As we drove to Rochester a few weeks back, we interviewed each other to help pass the time. Below is the transcript of Jeff asking me questions about sailing and our plans to cruise. You can read the interview with Jeff here.
What are your biggest concerns about cruising?
First, having anxiety while making a passage. I know there will be a lot of aspects of making a passage that I will like, including the adventure, the serenity of being away from things, the ability to focus on reading and writing and the lack of distraction from the hustle and bustle of land life. I have some fears of feeling claustrophobic while being on a very tiny vessel in the middle of a great big ocean with no easy way out of the situation. But I am hoping that all the other things about making a passage will overpower this fear. I think that after making a couple shorter passages I will become comfortable with the idea and be capable of making ocean passages.
I also have some concerns about learning to sail. I am interested in this new adventure because I am eager to travel, but I have very little sailing experience. I am hoping that as I learn to sail it will become another part of the adventure that I wholly embrace. And of course, I always have concerns about being seasick. But it seems from reading cruisers book and blogs that seasickness passes with time and is one small negative aspect of sailing that many sailors face.
What are you most looking forward to about cruising?
Seeing new places and eating new foods, especially cheeses, rums, and sparkling wines. Again, because I am mostly looking forward to the traveling aspect of cruising, I am looking forward to engaging with people from other countries and other cruisers and becoming part of a network of people who seem really passionate about traveling and seeking new life experiences.
I am also looking forward to the challenges of this new lifestyle– the fun of provisioning and going shopping when we are in new ports, the very personal aspect of relying on each other for not only companionship but also for safety and adventure. I also can’t wait to test some of these ideas we have been discussing for maintaining our cruising kitty, including photography classes at port and on the boat.
What do you think are the most important things for you to do to prepare to go cruising?
Learn to sail. I want to take a sailing course by myself so that I can gain the confidence to sail without Jeff not only so that I learn the basics but also so that I might bring other ideas or knowledge to his sailing experience, so that we can perhaps think about solving problems or dealing weather or dealing with the systems in a variety of ways. I would also like to charter a few more boats so that I have a better idea of what type of boat is the best fit for us, so I can gain some more experience being on the water and dealing with seasickness. I would also like to purchase a sewing machine at least a year before I leave so that I have some time to practice with it and make some smaller projects before I have to tackle things like cushions and sail repairs.
What do you think you will miss most about the non-cruising life?
I think I will miss a few creature comforts, including my cat and our lovely fireplace. I imagine I will miss the ease with which I can contact friends and family now, especially considering that my father does not use a computer. But I know we will make new friends along the way who will share our enthusiasm and excitement for cruising and will have plenty of nights of drinking sundowners by a bonfire on a remote beach. And I might miss ice cream.
How often do you think you will be taking “serious” photographs and what do you plan to explore photographically while cruising?
When you say serious photographs I assume you mean photographs that I would consider part of my fine art portfolio. In this case I have plans to make a body of work about the water, investigating environmental issues, water safety/hazards, human waste and consumption. I also imagine photographing women sailors in keeping with my theme of photographing women in traditionally male roles. I will be interested to explore the ways in which women interact with their boats, the ocean, other sailors, customs officials, the ideas of mother/sailor, women’s roles in boats (i.e. pink v. blue chores), all the while exploring and reading about the history of women on the water, as well as looking at how women have inspired sailors (i.e. images of sirens and mermaids). And while I foresee working on these two bodies of work I imagine the water has other things in store for me as well.
What single port of call are you most looking forward to and why?
This is a hard question to answer because it changes everyday. In an abstract sense, I am looking forward to our first port that we have to check in to after making a passage. I think we will feel a great sense of accomplishment having arrived safe and sound on our new sailboat and in a sense it won’t matter where necessarily or what port it is. But if I could be, uh, dropping anchor in any port tomorrow I would like to be somewhere with good cheese, warm water, and lots of art, perhaps the Amalfi Coast or somewhere on the eastern coast of Spain.
When you stated talking about going cruising you had never went sailing, spent a night on a boat, nor been on the ocean. What are the things that made you comfortable with the idea of cruising?
I first got excited about cruising when I went sailing with Jeff on his Catalina 22 on Long Beach Island. I particularly enjoyed taking a few short night sails, gazing at the lights in the harbor, blending in with the stars in the sky, sitting in the cockpit with a few cocktails and a beautiful breeze. But I didn’t understand what living aboard a boat could be like because I had never been on a boat big enough for a kitchen and a head until we chartered a boat in southwest Florida. After spending a couple days on a 31 foot Island Packet I realized the peacefulness and serenity of being lulled to sleep by the waves and the carefree lifestyle that came with being on the boat. Our biggest concerns were where are we going to get more adult beverages and how are we going to fix what broke today. Both of those seemed like relatively fun adventures to tackle. I have also spent the last year reading many books about cruising couples and watching lots of Youtube videos of couples making passages that has both piqued my curiosity and interest in cruising and squelched some of my initial concerns with being a liveaboard. And the more we discuss what we want out of cruising, the more comfortable I feel with our decision to go.