We were extremely lucky when we went cruising. We had very good friends who left a year before us, Gloria & Michael on Paikea Mist. Gloria emailed me frequently about places to see along the Coconut Milk Run, across the South Pacific. She sent me tips such as “Bring fast dry clothing. Cotton doesn’t dry on the boat.” “Buy a yogurt maker.” “Don’t miss Fakarava in the Tuomotus. It’s a gem.” It was all very useful information which helped prepare us for our cruising adventure. We met up with Paikea Mist in New Zealand when we sailed into Opua on Sarah Jean II. It was a wonderful reunion.
Meet Gloria & Michael
Gloria & Michael Hanssmann set sail from Vancouver on their 50’ Custom Beneteau Paikea Mist in 2009. They sailed to Mexico, across the South Pacific to Tonga, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Australia, Indonesia and Thailand. They cruised full time until they shipped their boat to the Mediterranean in 2013. They are currently cruising in Turkey. You can follow their adventures at www.paikeamist.com
An Interview with Gloria Hanssmann, Paikea Mist
What is your current cruising schedule, time cruising vs. time at home?
We spend about half the year on the boat. For a variety of reasons we have chosen to spend the shoulder months sailing in the Med. This gives us 3-4 months of cruising at a time, and an equal amount of time to spend at home.
What do you like about seasonal cruising? Why does it work for you?
I love the flexibility and fun of living in both worlds. There is no doubt that the cruising lifestyle is a great way to experience the world. On the flip side I have always loved Vancouver and all it has to offer. Many people are surprised to hear that we work when we are home. Work remains a positive focus for us as we are not ready to retire quite yet. As new grandparents we especially love our time in Vancouver where we enjoy developing and nurturing our relationship with our granddaughter. Another positive aspect of cruising part time is that we still maintain all of our BC medical benefits.
What are some of the challenges of this style of cruising from your perspective?
In a nutshell, transitions. It can be hard to leave one lifestyle for another. The tendency is to start missing family even before you leave, or to feel sad about the last days of cruising as you are getting ready to head home. Another challenge is the inevitable and ongoing boat maintenance which now gets compacted into our time on the boat. Our suitcases carry the most unusual things. This year we plan to do some work on our weathered teak decks. I am hoping that the customs officer understands that the ‘gun’ in my luggage is actually for caulking the deck!
How and where do you store your boat? Where do you live when you come home?
That is a funny question, because I still think of Paikea Mist as my home! I guess I am just incredibly lucky to have more than one home. We usually pick a marina by a combination of price, location and facility. There is often a wide range of prices, and although we don’t bottom feed, we definitely try to gauge value. In choosing a location we consider how well the boat will be protected and the logistics of getting to the airport. We love marinas which are in the heart of a real community, not just a tourist place. It’s also nice to stay in a marina that has a bit of a cruiser community. In winter we have always pulled the boat out of the water, and so far we have left the boat in the water during summer months.
When we are in Vancouver we live in an apartment. Unlike the boat, it is nice to turn the key and not worry about maintenance. We rent our family home which helps out the cruising kitty.
Do you have suggestions for others who are considering seasonal cruising?
If you can, enjoy full time cruising first. The four years we spent cruising on the boat were pure magic. The experience gave us a very practical basis for structuring our part time cruising. Although things may look easy from the outside, it takes ongoing interest and energy to organize seasonal cruising so be prepared to work at it! In the end, there is no wrong way to cruise, so whatever you choose to do enjoy it fully.
What are your cruising plans for the upcoming year? How long do you plan to continue this style of cruising?
This season we plan to finally leave Turkey and the Aegean Sea, which has been our cruising territory over the past two years. We will head westwards across the Greek islands towards Athens, the Corinthian Canal, and then north to Albania, Montenegro and Croatia. We will leave the boat in Croatia in the summer. We look forward to cruising in the popular waters of Croatia on both sides of their busy summer season. We are also looking forward to our son and girlfriend joining us this spring and my brother and his wife in the fall. We have no plans to give up seasonal cruising at this point, but I would love to get back to full time cruising at some point.