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Cruising With The Chilbergs: Fear, Phobia, And Floating (BLOG)

Every time I set off on a long cruise I am anxious and, if I am honest, I’m somewhat panicked. What if something breaks? It will. What if plans don’t go as I thought? They won’t. So, Why go? Simple.
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“Ignorance in itself is neither shameful nor harmful. Nobody can know everything. But pretending that you know what you actually do not know is both shameful and harmful”


“Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

—Marie Curie

“Does this path enlarge or diminish me? … Choosing the path that enlarges is always going to mean the path of individuation.”

—Carl Jung

Every time I set off on a long cruise I am anxious and, if I am honest, I’m somewhat panicked. What if something breaks? It will. What if plans don’t go as I thought? They won’t. What if we have bad weather? We will. What if I sink? I will be thrown out of my Cruising Group, “The Unsinkables!”

Perish the thought.

I can have the 3 AM panic attack just lying in my bunk aboard Mud Puddle Rose. It was no different as Lee and I prepared to leave St. Petersburg for the Bahamas and then hopefully up to Nantucket. As we cruised down the ICW out of Venice, Florida, to Sanibel Island, there it was, my reminder to be fearful.

Just off to port outside the channel was a beautiful schooner sunk with water up do her decks (opening photo). Should I go home? Aren’t the freeways more dangerous? Thousands die monthly on our nation’s highways. Why not travel to Paris or Brussels? Have I made my point?

The family aboard Ellie.

The family aboard Ellie.

I began cruising with my parents and sister, Barbara, in Seattle, Washington, as a one year old.

As far back as I can remember, through the East Coast as an elementary age student, down the West Coast to Cabo San Lucas as a college student, from Lake Champlain thru the Bahamas and up to Nashville with my own kids, and now in Florida, I never remember everything going perfectly. What I do remember however, are the greatest family times as a child, with my own kids, and now with my grandkids and Lorna Lee.

Yes, even this year preparing Mud Puddle Rose, I have replaced two thru hull strainers, an accumulator tank for the fresh water system and it appears that I will be replacing my generator’s 8D battery when we arrive in Fort Lauderdale. But as I write this, we are anchored off Key Biscayne with a marvelous view of Miami as the sun sets. I’ll bet you we are “safer” than the couples walking down the streets of Miami!

Before I close, I am going to share this comment on my last BLOG which I think emphasizes the joy of “Going for It.” I have deleted Mike’s last name for privacy.

Hello Joe,

This could fit into the “its a small world” category.

My name is Mike S., I have been following your very entertaining blog for a couple of years now as you voyage through the Bahamas on your beautiful Grand Banks. I first learned of the blog directly from you. I had called you to ask about a Monk 36 your company had listed for sale about 2012-13. During the conversation you mentioned you also owned a Monk 36 which you had for sale as well. Because I was very early in my search for a Monk, I was not quite ready to purchase. I did, however, appreciate your favorable comments about these boats and thoroughly enjoyed the enthusiasm you displayed for boating and cruising. After an exhaustive search, I do now own a 1986 Monk 36, Hull #91, named Dash Away.

Here’s the “small world” part. Some boating friends of mine, who have owned a Monk 36 for a few years, asked if I would talk to some friends of theirs about my recent search for, and decision to buy, a Monk. I had a long conversation with the prospective buyers similar to the one you and I had 2-3 years ago. Guess what they bought? A Monk 36! Guess whose they bought? According to the documentation records, they bought your prior Monk 36, Set Free, from its more current owner! Apparently the name was not changed after you sold.

Looking forward to more of your blog postings! Wish you safe travels, fair winds and following seas!

—Mike S.

Set Free, my former cruiser, a Monk 36.

Set Free, my former cruiser, a Monk 36.

I hope that this serves as an inspiration to get on your vessel and go for it. If you don’t have one, call Jeff Rummel at Galati Yachts in St. Petersburg, Florida, and get one soon (239-691-8100). Call soon, because Jeff is leaving for the Bahamas for a 2 week cruise soon!

Read more of Joe's Blog, here.