Cruising Life: The Things We Brought (and Didn't)

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When we were preparing for this adventure (destination: unknown; length of time away: unknown) we were not exactly sure what to bring or how to pack. We read blogs on "Best Clothes to Bring" and "How to Minimalize Your Life if You're Living on a Sailboat," but we were really just making guesses. 

Now that we're on month 6 of full-time sailing and cruising, here are our notes! 

Things We’re Thankful We Brought: 

 Canvas bags will make your food and supply runs far easier (and cheaper). 

Canvas bags will make your food and supply runs far easier (and cheaper). 

FOR LIFE-

  • Cash. The “cash is king” rule definitely applies to travel. It isn’t easy to find banks and withdraw cash, so having it available - in many different dominations - is best. 
  • Clothing with SPF. This is a serious help if you’re having a day when you don’t want to be sticky from sunscreen but still need protection. Also, this sun is brutal. Sometimes you need both.
  • Back-up sheets and blankets. You can’t do a lot of laundry out here, so having backups will save you when you’re craving clean (free of sunscreen, sweat and salt) sheets.
  • Back-up Deodorant, Toothpaste, Contact Solution. That stuff is pricey outside of the U.S. 
  • A stocked medical and medicine kit. You’ll get cuts and bruises and you’ll get sinus infections and illnesses. Having rubbing alcohol, creams, and basic medicines will come in handy. And Calamine lotion because the mosquitos are as plentiful as the flies. 
  • An Epi-pen. You never know when you’ll randomly pick up a shell-fish allergy while eating a lobster in the Bahamas. 
  • Back-up sunglasses. We brought around 4 pair for each of us, and on the daily we either cannot find them (or cannot find the pair we had on yesterday), so we go to our back-up pile. Because you absolutely have to have them - no question.
  • Canvas bags for markets and grocery store visits. Most stores in the Caribbean have banned plastic (YAY!) so having multiple canvas bags protects the environment and will make your grocery runs easier. 
  • Back-up tools and boat parts. If you think it won't break: it will. Be prepared and be ready to improvise. 
  • Each other. We wouldn't want to be doing any of this without each other. 
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FOR EATING / DRINKING-

  • A plastic pitcher to chill water in. When you have spent all day in the sun, you crave cold water and the water coming from you water tanks isn’t going to cut it.
  • A pressure cooker (for the propane stove). It fixes rice - which we eat a lot of - very quickly and efficiently.
  • A French Press. The most energy-efficient way to make coffee on a boat.
  • Sharp knives. For making delicious meals and cutting through fresh island fruits. 
  • An embarrassing large amount of rice, quinoa and cous cous. Grains you can stock up on and they last forever! They're expensive on island, so purchase them (a lot of them) when you have the chance.
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FOR FUN-

  • Hammocks. They’re awesome. 
  • Books, and lots of them. We had an entire library onboard and we are so thankful because a lot of time is spent reading. 
  • iPad with a Netflix account. We can download movies and shows whenever we have wifi and watch on our iPad later. 
  • A large map to track our progress. It helps to see that we’re actually moving. 
  • Yoga mats. On beautiful islands or on the bow of our boat, we use these things constantly! 
  • A nice camera. We are so thankful to have a camera (that does photography and video) to capture all of the fun we are having. 
  • Boards (surf & paddle). Because these make for the best and most relaxing morning workouts. 
  • Boat cards. You absolutely must have these! You meet so many people in passing and then you want to link up with them later, so passing over a boat card is the best way to track people down and start friendships. 

FOR NAVIGATION-

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  • Navionics
  • Bad Elf
  • Garmin InReach

Things We Wish We Had Brought More Of: 

  • Packages of Crystal Lite to flavor water that doesn’t always taste delightful. Plus, you get tired of drinking just water. 
  • Cleaning Vinegar. This is impossible to find on islands. 
  • Shampoo and Conditioner. While you can find it, it’s expensive on islands. 
  • Tea Tree Oil. We use this for cleaners and to prevent mold (also use vinegar). 
  • Castile Soap. You can create shampoos, laundry soap and dish soap from this and it’s easier on the environment. This is nearly impossible to find (in liquid form) on islands. 
  • American chocolate treats. They’re pricey on islands. 
  • Sternos to burn. They keep away the flies. 
  • Lighters. To start the propane stove, grill, and sternos. 
  • Luci lights. These solar-powered, blowup lights are awesome. But they go bad or blow away easier than we’d like. 
  • Throw-away shoes. Your shoes get worn out fast from sun and salt exposure, as well as hiking, sand, seashell and reef walking. So, having shoes that you can toss when they’re worn out and have some backups available is great! 
  • Hard drives. In the cruising community, they pass around hard drives for movies, navigational charts and music. You need a few terabytes worth of storage. 
  • Turkish towels. These dry faster, and they are lighter (thus taking up less space) when folding them and putting them in closets. 
  • Cotton dresses (for Sheena); Khaki shorts (for Ryan). They are our island go-tos! 
  • Disinfecting wipes. These make cleaning easy on a moving boat.

Things We Brought Too Much Of: 

 Bringing back-up tools and boat parts is crucial to your cruising success. 

Bringing back-up tools and boat parts is crucial to your cruising success. 

  • Clothes. We aren’t kidding when we say you basically wear the same outfit every day (bathing suit). 
  • Plates and glasses. You really don’t need a mass amount of these. Maybe some for you and a few for guests. 
  • Glass jars. Let’s be honest, no one is canning food on this boat. 
  • Strawberry Pop-Tarts. We are really wishing we had bought the variety pack. 

Thank you all for following our journey. We are learning as we g(r)o(w) and having an absolute blast.