We survived our first year on the boat, no one was asked to walk the plank and we are still a dysfunctional family at best! We savoured a bottle of Laurent Perrier champagne, well we had to it doesn’t preserve so well with all that heat you know!
First and foremost, let’s talk numbers or some of you may not recognize my derange way of looking at life. We have sailed 4200 nautical miles since our departure, and are now starting to understand what Letitgo likes or dislikes. The use of the engine has diminished drastically; we can now relax at 1 knot the same way we used to at 5 knots… Quite the difference isn’t it?
The increase in percentage recently is due to the smaller day trips, you still need to warm up and manoeuver to anchor the same amount of time than for a longer passage. Don’t even try to argue, that we could anchor without engine, we live in the 21st century, end of reasoning.
|28-Aug-12||Point Roberts Marina||2859||664.4||668.6|
|07-Nov-12||Down coast of US to San Diego||4249||1390||1390||800||793.7||260.7||18.8%|
|12/12/2012||Down the Baja Cabos San Lucas||5000.6||751.6||2141.6||835.1||830.6||72||9.6%|
|14/01/2013||Up to La Paz cross to Punta De mira||5563.2||562.6||2704.2||849||866.2||49.5||8.8%|
|31/05/2013||winter on the Riveria cross to Muertos||6489||925.8||3630||936.7||932.4||153.9||16.6%|
|28/08/2013||La Paz to the north of the Sea of Cortez||7047||558||4188||968.9||967.3||65.6||12%||14%|
Let’s explore a little more in detail, in the style of “Interview for a cruiser” a brain child of our good friend Livia on SV Estrellita 5.10b. We all answered separately to make sure we would not be influence, by each other.
Expectation versus reality or first impression? (question reworded due to smart teenager)
Laurent: It’s is what I was expecting, not easy but rewarding. Our expectations were not too far from reality, making for a smooth transition. If you choose you have lost of free time, lucky we got hobbies that travel well.
Valerie: No big surprise, I love being at sea surrounded by Nature, having the time to take the time. I love my new life, and being able to share this with my children.
Benjamin: I don’t think a year would qualify a “first impression” per say, but for arguments sake I will answer this ill worded question. My first year on the boat went by at break neck’s speeds, that is good and bad.
Anything you miss from the old life?
Laurent: The long hours at work, the commute and the difficult customer/employee. What? I had to say it just to ensure that I didn’t miss it… well, no I don’t. I miss some friends and mentors, for the rest we’ve moved so often, it’s just the continuation of our vagabond life. Adapt or die, has always been one of our motto.
Valerie: Of course there is always something to be missed, when you have lived all your life a certain way and then you change it all radically there are things you are bound to miss. On a materialistic way; what I miss the most is probably the luxury of taking a long unlimited shower, although taking a shower at moon light under the stars isn’t bad either, even if you have to watch your water consumption.
Most of all, I miss my sweet daughter and her beautiful smile. I miss my Mum. I miss the time I had with my friends sitting around a delicious cup of latte, talking.
Benjeet: ok this is a long list so grab a vodka tonic and curl up next to your toilet, my friends! Being alone, civilization, unlimited water, unlimited wifi, unlimited electricity, not moving all the time, the rain, going shopping, real grocery stores where the floor is not made of dirt, not having to worry about a dog having a flesh eating disease before you throw caution into the wind and pet it anyway, going out for dinners or lunches with all my friends, going to parties where people don’t talk about bilge pumps for 45 minutes, oh and probably most importantly eating meat on the regular.
What do you like about cruising?
Laurent: The freedom, all the extra time, the level of stress, the minimalism.Valerie: I love travelling, watching other cultures, talking (or trying?) their languages, going to the market and smelling all the different spices, I love the Mexican smiles. I love living at anchor, and taking our time for once in our life. I love our long family talks and laughter, playing games I thought I would never like. Most of all: I love being surprised every time we raise our sails and we turn the corner by the new sceneries opening in front of our eyes. I am every time amazed to see marine life such as dolphins, whales, sea turtles, rays jumping.
Benjoboy: Being able to work out every day, swimming every day, meeting people from different cultures.
What do you dislike about Cruising?
Laurent: I have been scratching my head for a few minutes and I can’t really associate anything specific to cruising that I dislike. The bad moments are challenges; the situations are opportunity to make friends locally. Sorry to disappoint you.
Valerie: The amount of plastic we can see on every beach we have visited so far, or in the sea. It p*@#s me off! What are we doing to our planet?
SexyBen: Being seasick even if it is only on occasion, being with my parents every waking second, dealing with my high maintenance parents, living within proximity to all these annoying wild animals, having to worry about water and electricity, not having wifi everywhere, living without a cell phone, having no people my age to talk to/relate to.
What was the scariest moment?
Laurent: Coming to realize that we lost a prop and US customs.
Valerie: When we rode the surf in Avila beach and flipped our dinghy, I got stuck underneath. Although fear kicked in afterwards, at that exact moment I was actually calm…
I was very hesitant to share this as I realize that it might sound really scary, but please don’t let my experience make you afraid of it. In fact, for those of you preparing to leave just remember to watch the wave’s pattern, ride one of them and once at the beach pull the dinghy. It isn’t that scary you just have to be cautious that’s all and watch Mother Nature’s rhythm. Remember don’t let fear run your life, only you can run it!
