by Lois Joy

Written on September 10, 2001 in
San Diego California          


I was deeply immersed in cruiser talk. Six cruisers were seated, elbows on the round table, animated by the conversation and the bright yellow tropical decor of the lounge/restaurant at the Banana Bay Marina.  Gunter and I had coast-hopped to this marina in Golfito, Costa Rica from Balboa, Panama, baked by the sun, lulled by the winds and the waves, for 445 nautical miles over the past ten days.  We were hungry for the wisdom of those who had “been there, done that.”

“You know, I thought I knew the answer to that, but my memory seems to be failing me lately,” I replied to a fellow cruiser’s question. 

“That’s natural, considering where you’ve been lately,” a cruiser responded.  “You have cruiseheimers.  IT will come back when you really need it.”

I passed it off as just another sailor’s yarn.

We continued our northbound sail following week, just the two of us managing the 43-foot Cat.  We cleared Costa Rican customs in El Roco, spent a night in Bahia Santa Elena, then passed by the shores of Nicaragua and tarried a week at the Barillas Marina Club in El Salvador and another week in the highlands of Guatemala. Papagayos and Tehuantepeckers--we had tackled it all by the time we reached the Mexican Riviera. By the time we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, we had sailed another 2800 nautical miles or so.  We were in shape: we had become lean and mean and fit.

But something was missing.

At the Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta, the two-for-one margarita-and-pina colada sundowners at pool side topped off lazy days of just hanging out and messing with boats. Hurricane Adolph was circling at sea off Acapulco, 250 miles to the south of us. Until he settled on a clear course, we couldn’t leave for Cabo San Lucas. There was nothing to do but hang out some more.  Surely, any remaining store of brain cells had been depleted!

Finally, we found ourselves cruising up the coast of Baja California, on our way back home. I realized that soon I would be reentering the life I once knew, even though I no longer was the person I once was.

I turned toward Bix, our loan crew member daring the “Baja Bash.”  “Bix, you have to be a judge on the bench next Monday. How do you think you will adjust to hearing cases so soon?”

“I’ll just put on my robes and DO IT,” he replied. He laughed off my fears about lacking mental acuity.  “IT will come back.”

Coming home was an immersion in another world: A trip to see my sick, elderly parents. Battling the IRS. Nine months of mail that had not been included in our two “care packages.” Dealing with accountants and investment advisors. Entertaining house guests and hosting social events, including a cruiser’s party and our annual Fourth of July Bash on the Bay. Visiting our new grandson and other family in Munich, visiting new cruising friends in their villa overlooking St. Tropez, and exploring Ceske Krumlov in the Czech Republic.

In the past few weeks, I networked with some of my old business friends, attending the annual shareholders’meeting of the company I once headed, and became reacquainted with some of the nonprofits that had been such a part of my life in the year before we embarked on Voyage 1.

Today, I visited Pacific Bliss. She is back at home in the water.  The workers are still busy with repairs, but she is again becoming the pretty lady she was, her deck and hull all shiny and sparkly clean. Sitting at the helm seat, dockside, she inspired me to write some more and to dream again.

She also reminded me of cruiseheimers.  Yes, IT did come back Faces and contacts and circumstances and even directions to places--they all came back when I needed them.

Even so, I still believe cruiseheimers is real.  And I’m trying to find out why.

Perhaps cruiseheimers is part of the body’s natural defense-and-survival mechanism. During the nine months we lived on Pacific Bliss, our very survival was based on sailing, managing, and trusting her.  Given the intense attention that this required, perhaps keeping all this other infomation at the ready was just not necessary. My new laptop has a key that puts it into hibernation. But in snaps right back when I need it..  Was part of my brain just hibernating?

Perhaps the environment has something to do with cruiseheimers. The wind and the sea certainly have a calming effect on the nerves.  As the nautical miles drone on, the sun beat us into an amorphous pulp by day and the sky cocooned us by night. How could one help but lose it a little?

Or perhaps, there is a scientific answer.Remember the ocean ion machines popular in the ‘70s?  We were lulled by those ions almost every day for the nine months of our maiden voyage. Perhaps the flower children were on to a good thing.

Cruisers, I’d appreciate your inputs.  Please contact me at





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