When Peter and I first moved aboard our 42′ sailboat back in October of 2013, we met another cruising couple that shall forever remain very near and dear to us. David and Jan were staying in the same marina where we bought our boat. They live aboard their 1985 Passport 37, Winterlude, spending half the year on land and half the year on the water which leads to the idea behind the name of their website: CommuterCruiser.com
Jan has written countless how-to articles and invaluable informational posts about the cruising lifestyle. We had been reading her posts long before we met them and gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about boat life from Commuter Cruiser. If you’re at all curious about the ins and outs of living on a boat, I highly recommend searching around the Commuter Cruiser website!
We had hardly any sailing experience before we bought Mary Christine so David and Jan kindly took us under their wing and showed us the basics. They went with us for a very memorable Maiden Voyage and helped us build the confidence we needed. Many boat owners end up staying at the dock for years before sailing off into the sunset but we knew we wanted to get out there as soon as possible. To this day, David and Jan are a huge part of the inspiration we needed to take a leap of faith and follow our dreams.
“As long as it’s FUN! That’s what we said before we bought the boat in April 2001. Even before buying Winterlude, we realized we would never be able to explore distant horizons and return to race Y Flyers (18′ one design scow) every summer. Thus we started commuter cruising 15 years ago.
Since buying Winterlude, our 1985 Passport 37, we’ve sailed over 15,000 miles from Annapolis to Southwest Florida, leaving the US in October 2004, from Florida along Mexico’s Yucatan Coast, exploring offshore atolls as well as inshore reefs in Belize, leaving Winterlude in the Rio Dulce (Sweet River), Guatemala.
We’ve explored the Bay Islands of Honduras, the Vivorillos Cays, Providencia & San Andres, Colombian Islands off the coast of Nicaragua en route to Bocas Del Toro, Panama. We loved the lush surroundings of the Chagres River. then sailed to Cartagena for carnival. Returning along the Colombia coast, the Rosarios and the San Bernardos were adventures before arriving at Sapzurro, Colombia — my favorite cruising location yet! Sapzurro is the border town between Colombia and Panama. We hiked the mountain ridge where the border was located and down the Panama side, to the waterfalls, dinghied to the “tourist” town around the next cove and then spent time in the San Blas Islands, negotiating for my own molas, artwork specially crafted by the Kuna indigenous people.
In between, we’ve watched dolphins pirouette in the early morning sun, had front row seats for the pelican ballet: pelicans diving in sequence at sunset, danced barefoot on the beach, made great friends, hiked to the highest waterfalls and snorkeled the clearest waters, discovered unknown (to us) species, eaten the freshest fish and lived a lifestyle only cruisers know.”
A Tour of Winterlude:
Jan is also the co-author of The Boat Galley Cookbook, written for cruisers by cruisers. I personally own a copy of this amazing reference book and it’s packed with info about cooking in small spaces, food storage, limited availability of ingredients, local recipes, limited refrigeration and lack of appliances. For those of you in tiny houses on land, here are 10 reasons you need The Boat Galley Cookbook in your RV or travel trailer >>click here<<.
After cruising for 15 years aboard Winterlude, Jan and David have added a new dimension to their commuter travels. They’re on a quest to see parts of the world where they can’t take their boat. For six months out of the year that they spend on land, they will now be exploring with their Lance 1685 Travel Trailer. Visit TrailerTraveler.net to follow their adventures in a tiny house on wheels!
(All photos published with permission, courtesy of www.commutercruiser.com)