Sailfeed
April 24th

Mail call: especially pawsome deliveries!

Posted by // April 24, 2014 // COMMENT (4 Comments)

Cruising, , ,

rustic post office

Mail! It’s something we rarely get, unless it’s brought by visitors; our changeable routing and backwater destinations make it difficult. Spending a more extended time in one place (wow, almost two months already!) means we’ve had a chance to actually have things sent to us. That alone is kind of a novelty, but two special deliveries in a month? Unprecedented! (Honey- the new batteries, and the order from Defender- they do not count. sorry.)

The first was a valentine, sent from the other side of the Pacific by my friend Charlotte. Charlotte, like me, lives in a digital world- but as a cruiser, appreciates the rare touch of personal mail.…

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April 22nd

Sailing to Sao Jorge

While dawdling about the North Atlantic in my old Alberg 35 yawl Crazy Horse I spent nine months in the Azores in 1995 and ’96. The beautiful nine-island archipelago just sucked me right in. With its dramatic volcanic topography, verdant sub-tropical foliage, sumptuous mid-ocean cloud formations, amazingly friendly people, low food prices, and exquisite architecture it seemed to me a paradise on earth. But if you had told me back then there would one day be a successful bareboat charter operation in the islands, I would have laughed at you.

Not that the sailing is bad. Much of the time it is perfectly splendid, with interestingly variable breezes and occasionally challenging conditions to keep you honest.…

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April 21st

Sickness & Travel: How to Deal

Posted by // April 21, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, Techniques, , , ,

My ultimate low in travel-related illness came when Stylish was three years old.  The two of us were on our way back to Canada from Spain, and we both had rotavirus.  Every ounce of liquid I forced into her came right back out.  Waiting for a connecting flight in Philadelphia, Stylish went Exorcist on our last clean clothes.  As I stood in the airport bathroom in my underwear, washing my preschooler in the sink and wondering what shirt I could rinse well enough to wear home, I knew I had hit bottom.  Parenthood is a humbling reminder that even the most elegant and cool among us will smell of baby vomit from time to time.…

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April 21st
Snorkeling the Surins- Iona
rich in experiences, poor in Stuff

Standing in the dinghy and holding the toe rail of the Canadian boat, Gromit, we quickly moved from introductions to bon voyage wishes for our newest cruising friends. Totem had recently arrived in the anchorage, and these twenty minutes were all the time we’d have before Gromit and crew departed for Thailand. Would we like their Malaysian internet SIM card? How about the mobile SIM? We open up our various devices, remove the Thai cards that we won’t need any more, and make the obvious trade with a quick swap over the water.…

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April 18th

Lullaby and Good Night

Posted by // April 18, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, ,

I haven’t slept in nine days.  I don’t mean that in a cool, James Bond,  I’m-in-a-tiny-room-with-a-bright-light-being-tortured-for-the-location-of-the-secret-files kind of way.  No rescue missions required.  No, I’m just on vacation with Erik and the kids.  And I’ll tell you something: sleeping on land is the worst.


Even in the marina, the boat moves a little.  Just a very gentle sway, back and forth, back and forth.  But enough to lull even the most hard-core insomniac into dreamland.  And, at anchor?  Please.  It is so comfy that I’m surprised we are awake more than three hours a day.  Even my mother, a woman who considers it perfectly reasonable to wake up at 1 am and start the day, can sleep on Papillon. …

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April 17th
Battery replacement project

More than six months ago our battery bank ticked past the five year mark. That’s a pretty good life for marine AGMs, so we’ve been thinking for a while about where and how it would be replaced. You can’t always count on easy access to boat bits in the islands of Southeast Asia, so the big concern is that the bank would nosedive in an inconvenient location with complicated and costly results. We wanted to wait as long as possible, but expected it to become necessary at any moment, making it the top priority in a string of power projects on Totem but one that hung in the air for several months.…

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April 14th

Naked in Public: Sauna Etiquette from the Swedes

Posted by // April 14, 2014 // COMMENT (5 Comments)

Cruising, Miscellany, ,

No, that's not a sign meaning old ladies can sit in the shower...that's a sauna! This is the public showers at the marina in Mariehamn, Åland.

No, that’s not a sign meaning old ladies can sit in the shower…that’s a sauna! This is the public showers at the marina in Mariehamn, Åland.

Disclaimer: there is lots of naked talk in this post! No lewd photos or harsh language, but we’re going to talk about being naked in public. Sound uncomfortable? Well, now you know how I felt the first time I went in the sauna with my wife and her best friend.

This piece has been a long time in the making, and it starts with a story from Finland. My first winter in Sweden was in 2007/08.…

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April 14th

Healthcare while cruising

Posted by // April 14, 2014 // COMMENT (11 Comments)

Cruising, ,

Christmas party
Laughter is good medicine, but we do rely on more than fun

Shuffling down the corridor of the hospital on Langkawi last week, I realized with a start that this marked the first time since leaving the US in 2008 we’ve sought out medical help for anything but routine or preventative care. I’m embarrassed to be going to the emergency room, but it’s a Friday- Jumu’ah- so the village clinic and local doctor are closed on this Muslim island. The blisters on my legs have reached a level of discomfort I don’t want to wait any longer to address, so I overcome the conditioning and we head for the hospital.…

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April 11th

Kaufmans return

OK, I lied. I’m doing one more post before taking off today. I just watched this press conference with members of the California Air National Guard team who rescued the Kaufman family off Rebel Heart and wanted to make a few points about the rumpus this has inspired.

We still don’t have a lot of answers to questions worth asking, but it is clear from this video that Rebel Heart need not necessarily have been abandoned and scuttled. Apparently nothing was wrong with the steering, she was taking on minimal water, and the rig was at least serviceable. What it came down to, from the skipper/father’s point of view, as one member in the rescue team states pretty explicitly in the video, was whether he was going to stay with the boat or with his sick child and family.…

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April 11th
Playing in the cockpit

Most of the time, the general public really has no view, or interest, in our very different way of living. The events on Rebel Heart have changed that temporarily, the center of a swirl of media attention. It’s given the uninformed,  hiding in the anonymity of the internet, the mistaken impression that their opinions are wanted or matter. Seeing the venom spewed at families who choose this life, it’s hard not to feel judged, and feel frustration that there’s so much misinformation!

It’s time to showcase the way cruising family life looks 99.9999999% of the time. Check out the #kidsonboats hashtag on Twitter, where people are sharing images of their kids, on boats, all over the world.…

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