I probably shouldn’t write this blog.
Every time we experience something to make us feel confident in our cruising skills, something else happens to knock us back down off the pedestal. And every time we feel like we get the boat running along in a well-maintained fashion, the boat gremlins make sure that Craig will be occupied, and tools will be strewn about the boat, for the next several days. And some days it just feels like too much.
There’s an old adage that the cruising lifestyle is all about doing boat maintenance in exotic locations. I’ll admit, I didn’t realize that the saying implied that you had to work on the boat every single day. Lucky for me, I paired up with an engineer’s son who genuinely enjoys the problem solving and project work involved in boat ownership, but even Craig gets tired of the pace. Lately the issues surface faster than the repairs can be completed and it feels like a less fun and more expensive version of that game Whack-a-Mole. Except you have to play the game on a moving platform under a heat lamp. And instead of paying quarters to play, it’s boat units.
Recently Craig admitted that he is starting to get tired of trying to fix things the Right Way; he just wants to do what is expedient and sufficient, rather than what is best. Fortunately, it was a momentary frustration, but we talked about how that’s a red flag. Every boat owner eventually finds something on their boat that the Previous Owner installed or repaired in an illogical way. Weird wiring, crazy plumbing runs, improperly sealed holes, insufficiently supported double alternators… the list is long. In fairness, sometimes these things happen because of a lack of resources where the boat happens to be when a repair is needed, but other times, I think people are just tired. Tired of the maintenance, tired of the cost, tired of spending more time working on the boat rather than exploring the places where the boat has taken them. Tired of feeling like every time they turn around, something else needs their attention. And that’s exactly how we have felt in the last few weeks. We always said we would keep cruising until the fun or the money runs out, but I think we should also consider how well we are able and willing to take care of Small World. We don’t want to become the Previous Owners who get cursed.
Since leaving Mazatlan we’ve had the following issues: autopilot stopped working and wouldn’t turn back on, the key broke inside the lock of the outboard (we already lost the original key overboard), we broke a custom hatch cover when launching Zubie from the foredeck, a piece of the ceiling (for lack of a better word) fell off, and the battery charger started to do weird things yet to be defined. I’ve talked with other friends about this overwhelming feeling of being, well… overwhelmed, and they find themselves saying, “It’s always something” at least as frequently as Craig and I do. Some of those friends have decided that it’s time for the boating chapter of their lives to end.
This came as a shock to the crew of Small World. Not because we thought these folks were loving boat life and committed to the lifestyle – honestly we just met them. But they are the first people we’ve met who are at the end of their boating career rather than at the start or in the thick of it. At this point, my grandmother is probably hoping this post is an announcement that the boat is for sale and we’re returning to land life to make babies. Sorry, Mamita. No dice.
But we are excited to return to land life for a few months, even if it means getting jobs. The projects will be waiting for us once we come back to Small World, but hopefully our energy stores will be recharged right along with our bank accounts.
Now I’ve jinxed everything that hasn’t yet broken, and it will all go on the fritz right as we are midway between Santa Rosalía and Puerto Peñasco. Do you think if I say that part out loud it jinxes the jinx and we’ll be fine? Yeah me neither.