I don't think anybody really likes being under a schedule, with all the implications of something must be done at a certain time, but cruisers like them less than most people. Between weather patterns, provisions, and our travel goals, keeping to a short-term schedule can be difficult. Much of the draw of cruising is the ability to go where you want, when you want. In the tropics, we live on island time, which basically means we do things when we feel like it, and nobody minds if it is a little late.
Still, planning ahead is important. It is good to have some long-term plans, especially if anybody (like myself) is going to be leaving the boat, or if the boat is going to be sold somewhere. Planning ahead for avoiding hurricane/cyclone season is also a good idea. These plans are usually a vague 'three weeks here, five weeks there, two weeks on passage' type of thing, but at least that gives an idea of how long one should stay in an area before moving on. Such schedules are usually very flexible and subject to revision, but they are useful if there are several places to visit during a period of time (perhaps a few months.)
Having guests visiting the boat changes a lot of things. It becomes much more important to be at a specific island on a specific day, both to pick up and drop off visitors. Even more notable is the way our daily life changes with guests. We move the boat more often and spend much less time relaxing. Since our guests can usually only stay for one to three weeks, we become much more active to show them as much as we can.
Having guests on board is a lot of fun, but it is sometimes nice to take a break. My dad has a shirt which says 'Sail Fast/Live Slow.' This is a good advice for the cruising life. Even when we need to get somewhere or do something, we try to take it at our own pace.
For more about our visiting friends, click here.
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