Sheltering in Place
By Gary Dickinson
We all know what sheltering in place means in the current conditions these days, but what does that look like for those who are cruising?
I want to start by saying those who cruise are perhaps more independent and in-tune with their surroundings than most of us on land. I mention independent, because most of the vessels that cruise are already off the grid, which is a trend gaining popularity now. Most cruising boats have the means to produce their own power with the aid of wind and solar power which in my case meant I never had to be connected to shore power.
In addition many cruising boats also have water makers which convert sea water to fresh water which means they also don’t need to enter port for fresh water.
The above items tend to give those sailors a sense of independence we land lubbers don’t share.
I remember one time while living on my boat in the Pacific Northwest I was watching a movie on my laptop. I sensed that something changed and came out of the cabin to discover that the power was out in the area. There was no light except for that coming from my cabin. This sense of independence is just one of the many things that differentiates sailors from their land locked brothers.
Those who have spent any time on the water are conservationist by nature. We realize we have limited resources and therefore conserve the resources we do have.
Another difference that is evident during this pandemic is that most of us only kept enough food and supplies to last a week or so. I’m sure part of that is because we drive by numerous well stocked stores on a daily basis and if we run out of something we just pick it up on our next trip out. That is not an option for cruisers. Most cruisers are experts on provisioning for a extended voyage. During the years I have learned to make lists for ALL the ingredients needed to prepare the meals during the voyage.
I remember on my longest voyage I purchased enough groceries and miscellaneous items to fill the bed of a pickup truck. The next challenge was how to prepare and store those provisions in the boat, but that is a story in itself.
Once the provisions are stored and the fuel tanks were topped off I was prepared to “Shelter in Place” for six months.
For those who are cruising right now the idea of “Sheltering in Place” is something they are doing, and have always done. It is called cruising and the only difference between them and those of us on land is that the place they are sheltering in is always moving.
I know two couples who are cruising right now. Byron and Mary Peppier left the Tampa area more than a month ago. They crossed the Gulf of Mexico to Mobile Alabama and at last report were more than 200 miles up- river from the Gulf on the Tombigbee Waterway. There plan is to take their boat all the way up the river to their log cabin in Alabama.
The next couple, Dave and Wendy Kall, also from the West Coast of Florida, have been cruising for more than a decade and are in Australia right now. You can follow their adventure at http://www.svelysium.net/blog/ . This global pandemic has made cruising even more challenging now than it has been in the past I’m sure they wouldn’t change places with us.
For those who are suffering from “cabin fever” during this terrible pandemic and are forced to shelter in place take a moment to daydream. Those sailors who are cruising right now are more isolated than you will ever be and they relish the adventure! Their isolation is called cruising and they are doing what many of us dream of doing.
I hope some of you with time on your hands will use this opportunity to plan your own adventure, and turn your dreams of cruising into a reality.