Saturday, June 2, 2012


Welcome to the first month of Raft Up, a brilliant new forum for sailing cruisers to talk to each other and readers via our blogs, the brainchild of Dana on S/V Northfork.

This month's topic: Hobbies. On our assigned day, each of us will write about what hobbies we had on land, which ones we brought with us and which ones we've added. Tomorrow, we'll hear from Jane at MoreJoyEverywhere

One of the riches of cruising life is long, uninterrupted leisure time, free of the goal-oriented frenzy of land. Gentle hours are ours to fill as we please. (I don't remember ever saying that on land.)

Moving from land to sea has flipped my perspective on the meaning of 'work' and 'hobby.' For instance, when we were living a frenetic life on land, sailing was our 'hobby,' but I considered boat maintenance utter drudgery, something I dreaded. Now that sailing is our 'work,' I no longer consider boat maintenance drudgery. In fact, even I find this hard to believe: I enjoy it.

Boat chores used to be tacked on at the bitter end of an endless TO DO list after mowing the lawn, doing the laundry, washing the car and vacuuming the carpet. Now that the boat is our only property, that TO DO list is deliciously manageable, and the same boat chores that were drudgery on land have transformed (I know, it's me that changed). This is in part because my boat chores can be tackled when I feel motivated -- and it's a lot easier to get motivated in beautiful surroundings. Besides, this boat is my magic carpet. She delivers us safely to paradise. It's an honor to pay her back.

The boat environment certainly impacts hobby choices. I love pastel drawing but chalk dust onboard? No thanks. I enjoyed origami on land, but paper animals can't swim. Instead ....

(This isn't entirely bad posture. The boat is heeling.)
WRITING: We both brought some old 'hobbies' with us. I write words (blogs, articles, columns and books); Chip writes music ( singing, playing guitar and blues harmonica). Although since both of us have done these things professionally, we think of them as 'work' even though we enjoy them more with wide open time. As a bonus, our ever-changing environment is a sweet muse.

WRITING EQUIPMENT: We both have MacBook laptops and external hard drives for backup. Chip has his case of harmonicas (dozens of them) and a Little Martin guitar that has been perfect in a marine environment. It's compact, sounds great, keeps its tuning and apparently enjoys the elements. He uses Garage Band for recording.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Cruising delivers perpetual photogenic beauty that I yearn (but usually fail) to capture. Photography offers another dimension for telling my story -- on my blog and in my published work.

PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT: I have a Canon 40D that I use on shore and for anything that I might want to publish. I have only one lens, an EFS 18-55. If I ever sell a photo, the money will go toward a zoom lens.

Taken with Canon 40D
A Canon PowerShot D10 camera is our daily workhorse and is responsible for 90% of the photos on this blog. It takes high quality photos and videos both above and below water. Because it's waterproof, small and rugged (it can be dropped safely up to 6 feet -- I've tested this), we can keep it in the active cockpit in all conditions and tromping around in the dinghy where conditions are always raucous and watery.

Taken underwater with Canon PowerShot D10.
READING: Both of us spend hours reading, using our Kindle, iPad and Macbooks. We pick up and trade paperbacks (no power required!) at cruiser exchanges, which I've found to go far beyond the romance and spy novels I expected. My bad.

Chip's reading takes a much more intellectual bent than mine. He indulges his lifelong interests in world religions, music and politics, and philosophizes about them on his Facebook page called "Chip's Obsessed With Religion, Music and Politics."

I read literary fiction, the occasional intrigue novel, and real life adventure tales of the kind I aspire to write.

IS EXERCISE A HOBBY?: Cruising has gotten us moving in more ways than one. We now walk distances that would have had us calling a cab on land, often carrying laundry and groceries. We swim, snorkel, bike, and, of course, sail, which is more physically challenging than I anticipated.

Chip modeling his snorkeling equipment.
MOBILITY EQUIPMENT: This equipment takes up far more space than our other pursuits, but it's SO worth We have two folding bikes onboard, a Dahon and a Downtube, snorkels, flippers, wetsuits and weight belts.

ART: We took advantage of after-Christmas sales in Miami and snagged some as yet unused art supplies. Both of us plan to dabble in drawing and painting. We bought a compact kit, so the supplies (pencils, charcoals (dust, OH NO), pen and ink, etc.) don't take up much space and will offer us hours of amusement. I have two cruising friends who weave baskets (insert your own joke here), and I hope to learn how myself. The supplies for weaving are readily available -- and FREE.

Are you a cruiser? Tell me about your hobbies by clicking on that tiny 'comment' button just below this post.

Have a question about hobbies onboard? Ask me!

Please read what other Raft-Up bloggers have to say about hobbies.

who are these people? me | chip | cara mia | our very long timeline


  1. An AWESOME start to the raft up. This is gonna be fun!

    1. Thanks, Jane. Look forward to hearing from you tomorrow!

  2. Thanks for kicking things off. Great job!

  3. Now that's what I call setting a high bar for the blog hop! Nice post.

    1. That's funny, I was wishing I had some awesome hobbies to share, like beautiful watercolor paintings or shoes woven from palm fronds or SOMETHING! LOL