As we’ve slowly made your way south this last five months, the most common question we’ve heard has been “Where are you headed?”
Mostly we answer that one – slightly tongue-in-cheek – with “South!” Which is basically true, but not awfully helpful.
What we’ve discovered is that many people (non-cruisers) feel that our not having a defined itinerary and stated destination is profoundly disturbing. Probably illegal. Certainly immoral. It might even be fattening for all I know.
It’s a land-based thing, I guess, this needing to know where you’ll be every moment of every day.
But having a plan and sticking to it is the antithesis of the cruising mindset, and in fact the saying amongst cruisers is “The most dangerous thing you can have on a boat is a schedule”. Schedules cause stress. Schedules make you to push the weather. Schedules tell you to keep moving when you really ought to stop.
Schedules suck the fun out of life.
This concept of “no schedule” did not come easily to me. Time after time I’d catch myself feeling tired and grumpy and no fun to be around, and would realize I’d created a schedule in my mind again, and was trying to push us into meeting it.
Dumb, dumb, dumb. And no fun.
But now? Well, I’m in a Keys state of mind. We’re in the Florida Keys, anchored near Marathon in a place called Boot Key Harbor. There are 300 other boats here, most of them cruisers, and they’re all here because it’s warm and protected, you can buy fuel and provisions and have mail and parts shipped in, you can have repairs made, etc. It’s a cruiser’s Mecca, the cross-roads to Mexico, Panama, Cuba, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and more.
And we’re here for a bit. Maybe a week, maybe a little longer, depending on the weather. From Marathon we’ll move west, check out a few of the islands and towns farther out the Keys, and just generally experience the islands.
There’s a cultural concept – particularly in the Bahamas, Caribbean and South Pacific – known as “Island time”. Ask a native when the music starts at a bar and you’ll hear “Jus now”. And “Jus now”, translated into American type-A, means “Sometime later than now and before the end of time.”
Wait for it.
I’m learning, and I have my moments. Nicki and I went to a great little bar last night called Keys Fisheries. GOOD local live music, cheap happy-hour pricing, awesome Stone crab claws and a bunch of other cruisers grovin’ to the tunes… For a little while I completely forgot to be elsewhere. I was jus there, jus now, and damn happy about it.
I highly recommend it.