And so here is another blog post that will make those who are jealous of our adventure a little less jealous. Because the secret is, there are some parts of cruising that suck. Even beyond the barfing part.
This post was originally a whine about some of the inconveniences we have suffered, until we developed real problems that overshadowed our previous complaints. Cruising teaches you this lesson: “If you think it’s bad now, just wait!”
I was originally going to complain about the lack of Bounty Select-A-Size in Colombia. Above is a pic of Mel cradling the last Bounty they had stocked. Goodbye, dear Bounty!
The other “hardships” have included the inability to obtain Kevin Murphy’s Antigravity hair serum, the best thing Mel has found to control her unruly hair, which was hard enough to control in the States when she had full access to Amazon Prime. She has to settle for Pantene now. Poor Mel!
The infections are not fun. Mel has diagnosed impetigo twice in the kids, and tinea corporis twice on Greg (he sweated a lot in Minnesota; you can imagine what it’s like down here.) Luckily, she has plenty of meds, and you can buy a lot of things over-the-counter in Colombia. Thanks Dr. Nick and Mayo ID!
Mel did not realize that many of her recipes were highly dependent on preprocessed American foods. Things like, “Campbell’s Cream of Chicken,” “Pillsbury Crescent Rolls,” canned and precooked beans, and “Stuffing mix” are nowhere to be found. So she has to make things from scratch now, or not make it at all. Which means her family is starving.
All of these inconveniences, however, have been minor. But now, we have been having electrical problems. Our cool blue stern lights have been behaving erratically, and recently they stopped working completely. Now we can’t see the Tarpon swarming around our boat at night! Waaah! How else are we going to attract other kids that our kids can play with?
The port float switch (the third one we have installed since we took ownership in March 2015) stopped working because it is made of cheap-ass plastic crap. Seriously? You design something to sense that the boat is taking on water, charge $100 for it, and the electronics are not watertight?!!! Are you FRICKIN’ kidding me???
In anticipation of our trip to Aruba, realizing now that things can break even though all we are doing is sitting in a marina, we checked our instruments. “Why do we have no signal?” No signal. I don’t care what profession you are in, “No signal” is never good. Okay, it’s probably worse in Mel’s profession…
After several phone calls and diagnostics, the problem was localized to our chartplotter and AIS. Great! 10 weeks into cruising, and our $3500 chartplotter lost the ability to communicate with a major component. Greg has figured out a workaround, but we won’t have our full complement of toys to go to Aruba. Someone onboard is starting to feel like a sucker. This is a dangerous situation, as that is why she quit working…
Sailors manage without these gadgets all of the time, and we expected this to happen someday, just not this early, only 10 weeks after we started cruising. At minimum, we will have no AIS, which is the system that alerts you to oncoming ships and even gives you a predicted “point of closest approach” so you can avoid a collision. We do have our radar and our eyeballs and our math skills. We will restrain ourselves from adding the ½ at2 to the d=rt equations. Out in the open ocean, the “a” isn’t significant anyway. That’s what Mel tells herself.
So Mel has started swearing in the obscure language called, “AC/DC.” One wonders if it is an unfortunate coincidence or brilliant subterfuge that many of their songs reflect the difficulties of cruising: “It’s a Long Way To the Top” of the mast; “Live Wire,” & “High Voltage” – all the things that have gone wrong; “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” – this applies to any plumbing projects we undertake ourselves; “Thunderstruck” – a techie sailor’s worst fear; “TNT” – what you want to do to the crappy RayMarine chartplotter and SeaTalk, because when one component fails the whole stupid proprietary system goes down; and of course, because we likely will go to Aruba without our AIS security blanket, “She’s Got Balls.”
Mel promises this: She will definitely post via sat phone if they run into a tanker this Thursday or Friday. But be forewarned: it will be the slowest, most avoidable collision in history. Imagine the main character, the person on watch, saying “Noooooooo!” for, like, 15 minutes. Seriously. We will be fine without the AIS.