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Cruising and Other Seasons

Gary Brown in the Azores
Gary Brown in the Azores


The theme of this month’s All At Sea is CRUISING, and what a splendid life it is. We are blessed with good writers and I particularly enjoyed working on this edition because it brought back so many memories.

For me, cruising goes hand-in-hand with voyaging but I don’t think you should confuse the two. Voyaging takes us to the cruising grounds; it’s the big adventure, the blue water passage that gets the adrenalin pumping. Arriving at the cruising grounds, we decompress; we have arrived, strange lands lie ahead and, like Christopher Columbus, off we go exploring, although hopefully without killing anyone.

Liesbet Collaert and husband Mark are contemporary cruisers who chronicle their adventures in All At Sea. Liesbet wrote a candid article for this edition (Why do we Cruise?) explaining what it takes to live the cruising lifestyle and follow the dream. This practical article is most welcome and shows both sides of cruising: Beautiful sunsets, rum & cokes, dolphins gamboling beneath the bow. It also touches on the dark side … The dirt and expense of the annual haul out, breakages, boat maintenance and the everyday problems of living in a home that moves and one that is not connected to the grid. If you have the character to deal with the many inconveniences, then Liesbet suggests that cruising might be for you.

Writer and delivery skipper Andy Schell is another of our contributors who experiences the cruising lifestyle firsthand. Andy is the consummate seaman. He knows what keeps a boat and crew safe and what to do when the vomit hits the cabin fan. He is one of the only people I know who is still passionate about traditional navigation and who is as much at ease with a sextant as a GPS. For this edition (Crossing to the Azores), he describes a voyage across the Atlantic to the islands of the Azores, a voyage that many Caribbean cruisers will make at the end of our sailing season. Next to the Caribbean, the Azores is one of my most favorite places on earth and one of my proudest moments was painting my boat name Driac II on the breakwater in Horta – a tradition that is carried on to this day. My boat name was visible for many years before slowly disappearing, eroded by the weather and others seeking to add their boat names to the famous wall.

A group of good folks on my own island of St. Martin have come up with a wonderful scheme to help interest youngsters in the marine industry … get ‘em building boats. Over the years, all sorts of incentives have been put forward in the schools but so many have stumbled at the first hurdle. This scheme is off the ground, or to be more precise, ‘on the water’ as high school students, with the help of industry professionals, have built and launched their first boat and are sailing it around the bays. This innovative scheme could extend to any island in the Caribbean and is a wonderful way to give back to the community. Take a look at the article (Sint Maarten High School Students to Build a Skerry), and if you would like to comment, then send me an email.

Holiday season is upon us. It’s time for Johnny Cakes, rum, eggnog and all the goodies that make this time of year so jolly in the islands. In Caribbean Boat Parades and Parties you will find a guide to the festive happenings in our region put together by senior writer Carol Bareuther.

The production team at All At Sea would like to thank everyone for their support in 2012 and wish you a happy holiday season and peaceful New Year.

Shout “Ahoy” at your neighbors and smile. It’s Christmas time in the Caribbean.


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