Sailfeed
April 21st

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: how cruising kills your Stuff

Posted by // April 21, 2014 // COMMENT (4 Comments)

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 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

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
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 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 1st

Managing power on a cruising boat

Posted by // April 1, 2014 // COMMENT (9 Comments)

Boats and Gear, Cruising, Maintenance,

paddling home, racing the sun

Living off the grid, providing your own power, is a tremendous feeling. On Totem, it’s one of the compelling aspects of life afloat, hand in hand with a more simple life and a lighter carbon footprint. Relying on our solar panels and wind turbine to supply power needs instead of plugging in is liberating.

That good juice from the sun and the wind is stored in our house battery bank. Currently, that bank has 660 amps total from six 220aH 6v AGM batteries.  When we have steady trade winds, and sunny days, these meet our needs pretty well. For a long stretch, that’s been enough.…

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March 28th

Your most valuable cruising equipment

Posted by // March 28, 2014 // COMMENT (4 Comments)

Boats and Gear, Cruising,

Borneo squalls

Important pieces of cruising gear aren’t always obvious. A reader who hopes to go cruising emailed recently to ask:  ”When you look back at your years of sailing, what are some pieces of equipment that you brought with you that you never realized how important they would become (e.g. handheld VHF, specific spares, etc.)? ”

It’s a good question, because it’s easy to hemorrhage cash in the run up to taking off for cruising, trying to anticipate the things you might need and eyeing shiny toys in the chandlery. It’s impossible to know what’s essential because you haven’t gone cruising and don’t have a style yet.…

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March 19th

Staying in touch while cruising

Posted by // March 19, 2014 // COMMENT (3 Comments)

Cruising,

What a gift it is to be so far away, but so readily in touch with people we love.

Just today, we were able to Skype several times, to see and hear familiar faces and voices. Early in the morning we connected with my parents back in the USA, while they got ready for dinner. The girls could show their grandparents our new pet hamster through the camera on the ipad- it was better than a phone call! The bandwidth wasn’t good enough to hold a connection with two-way video feed, so we took turns.

At midday, we Skyped with friends we love: two different boat families, formerly of MV Oso Blanco and SV Mulan.…

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March 17th

Making instead of buying: fizzy drinks

Posted by // March 17, 2014 // COMMENT (4 Comments)

Cruising, ,

Making our own lotion lends itself nicely to cruiser self-sufficiency, but is mostly born from my skepticism about common ingredients in commercial products.

Fizzy drinks are a little different. I like a nice sharp Reed’s Ginger Beer, but I haven’t seen one in a store shelf since we left the US. Making our own has helped fill the occasional craving.

Brewing our own kombucha satisfies both self sufficiency and personal health. This fermented tea hasn’t been on the shelf anywhere during our travels except in the US and Australia. I’m not a fan of sweet carbonated drinks, and it’s just the right amount of a little fizzy, a little sweet, but not too much of either- the perfect refreshing drink or something to settle a queasy stomach.…

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March 14th

Facing fears about raising kids on a sailboat

Posted by // March 14, 2014 // COMMENT (7 Comments)

Cruising,

Kid crew at Admiral Marina

I was not programmed to be different. If anything, my life until we left to go cruising was a careful series of practical steps designed to fulfill the American Dream. Why would we choose such a different life for our growing family?

I know that the way our children spend their days, or the way that they learn, is wildly different from the norm. This is risky, right?

Will our children be socialized? Will they get into college? Will they be able to relate to their peers? WILL THEY HATE US LATER?

I’m honored to have a guest post on KludgyMom, talking straight from the heart and venting a little about the fears I’ve faced to become an unconventional family- click here to read more on Raising Kids Dangerously.…

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