Cruising Curmudgeons

“The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief in the inconsistency of all human characters”. Jane Austen

We’re at an imaginary potluck with our fellow cruisers. Oh how I can’t wait to meet all our kindred spirits I’ve heard so much about!

“Hi I’m Lucy, and I like larks”, I introduce myself.

“I’m Nancy”.

"Oh, like Nancy Drew?”

"No, like Negative Nancy. It’s too hot today. 87, if you hadn’t noticed. You don’t seem observant though. If you were, you would never wear pink. It’s not your color.”

“I see,” I’m caught off guard. My soul sister seems a little harsh. "The heat sure beats shoveling snow though” I say, “and did you see the sunset last night - so pretty!”

“I’d rather shovel snow than scrub my boat, and yes, I saw the sunset - too much pink for my tastes” Nancy says. "Oh look, here’s Fred. Fearful Fred."

I start looking around for Matt while half-heartedly engaging with Fred. “We’re thinking of anchoring by Elliot Key tomorrow. The water is so clear there and there’s a great sandbar. Have you ever been?” I ask Fred.

“Aren’t there bugs at the sandbar? And that sand is too crunchy. And no, we don’t anchor out, we don’t trust our anchor. And what about other boats? They could either crash into you or rob you. I also heard some migrants came ashore there recently. These foreigners might stab us in our sleep. And who needs clear water? You want to see the sharks that are desperately waiting to eat you the second you slip and fall, which could happen at any moment? And wouldn’t you be 8 miles from the mainland? Help would take 25 minutes!” 

“I think you’re saying you don’t like Elliot Key.” I’m backing away now, but I still hear Fearful Fred, who is now shouting.

“And did you see the sign about the crocodile? What about the pythons? There are pythons in the bay now! 

My escape pace quickens, looking for Matt. I slam right into Drunk Dan. 

“Hello, pretty lady, what’s your name? I’ve never seen you before!" He says, touching my arm.

“Lucy, and we’ve met several times, Dan" I say, removing myself from his grip. I’m breaking into a run now, desperate to get away from my kindred spirits. There’s Matt! But wait, he’s trapped in a non-versation! 

“What’s the capacity of your holding tanks?” Interrogator Ivan asks. In boating, the conversation always turns to toilets. 

“I don’t know. 15 gallons. Maybe 12.5”.

“You don’t know? And you really ought to educate yourself about metric conversions. It’s important to know on a boat. Now, how much diesel do you hold. Reply in liters.” I can only guess Ivan needs this info for a very dull spreadsheet.

"Are you ready to head back?” I ask Matt. 


My phone is buzzing. Hopefully it’s a bunch of helpful, caring replies to the question I asked the kind, nonjudgmental online women’s sailing group. Oh, wait. I’m actually getting torn to shreds. They’re going at me like Hastings after chicken. Or crocodiles after dinghy dock users. Or pythons after everyone.

We push past the hungry crocodiles at the dinghy dock. Superior Stan is on his way to the potluck. 

“Aren’t you the people on the catamaran?"


“Well, you be careful. Those things are death traps. Not seaworthy."

“Thanks, Stan."

“You won’t be so smug when you’ve capsized. You young people don’t know about reefing, do you?"

“See you later, Stan!"

“Oh, look, there’s a new boat in the mooring field. Shall we go over and welcome them?" Matt asks.

“Yep. Everyone loves good neighbors." 

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?” Jane Austen

What worries you more - crocodiles, pythons, or a non-versation with your fellow man? 

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  1. You have definitely nailed some of the personalities. But hang in there! We don't ALL fit in to those descriptions! ��

    1. Indeed! There are wonderful people everywhere- just a little hard to find!

  2. People worry me more than animals. Always! Great recap of some of the personalities met on the water, Lucy! Luckily, there are some nice, younger, fun and non-judgemental ones out there as well. You are just not in the right spot to meet them yet. :-)

  3. Lucy this is such a brilliant post! I've met one or two of these folks in my time.

    1. Aren't people funny? Now, we've heard a lot about crocodiles and pythons, and we're in prime territory, and we even have a bait dog, but no crocs have appeared. Just the ever present and very dangerous fellow man!


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