I am merging our voyage blog at wellfound.blogspot.com with this blog, so Jack Tar will now include my more personal updates about what it's like to sail down the West Coast in a 30' sloop as part of a two-person, low-budget, semi-DIY adventure. If you are curious where s/v White Cloud is, check wellfound.blogspot.com for SPOT satellite messenger updates.
Traveling under sail and blogging do NOT go hand in hand. Not when you are more of a purist than most "cruisers" these days, and have chosen to go without things like SSB, internet, Sat Phones, a functional cell phone, and then there's the rowing dinghy versus the more RIB... I LOVE the rowing/sailing dinghy, but when it comes to getting you, your phone and computer onto the beach without soaking everything, the RIB is a little more reliable. We don't have a RIB. Hell, I don't want a RIB. So I'm going to borrow Fisher's SealLine waterproof backpack from now on.
I learned a common saying years ago - when it comes to a boat - "If you love it, leave it at home."
I love to blog, I loved my new ability to update via cell, I love my handmedown PowerBook G4, I love my iPods (I have two - one for music and one that I record interviews, etc. with an iTalk Pro). My home IS the boat, so I brought all these things I love and they are all suffering terribly. One iPod is patiently awaiting his sauna-spa day (sitting in an oven to dry out and maybe be Born Again). The cell phone no longer has a working display, even though it's about three months old. The computer has become the most finicky of all devices aboard - selectively choosing to not log onto any available wifi, randomly locking the keypad, and often refusing to turn on at all. Add to this that my boyfriend does not share my love for blogging and computer/phone use, therefore getting annoyed at my constant desire to focus on these things, and you can easily see that accomplishing online tasks is an arduous process.
For those who don't know my current situation and are interested, I'll give a little history:
A love for travel and working in tourism eventually landed me jobs aboard passenger ferries and whale watching boats in the Puget Sound, after which I found tall ships. I then needed to make more money so I tried out tugboats and crewing sailboat charters in the BVI. Then I got my captain's license. I still enjoy working aboard tall ships every other year or so. Last year I drove a 250-pax ferry in downtown Seattle, and spent some time driving a little schooner nearby.
Currently I am sailing down the west coast with my boyfriend aboard his Yankee 30; a 36 year old fiberglass sloop designed by Olin Stephens (think old Swan, but smaller). We are motivated by Sterling Hayden's famous quote and choosing to be bankrupt of purse rather than bankrupt of life. OK wait I've always been that way... Fisher, on the other hand, used to make a lot of money. He saw how unimportant material things were after living in New York when the planes hit, then living in New Orleans (his hometown) when the hurricane hit. He hit the road on his motorcycle to think about it all and decided, after 15 years of not sailing, to buy a sailboat and sail to distant lands in the spirit of Moitessier, Slocum, Hayden and Gerbault.
When I say "in the spirit of..." I mean that ideally we would be expert sailors, know our celestial, and be complete minimalists. We have realized that since we do use GPS and radar quite heavily, we are none of these things, but compared to most "cruisers" these days, we are VERY different. While our cruising friends could never be called "bankrupt of life," they usually have many more comforts aboard than we do. And honestly, until I build up my small boat sailing chops I can only say that I aspire to be like those aforementioned heroes. To be even more honest, I have to ask myself how much I want to be disconnected from my projects and focus totally on sailing and living aboard. This may become more clear to me once my internet and computer time becomes less and less, and the weather becomes warmer - in the hidden coves along the Sea of Cortez.