Home   |   The Boat   |   First Mate   |   Admiral   |   Guestbook 


Date: 23 March 2015. Planning for Adventure (cruising guides)

An online friend and I were recently chatting. Like me, Donald lost his son Davy way too soon. And like me, our children had plans. Mine wanted to circumnavigate on a catamaran. Where did I go wrong?!? And Davy dreamed of exploring the Galapagos.

I wrote a piece about that time which was published (albeit an edited version) in Heroic Stories.
Robbyn's Gift and the story just might touch your heart. Son was a special guy and I miss him.

As Donald and I were talking I recalled the days when I was taking care of Mother. She had Alzheimer's so there was plenty of time to consider options for life after caretaking. At first I wanted a sailboat, dreaming of long voyages and sunlit anchorages.

Then dieting via physician removal of parts, aka cancer, followed by chemo and some serious reckoning ensued. Those days of unending strength are behind me now so I adjusted. The sailboat became a trawler and decisions about the future were contemplated. Eventually I found my Seaweed, but that's not what I suggested to Donald.

He's a sailor, but otherwise seems normal. (insert laughter)

As far as planning goes, I believe he should start shopping online now for the cruising guides to any place he considers worth visiting. For the price of a book he can learn what to expect, places of interest and more. And we are boaters on a budget, so that means that the desires are always larger than the budget.

Create a Cruising Library


Before you're ready to take off for parts unknown, it's a good idea to gather reference books. I opted to do most of my acquisitions while still ashore. Back then I had an income and online access for bargains. By shopping Amazon [that's a referral link] and Half, plus ABE Books, I was able to find most at bargain prices.

You may wonder what books to select. Well, really that depends on your intended cruising grounds. For me, that's the east coast and Caribbean. For you, it may be the San Juan's and Sea of Cortez. As you read online sites you'll find some books repeatedly mentioned. If it piques your interest, buy it used.

Budget boaters do not pay retail, nor buy new when used is available.


For instance, I've got The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South (an old edition plus the latest) and when someone mentions a place that interests me, I go to that page and make a note detailing the information provided.

This is not the same as having a first hand account from a friend. It is of value and useful in planning or considering an upcoming trip. And yes, it's "good enough" and that works for me.


In Passages, I've noted some information on Provo. Who knows? I might just get there one day.


I started buying not only chartkits (new-ish -- nothing incredibly old as though rocks don't move, channels do, and markers too) and also the guides. Specifically Pavlidis for the Caribbean and Doyle, plus Charlie Rains and more. Of course I read, a lot, and if a guide was mentioned as being particularly awesome, I'd look for it as well. The goal was to spend less than half of retail and I succeeded, mostly.

The back row of my bookcase is filled with guides, organized from north to south, then west.

Friends afloat, those I've met at least, often pull out our charts and mark down home-area "hidden" places. I've got docks to visit while en route. Areas known by locals I explore too.

With a depth sounder and on a rising tide, I can and do visit those hidden places. I only do dumb unmarked stuff on rising tides because if I run out of water I know the incoming will float me off and I can reverse course. Besides, it's fun.

And I haven't been aground yet this year [knock teak] but after I get my new engine... well, no guarantees.

Last night I added some information about Salt Cay to my The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South. No, I'm not certain I'll get there. Still, where ever I might chose to go I have already purchased the guides, and at a discount.

Shopping for used books online in advance of need saves money.

I am a believer in up-to-date charts and try to swap for the chart-kits needed as I continue my journey. Folks that are not going to return to a particular area are often ready and willing to swap or even sell inexpensively their old charts.

Long ago I would loan out the kits but unfortunately folks are much better at borrowing than returning. The most reliable have been captains coming in to move a boat. They mail them back ASAP after delivery. Yes, they have their electronic wonders, but some pros also want paper.

Me too. I have the paper charts out -- one overview, one close-up, and also OpenCPN is operational on the computer. I'm most comfortable that way. 

Are you a guide book collector like me?
What guide caused you to say "gosh, I want to go there"?


Categories: Books, Characters, Money, Organizing

Hiring Expertise ~ Previous Post ...    ... Next Post ~ In and Out (clearing clutter)


The Archive holds a running list with synopsis of published articles, and links to same.

A favorite aphorism:  Tricks of the Trades by Bruce Van Sant is a book for those that aren't of the Voyager's Handbook economic stratosphere, for people who are physically phfitt and not getting any younger, for boaters who want to know how he did it for decades aboard a series of boats. I liked it. Janice Marois.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


Copyright Janice Marois  |  Home  |  Archive  |  Topics  |  Boat List  |  Site Map  |  Email Me  |