Ben: I never get scared… JK one time when I was alone with father we dragged twice on separate occasions in one night and almost rear ended a 240 ft boat and then when we decided to pull up the anchor I almost fell off the front of the boat but thankfully I held onto the hand rail and pulled myself back up, all the while I was drenched.
What is the most amazing thing you experienced so far?
Laurent: The realization that we are made for this life and after a few adjustments in communication with my better half, we can anchor with no fight!
Valerie: Recently while diving with Laurent we discovered a peak under water; I was just mesmerized by the beauty underneath. It is so neat to have the fish come at you fearless and watch you curiously. I understand that in the South Pacific the variety of fish are even bigger, so I can’t wait… Chocolate keeps well even at 30degree!
I am amazed we are actually here and doing it, it did happen and became our daily life…
Benjeet: When my friend Emily came to Letitgo for 10 days it was pretty cool.
What was the best upgrade on Letitgo?
Laurent: Everything that give us independence, and the drinking water filter.
Valerie: Undoubtedly our washing machine and filtered water, our water maker and our uv protection screen. It was tedious when I prepared those screens but in the end I am glad we made it before leaving. Okay that makes more than one upgrade….
Benjamin the magnifique our Diva extraordinaire: I don’t know why we are being asked this the answer is obvious… me. Duh.
What lesson was the most valuable from prepping?
Laurent: Bringing my knowledge to mechanic to a reasonable level, and insisting on learning all system. Also pick the brain from real cruiser, not the dock neighbour that goes out twice a year from a long week-end.
Valerie: Educate yourself, and keep yourself informed.
Benjeet: Bring all your clothes and don’t hesitate to bring the comforts of life on shore to the boat.
What was the fear that didn’t materialize?
Laurent: Being bored.
Valerie: Can we do it? Why did I even doubt that?
Benscarycat: Night watches. Getting fat in America.
How has been the sailing part so far?
Laurent: Easy, no major challenge. I try to pay attention and think twice before doing something. In reality, we feel we are just finishing the shakedown cruise and learning to sail the beast.
Valerie: For us comfort is the key, we are not racing. If it means we need to reef for a while, or change direction/angle a little bit; we will do it just to have a more comfortable ride. And for that I can only Thank Laurent for being so understanding as I am prone to seasickness. We also watch carefully the weather. Our sailing experience overall has been most enjoyable without many scary moments, Letitgo is a very comfortable boat for us. As you go you will realize that you are still learning to sail, we learn everyday and every time we get out.
BenIamonacruiseship: Mediocre, I really don’t see what everyone is bitching about back home it’s easy.
What do you wish people had told you before leaving?
Laurent: We were lucky; we belonged to a fantastic association and were able to pick so many brains of experienced cruisers, so we heard it all from the good to the bad. Plus we have a tendency to do it our way anyway, we don’t listen to anybody but our gut feeling.
Valerie: It took me a while to find my answer on that one. Really nothing much, because I always asked questions to the ex-cruisers I knew had knowledge and I trusted, I generally reach out to get my information. Also, when we knew we had an interest in sailing we enrolled in a sailing association immediately and that made our dream more accessible.
BenIliveinmyownworld: Bring a year’s worth of work out equipment so you have something to do. Oh and bring a stash of home goodies for when you’re bored or missing home.
What would you like to tell others who dream about leaving?
Laurent: Just fucking do it, stop farting around and trying to find excuse. If the desire is there, you will do it; otherwise just stay home you will be happier, save ton of money, your marriage and life.
Valerie: Don’t ask yourself too many questions; don’t let fear run your life. If this is truly a dream of yours, focus and make it happen. Prepare as you prepare for a move, one box at a time and one day you turn around everything is packed in boxes, it’s time to go. Most of all don’t let others overwhelm you with their various advices and doubts. Just do it!
Benwhereareweagain: why dream when you can live.
What did you bring on-board that was not necessary?
Laurent: Two teenagers sorry I couldn’t stop myself and way too many clothes then again we will have a stock for the next 10 years.
Valerie: My yoga mat!
Bendivaextraordinaire: I tend to use a lot of stuff (I have 30 pyjama shirts) so I would say nothing.
What big purchase did you do since leaving?
Laurent: My kindle it change my life, well the book I read on it did anyway.
Valerie: A prop… That we shipped from the States (mainland) to Hawaii and that our daughter brought back with her.
Benshoppingmaniac: Nothing I don’t have access to loose cash that can’t be traced anymore. (insert sighing sound)
And Now ? What do you look forward most for this coming year then?
Laurent: The real cruising explores some unknown country to us and really sail that boat far away. Now the challenge start.
Valerie: Let the real cruising begin! I am excited to still be able to speak Spanish as we have decided to keep going south and visit more Central and South America. I am excited to do some land side trips as well and visit our friends we met in Tenacatita.
And of course I am looking forward to Emma’s first visit; I can’t wait to hear about her experience of living on her own. I understand this doesn’t relate to cruising so much but it is a big part of my life.
MrBenjaminatbest: For the next visit from anyone back home, maybe visiting friends back home, seeing Costa Rica, to see what Kim Kardashins new baby looks like as a toddler.