One of the greatest pleasures of our new life is that we keep meeting and making friends, many of them cruising and living aboard their boats. People are in widely different circumstances, some are young, others make us feel like youngsters. Some have large, well-found boats, others small boats with minimal comfort, some new, some old. And obviously, you come across people of all different nationalities and working backgrounds. All of these differences tend to be set aside, however, when it comes to meeting and getting to know your fellow cruisers. Often it is simply a hand with the ropes coming into a new place, or swapping notes on where to buy food or change a gas cylinder. When the chips are down, we would all do our best to help our fellow sailors.
We have spent the first three, then two more, winters securely tied up in marinas. This provides an opportunity to get to know people much better. We have learnt that there are cruisers, such as ourselves, who are committed for the time being to the life afloat, and to exploring new places. There are many who initially set out this way, but become more or less rooted to one spot. They may have fallen in love with a place, and bought themselves a foothold on dry land. Many have found either casual jobs or provide services to their fellows to provide an essential income. There are many others who have retained a foot in both camps, and retreat from time to time to their comforts and jobs at home. Some have work that enables them to spend a high proportion of their time on the boat, while retaining an income, now so much more practical with the internet and modern communications.
A few sailors that we meet are therefore comfortably off, but these are relatively few in number. Others have made the break with little money, but scrape by somehow. Some will be able to eat out often, others would not even contemplate this! The problem with over-wintering in a marina is the opportunity to socialise, often spending money that can be ill-afforded in bars.
John and Mo probably fall in the middle. We are fortunate in having in Fuga a fairly large, comfortable and modern boat. While we have a nice boat, we have had to think quite hard prior to drawing any pensions before incurring 'day to day' living expenses. At first, we kept a running account of our expenditure so that we could see where the money was going. Where we have spent on the boat we have tried to rationalise: but the boat usually wins!
Luckily we like lying at anchor off a beach in a sheltered spot, with a minimum of life's normal conveniences. Fuga is well set up, as our water will last 10 days without trying. We have a freezer as well as a fridge, so that we can enjoy the comforts of good food without too frequent trips to the shops. Our main challenge is generating enough power, and that is easy enough when the generator is working. During the spring of 2005 we fitted solar panels that go some way to reducing our dependence on generated power, and in 2011 we decided to go for a permanently installed wind generator.