Cruising: vacation vs lifestyle

Dinghy to shore

Sometimes cruising really is exactly the way people with landlocked lives and snowy driveways imagine it to be. A morning of exploring a new bay, an afternoon of watching the sun climb across the sky from a hammock, and cocktails at sunset- with ample breaks for entertainment between those consuming activities.

walking to the beach
returning to the beach from a successful mission…for a massage

We just had several weeks of cruising that modeled that ideal pretty well. OK, so possibly it was a little less glamorous (four mile walk for groceries, laundry in a bucket), but it is a slice of the cruising life and one that naturally cycles back and forth. Nearly every day involved playing on the beach. There were the incredible dives at Richelieu and very respectable ones at the Surin islands. With a very dear friend visiting from afar, excellent company for exploring, and many evenings of sundowners shared among friends, social fun was simply part of the flow.

Waiting for the green flash
the honorable work of waiting to see a green flash at sunset

Fueling upReturning south to Phuket has meant the arrival of payback time for our languorous reprieve. It was a month away from a population center. Just a month. We weren’t in atolls or uninhabited islands or ridiculously remote, but suddenly, we have a lot of catching up to do to do. The laundry pile is threatening mutiny: it was oddly easy to ignore when the only option was a five gallon bucket, and 20 baht washing machines awaited in Phuket.

We were shockingly low on fuel, too. The dinghy is pretty much running on fumes. That won’t do! Getting jerries filled from the Chalong pier is interesting… especially at low tide. Jamie’s standing on the dinghy tubes to get this close, and the guy still had to practically drop the forty pound jerry to his reach.

Then there’s the little matter of our pre-paid SIM card running out of data. I do like my internet, even if it’s slow! More importantly, many of our basic provisions have run low. What, they want to eat? Apparently they do! Three days in Phuket = three trips to the grocery store, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be making a fourth trip tomorrow. Jamie demonstrates how sexy and fun this is, competing with the crazy local traffic for inches of pavement while lugging bags of groceries.

lugging groceries

It’s good to be back, though. Niall’s good friend Josh is living in Phuket for much of this year while his family has their boat hauled out. We’ll head south soon and aren’t sure when we’ll see Josh and his family again, so the two boys have been making the most of their time together. Activity of choice: intense games of Axis and Allies taking over our main cabin table for most of the last two days.

Axis and Allies

Siobhan decided that since Jamie and I were “a little busy” this morning, she’d just make breakfast for everyone herself. Pancakes with a squirt of lime and powdered sugar were served in the cockpit… thanks sweetie!

Breakfast in the cockpit
Sometimes, these forays away from easy access to goods and services is only a week. Sometimes it’s a month. Every now and then it’s even longer. But each time, the experience of getting back to the big smoke is relative. Relative to how little has been available in the prior window, and to the options in “town”. “Town” might not be more than a single store that’s smaller than most suburban garages- or it might be like Phuket, where we can find everything from well stocked chandlers to Italian food importers. Dipping in, dipping out, it’s a swing in the rhythm that becomes part of life.
Sunset at the big Buddha
Buddha on the mountaintop watches over boats in Chalong Bay

People who appreciate such yin yang qualities of life surely appreciate that reading this on the Sailfeed site brightens the day on Totem.

2 Responses

  1. Don’t take this the wrong way–I always enjoy your posts–but I especially now look forward to the ever-clever encouragement at the end to read this on the Sailfeed site. Of course, the irony that I read your blog here to see this solicitation isn’t lost on me. Michael

Comments are closed.