Castaways

Castaways

Me:  “How about we buy a boat and sail around the world?”

Winnie:  “OK.  But I’ve never been on a boat before, and I don’t know how to swim.”

This was a bit baffling, as I had been sailing regularly since moving to Seattle in 2000, and started swimming before I could walk.

Me:  “Would you be interested in trying a short sailing trip to see if you like it?”

Winnie: “Yeah, that sounds fun!”

A few months and an Introduction to Sailing class later, we were flying to the British Virgin Islands to pick up our charter boat for 2 weeks of cruising.

There are few places in the world more idyllic for a first time sailor than the BVI’s. Directly in the trade winds, the wind is consistent and continuous, while the islands themselves provide shelter from the open sea.  It might be considered cheating to introduce Winnie to sailing in such a place, and if that is the case I am definitely guilty

Captain Winnie at the Helm

Captain Winnie at the Helm

We quickly settled into our new floating home, spending our days cruising and snorkeling, and our evenings ashore for dinner and tropical drinks.  Most afternoons we would settle in for a short nap

Nap Time

Nap Time

Late April is the end of sailing season in the BVIs, but it was perfect for us.  The weather was warm, the skies blue and sunny, and the sea and bays were ours alone

A Peaceful Evening

A Peaceful Evening

The Road Town Harbor

The Road Town Harbor

Our boat was a great little Beneteau 362, with a large main cabin, a swim step for easy access to snorkel sites, and 2 berths.  Friends joined us for most of the trip, and we had plenty of space for 4

Our Floating Home

Our Floating Home

Main Cabin

Main Cabin

We loaded up our refrigerator and icebox in Road Town before setting sail, and would usually have breakfast and lunch on the boat.  For dinner, fresh seafood and rum drinks were a must.  Conch fritters anyone?  Most evenings we would play cards, drink more rum drinks, and watch the sun drop into the sea

A 4-lb Lobster

A 4-lb Lobster

A Black and White Red Stripe

A Black and White Red Stripe

The Most Amazing Sunset Ever

The Most Amazing Sunset Ever

Dragon Cloud

Here Be Dragons

The British Virgin Islands have some incredibly beautiful scenery…

Where to Next?

Where to Next?

The Baths

The Baths

Public Phone in the (British) Virgin Islands

Public Phone in the (British) Virgin Islands

… but the real draw is definitely the sea itself

Should We Go to the Beach?

Should We Go to the Beach?

Go for a swim in a secluded bay?

Go for a swim in a secluded bay?

Or Hike up a hill for a panoramic view?

Or Hike up a hill for a panoramic view?

Many people dream of spending their retirement days cruising, and there is a good chance that we will be doing more of it in the coming years.  After an experience like this one, how could we not?  And maybe, just maybe, we’ll cross an ocean or two and sail around the world

What do you think?  Is cruising in your future?

Stars in the Sea

Sea Stars

How much does it cost to go cruising?

A trip like this one is not cheap.  For one thing, this was a typical vacation, the kind where you spend ridiculous amounts of money just because you are jetting in and out.  But at any price, it was cheaper than buying a boat before knowing if cruising is a lifestyle we would enjoy

Our costs:
2 week boat charter:  $4,056 total (shoulder season, split with friends)
4 lb lobster:  $100 (much more expensive than in Belize)
Typical dinner for 2 (with drinks): ~$60
1 night on a mooring ball:  $30
1 night on the hook (anchor): $0
1 Painkiller: $6-7
1 bottle of Red Stripe:  $4
RT flights for two from Seattle to the BVIs:  Free with Airline Rewards Card
1 Night at a BVI bead and breakfast (pre-charter): $157
3 Nights at the Westin St. John Resort (post charter):  Free with Starwood points
Your wife agreeing to go on an extended sailing trip in the future:  Priceless
Total expenses: ~$4,200

Is this a lifestyle you might enjoy?  One of the best financial summaries I’ve seen is from Pat & Ali of Bumfuzzle.  They spent $3,100/month to sail around the world for 4 years, eventually selling their boat for basically what they paid for it.  (Warning:  Their story is captivating and you might end up reading about the whole trip in one go.  Here is the first post.)

Retire Early.

Travel the World.

Let's do this.

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