Friday, December 09, 2005

what does a cruiser look like?

I read an article once that stated that the author knew he looked like a cruiser when the timeshare salesmen in Puerto Vallarta stopped talking to him. Spotting a cruiser on the street is simple if you know the clues to look for. We wear faded t-shirts, shorts, tevas, backpacks and sun hats. We wear this uniform because it's practical, not because it's fashionable. A cruiser must be prepared for all weather. A cruiser's footwear must be suitable for stepping out of the dinghy into salt water, traversing a beach, hiking on dirt, pavement, flora or sand. His clothes must stand up to salt spray (or splashes), sun damage, hand washing and repeated wear. THere is no point for a cruiser to change into a new outfit unless the current outfit is so dirty it will stand up by itself. To abandon a set of clothes to the laundry bag, means that that item is now in need of attention. Why bother washing something until it's really necessary. Backpacks are essential to carry not only cameras, waterbottles, paperwork, sunscreen, bug repellant, first aid gear and snacks, but to hold items purchased for the boat on the way back. If you see a women leaving a boat with a purse, you know for sure she is not a cruiser. Cruising women as a general rule either have very short hair or hair in a suitable length for a ponytail. There are no blow dryeres, curling irons or other hair tools on cruising boats, we simply don't have the power. Make up is as bad as dirty clothes because it must be washed at the end of the day, and requires hot water, another luxury on cruising boats.

The first day we arrived in Whangarei, I spotted a family going by in their dinghy. I scoped them out and determined that they were not cruisers, based on the fact that he was wearing a button down shirt, nice khaki shorts and looked very clean. Then the next day I saw him again looking spiffy. Then on the third day, I began to second guess my assumption because he was wearing the same shirt again. On day five, he was still wearing the same outfit. Now, after meeting them, I know that he is a cruiser, who owns one nice set of togs for town. Today he wore a different shirt, probably because the first one was standing up by itself. Try as we might, we do stand out to the observer who knows what to look for.

If I show up at home wearing my cruising uniform, you'll know that old habits die hard. We are officially entrenched in the lifestyle of a "yachty" as they call us down here, and I'll have to relearn the habits of home. I think I'll adjust to hot showers, in home laundry and unlimited power, just give me time, -Kellie


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