Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Guests Aboard

This lifestyle is unique and I feel very fortunate to live it. Very often, I wonder why aren’t more people living their lives this way? I wish more friends and family could join us, at least for a little while. But land life is keeping everyone so busy and tied up that flying to the Caribbean appears worlds away! Company aboard is great and I would like to share this experience with others! We haven’t had anyone visit since Dominican Republic (April 2011), before the last hurricane season. In the Virgin Islands, Tony stayed aboard for a few days but he already lives in the Caribbean, has a sailboat, and has been a cruiser.
Nico is our current visitor, a long time friend from Chicago. He contacted us a few weeks ago, bought a one way ticket and will be here for a few weeks. That is ideally the best way to visit us. For most of our friends and family it has been difficult to coordinate when and where to meet because they want to buy airfare a couple months in advance. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly where we are going to be then. We can usually  predict 2-3 weeks in advance where to meet. When friends want to come visit, they can choose either the time or the location, not both. When you choose the time, we will be able to tell you 2 weeks prior to that where we are going to be. If you choose the location, then we’ll tell you 2-3 weeks before we get to that specific location.

Most people can’t take a lot of time off from their jobs! If you really want to experience Earthling lifestyle, you have to come here at least for a couple of weeks. Then you will be able to experience passages to new islands, hiking, fishing, snorkeling, camping, and so forth. Last year, two of my friends flew in to Miami and we sailed to the Bahamas together and they flew out of Nassau. During the 3 weeks visit they got to experience the full-time live aboard lifestyle.
Having a guest aboard is also nice since they become crew and take certain responsibilities. Nico cooked breakfast this morning and he made dinner the other night, which was delicious. Having company is great since Kelly and I don’t have to keep each other entertained all the time! 

 Earthling is also like a school. When first time sailors come aboard, they have a lot to learn. This starts with getting in and out of the dinghy, especially Earthling 8.8, a hard dinghy, which is very unstable! The other knowledge to gain is nautical/boat terms. You will also learn how to sail, how to maintain a boat, how to anchor, how to troll and fish, and basically how to live aboard. You will also adapt to our sleep schedule, which is going to bed early and waking up early.   

Having a visitor aboard can also have its downsides. For instance, we can’t predict if our guest is going to have a problem with motion sickness or not!  As a captain it feels terrible to have a crew/guest that would be sick during a passage. The person’s experience might be worse than expected! The average space per person becomes less on the boat, especially when you live on a relatively small boat. For us, it’s easier in the small space since we are used to it. But our guest might be cramped in this limited space. The level of privacy is definitely reduced and it’s important to be comfortable living in a minimum amount of clothing. Sometimes I wish we were cruising on a larger boat where I could offer a full size berth with closet space, head, shower, and at least a door for our guests. However, the way we live right now makes it more cozy and communal. Our accommodations might be a challenge for our guest, such as the lack of unlimited running water and electricity. We shower in the salt water and rinse off with the 5 gallon solar shower, which should be enough for 3 showers each. Also, all electronics get charged during the day when the sun is strongest and the batteries are full.

There is a time and place for high maintenance and Earthling is not the place!!    

Right now we are in Marie Galante and we are planning to sail to Dominica within the next couple of days! 

Love from Marie Galante

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