Before I commence, first let me apologise for the sad state of affairs our blog has been in since we arrived in Palau. Whilst the internet connection here is not great it is certainly no excuse for our lack of activity as we’ve had worse!

We have however, been distracted…. Dive master courses, job applications, short jaunts around the islands, weathering the fortnightly typhoons and of course we’ve had way more social activity than we’ve encountered in our entire trip. Palau (or more specifically Sam’s Bar) has been full of other yacht dwellers and all the human/nautical interactions that accompany such a gathering have kept us somewhat busy.

Just to put this in perspective, outside our portholes rest at least 15 other inhabited yachts… 12 more than we’ve had the pleasure of meeting thus far on our travels and by far the largest number of English speakers congregated outside Australia that we’ve come across in one place (Lae Yacht Club doesn’t count coz that is Australia).

We’ve learned a great deal about this cruising thing as a result…. I’ll try and boil it down to a few points for you.

A) Cruising types tend to have a well-developed sense of humour and fun, I mean, if you haven’t learned to laugh a little when your toilet pump ceases to function mid passage or your thongs (aka flip flops) blow overboard in a storm then you’re not a cruiser. Most we’ve met so far have a hearty laugh at some of their own awkward situations and a veritable belly laugh when you convey your own!

B) Cruisers, by and large, are extremely helpful. My spares are your spares…my tools are your tools ….and my time is all yours….has been our experience thus far. There is a sense of camaraderie that is a natural extension of the cruising life. We all wrestle the elements and fight to keep boats afloat with the same limitations of time, skill and resources… if a little extra help can be given there’s not many that would refuse to give it.

C) Folks that cruise always have a story to tell. Each small vessel is a floating microcosm of intrigue designed to provide endless hours of beer dipped, wine drenched, salt encrusted gossip. Large amounts of time spent in isolation must to some degree heighten the need for a good chin wag and when the travel tales and associated nautical feats have been relayed to each new audience a little non-malicious rumormongering can be a pleasant way to fill the void. Not a great deal different from any small isolated community.

D) I’m gradually coming to the conclusion that one doesn’t take to the ocean in a bathtub with sails unless one has a certain level of self-assurance (or stupidity). Consequently cruisers tend to have a multitude of opinions about the ‘right way’ to get things done and an associated desire to communicate it. This is particularly the case when it comes to sailing etiquette….anchoring too close, laying your chain across another’s bow, running a noisy generator too late in the evening….or for some….inappropriate use of the radio.

Generally speaking these cruiser characteristics are endearing and tend to mean there’s always either something to learn, something to do, and always….something or someone to talk about, but occasionally lines get crossed and senses of humour fray.

For example should you employ a sense of humour and fun and either accidentally of deliberately mess with any element of sailing etiquette, it is entirely possible that you may no longer receive such a warm welcome from your sailing companions and be the next hot topic of beer drenched gossip

Thus we see an excess of point (A) has the unfortunate consequence of transgressing point (D), which results in the withdrawl of (B) and potentially a significant dose of (C)

Simple maths really: A over D equals C minus B