Staying in touch while cruising

19 Mar

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. They have shaped indelible parts of our cruising experience from Mexico to across the Pacific. They’re both well settled back in North America now, but we can catch up as if it were only yesterday…old memories shared, new ones related, and our hearts filled to be reminded that ties in the cruising family run deep. People we haven’t seen in nearly two years, and nearly four years, respectively- yet they feel as familiar as if it were only yesterday.

Later, Niall and his boat kid friend Josh (who is with his family in Thailand) caught up over Skype again, working out when our respective cruising tracks would cross so they could catch up for more fun and games (literally, as the boys play epic multi-day strategy board games when they’re together).

Good connectivity is unusual for us, to be fair. Even with the growing ubiquity of mobile internet, being on the move makes access unpredictable, and every country is different. We’re parked in a single spot for while, and there’s a great signal from the anchorage- so I expect to make the most of it as the coming weeks unfold. Not without some cost, as data isn’t cheap here, but so worthwhile!

Using technology to stay in touch like this is a marvel. Our cruising mentors circumnavigated in pre-internet days. Much of the literature we were reading to prepare for our cruising life in the early 2000s was written without the filter of the internet. Staying in touch meant poste restante mail to hear news from home, and dodgy slow boats to send word back. This is just wildly different than what they had to experience.

Oh, there are times it is blissful to be disconnected: to let the simplicity of clear nights at sea to free our minds from any detail except to marvel that the North Star and the Southern Cross are concurrently visible on opposite sides of an inky sky. Or to spend an evening paddling between boats in our watery neighborhood, as the sunset turns high clouds into firey waves and tints the world pink.

The remote experience dominates our lives by comparison to the super connected one, and bears a gift: it brings a sweetness to the chances we do have to connect.

Connected readers know we love it when you stay in touch by reading this on the Sailfeed website.

This article was syndicated from S/V Totem - a family sailing the world


  1. Behan - s/v Totem

    * Melissa- the hamster is named Jiaozi, which is Chinese for dumpling. She’s about the same size as one. :-)
    * Seven Cs- we are counting on a Western Carib. reunion with you all!

  2. Seven Cs

    Staying in touch adds such an element of richness to an already rich life! We hope to see you again in the future if you visit the Western Caribbean :) Commerce bight is an interesting area.
    Miss you all!

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