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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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April 10th

Frozen

Posted by // April 10, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, ,

One of the much-vaunted benefits of travel is that it makes you open to new things.  It is supposed to be a growth experience.  Spending time with new people, living life in different ways, seeing the beautiful places of the world as well as the desperately sad ones – all of these things are supposed to make me into a wise old crone.  By the time I move home, I should be so full of the Wisdom of the Earth that people will run from my smug face at a hundred paces.  But today, I have learned a different lesson.  Hold on – let me adjust my flowing robes, put on a mysterious smile and gaze into the distance.  …

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April 8th
evening bonfire

What kind of irresponsible parent would take their children cruising? That seems to be the underlying message from many corners in the wake of the Kaufman family’s rescue in the Pacific from their boat, Rebel Heart.

It’s all too easy for me to remember the questions we had from people who didn’t understand our decision to go cruising as a family. They dove to the risks, and not to the benefits, and never considered that we had considered those risks already. This was a very deliberate choice driven by family values: not crazy hubris, not selfish interests.

Ridgetop view

Not that this stops the naysayers, who loved to let us know how we were ruining our children’s education.…

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April 7th

Eric Kaufman with children

Goodness gracious. Do I feel sorry for Eric and Charlotte Kaufman! Not only have they lost their home, Rebel Heart, the Hans Christian 36 they’ve been cruising on for two years, which they had to abandon yesterday when they boarded a U.S. Navy warship about 900 miles west of Mexico, and which the Navy subsequently scuttled and sank. Not only have they had to cope with the unthinkable stress of having their 1-year-old daughter, Lyra, come down with some mysterious illness in the middle of a long Pacific passage. But now they have a good chunk of the global population lambasting them online for getting into all this trouble in the first place.…

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April 7th

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There’s been an ongoing rescue of a one-year-old baby from the cruising boat Rebel Heart, which is about 900 miles west of Cabo San Lucas. They haven’t clarified what the illness is, but it’s been an elaborate rescue, complete with mid-air refuelings, medics dropped from air and landed aboard, extraction of the infant, and a happy ending.

The whole episode is tweeted on the California Air National Guard Twitter feed, with photos, links to relevant articles, and updates.…

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April 3rd

Wanted: Ride to 1985

Posted by // April 3, 2014 // COMMENT (3 Comments)

Cruising, Miscellany,

I received a package today that contained three mysterious items called “cassettes”.  As I understand it, these are audio recording units from the paleolithic.  I need a quick ride back to the mid-1980s to pick up a boom-box, Sony Walkman, or similar.  Anyone with a time machine who can help me out, please leave a note in the comments.  I can pay in hilarious tales of life aboard or in cupcakes – your choice.

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April 3rd

Rounding Cape Hatteras

Posted by // April 3, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, ,

It’s 0823 on Thursday morning. Sojourner is in position 35 09 N, 75 19 W. Plot that on the chart – it’s as close to Cape Hatteras as you’d ever want to be.

We made it here this morning, the outer edge of Diamond Shoals, a full three hours ahead of my most optimistic prediction of a day or so ago. That was based on six knots of boat speed, and assuming we’d be motoring to keep that, as the weather was calm and likewise the forecast. Shortly after my little math project to see if we’d have enough fuel, the SW breeze filled in and we’ve been sailing wing on wing ever since, the big genoa poled out to starboard and the main squared off to port.…

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