While anchored here in Isla Mujeres, we have finally had a chance to listen to a cruiser’s net. After hearing about them from friends who have cruised, it was interesting to finally listen in on one. I thought I’d share how it goes:
A cruiser’s net is broadcast across the vhf radio, providing various information to cruisers in the area, both at anchor and in marinas. In Isla Mujeres, Tim runs the cruiser’s net, which begins at 8:30am sharp, seven days a week. He begins by asking if anyone has a medial emergency, or any information that is urgent.
“Roll call” is first on the agenda, starting with Tim himself..”Good Morning, this is Tim and Reba, aboard Tropical Fun.” The rest of the “fleet” follow in turn…”Good Morning from Freya”….”Kokopelli, Good Morning”….“Good Morning from Sea Life.” Tim responds to each with a good morning.
After our roll call, we get a weather forecast from one of the cruisers, sunrise/set, barometer reading, wind and wave forecast, etc.
Then there is a shout out for anyone new to the area, asking you to share your names, boat name, where you arrived from, some information about you, etc. This is followed by anyone who is leaving, and wants to say goodbye to the “fleet.”
Tim asks if anyone needs crew for their boat, or if anyone is interested in being crew for someone.
Then there is a request to anyone flying out to the U.S., Canada or Europe, willing to take any “flat mail” with them. It can take up to six weeks to get mail delivered from Mexico, so people will take regular mail with them as they travel home to visit, and drop it in a box when they are back “in country.”
Treasures of the Bilge is next..anyone with something to sell (spare parts, things in good shape that have been upgraded, stuff you no longer need or use, etc.) or anyone looking for a boat part, etc. Today, someone called in looking for a Sirius radio antenna, had an instrument to sell and wanted any copy of a book by a certain author.
Tim will then go over some basic information..such as which channels to use when talking on the vhf, reminding all to put anchor lights on at night and also use lights on your dingy when out after dark. He also touches on the fact that the anchorage can be tricky to anchor in, resulting in your boat dragging in bad weather. Basic things to be aware of.
Then he’ll ask for any information needed or information to be shared. There are calls in to ask about things like where to get a part, who does welding or sail repair or how to get to the Walmart in Cancun. People will reply with details, information and suggestions (which ferry service is best, where to get marine parts on the island, or over in Cancun, how much a cab should cost from the ferry terminal in Cancun to Walmart, etc.) There was a lot of back and forth this week, with someone wanting to get a new iPad. The consensus was to go to the IPad Shop, in the Plaza de America (or the mall). The iPads here have settings in Spanish, and they can change the settings to English. Useful information!
Finally, there are any announcements for the fleet. Maybe you liked the restaurant you went to last night, know about an event, “or just want to share a joke,” as Tim likes to add. A woman called in last week to let us know some of the events going on during the carnival celebration here. Tim also gives time and place for cruiser gatherings, such as Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday (we’re hoping to do pizza this Friday).
To end, Tim will ask if anyone has anything else to share, or needs more information. When all is quiet, he ends the net for the day.
So, that’s how it goes. I think it’s a great idea, and am now a cruiser’s net addict! Most mornings we’re still in bed, or just getting going at 8:15. We keep our vhf on all the time, even overnight, in case of an emergency or if someone is in need. Tim gives a five minute warning before starting. When I hear his voice, I go scrambling to get to our vhf in the saloon, or to grab our hand held, so I can get my “Good Morning” in and get all the day’s “scoop!”
“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”