get to sail to multiple places.
We have sea sickness meds onboard (Dramamine and Bonine), but if there is something specific that you know works for you, then bring it. We do not go out in rough conditions and do not anticipate anyone needing sea sickness meds, but we don’t control the weather either.
When we are underway or at anchor, we will take care of everything on the boat. You are welcome to get involved in the process of sailing as much or as little as you desire. But a boat is not a democracy and there is no voting. Martin and I usually discuss any plan of action we prepare ahead of time and will bounce ideas off each other on the fly, but in a sticky situation, the Captain’s orders will be followed. Things can happen fast on a boat and only one person can be heard. We make decisions that err to the side of caution with the priority being the safety of the crew and boat.
We are not aggressive sailors. We want to stay relaxed and have fun.
Resources are Gold
We are a self-contained entity. We make our own water, we generate our own power, we have limited fuel, and we minimize trash.
Water – We carry a max of 160 gallons of water that will usually last us about 2 weeks. We have a water maker on board, so we don’t have to count every drop, but we are frugal. Water is only turned on when it is being used. Showers consist of running enough water to get wet, turning it off, soaping everything up, turning water back on and rinsing off. There is no standing under running water while you tinker around with the shampoo lid. You get the idea.
Power – Our power plant consists of a generator (powered by the limited fuel), an alternator that can add power when the engines are running (also powered by the limited fuel), an array of solar panels, and three deep-cycle house batteries. Our solar panels do an awesome job at keeping at batteries charged so we rarely have to run the generator. The boat runs on a 12 Volt system, like your 12-volt plug (cigarette lighter) in your car. We do have the capability to produce 110 volts with receptacles like you find in your house using the inverter or generator. We won’t do this much.
Your electronic gadgets may or may not stay fully charged while on the boat. But, you’re here for a vacation, so let’s limit the usage as much as possible anyway. Take this time to go off-grid. Internet access is not always available and usually requires a trip inland with any gadgets in a waterproof bag.
Fuel – We burn diesel in two engines and a generator. We carry 102 gallons of fuel in three tanks. We do not have to fill up too often since we are a sailboat and our engines are very efficient. The generator has a 50 gallon tank which is not used much, but serves as spare fuel in case we need more for the engines.
Trash – We have to keep all trash onboard until we are at a location that will allow us to bring trash ashore, usually for some amount of money. Please do not bring anything with you that will produce trash. Remove packaging and minimize any trash you will produce.
This is a boat, 38’ long and 22’wide. We will all have to accommodate each other. There is plenty of room, but it’s not 2500 sq ft+. So we sacrifice a little privacy and a little convenience to live in paradise.
We have snorkel gear, towels, beach towels, bath soap, shampoo, on board, so no need to pack it. We have some floats, a beach umbrella, and some chairs that can be taken ashore. If you have your own gear, feel free to bring it, but it better fit in that soft-sided duffel bag you now have.
You’ll be on a boat and it will be amazing. No complaining allowed, or we will quote you for more hearty laughter with other cruisers after you leave. Please come join us.