Cruising

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Hello Everyone! Thank you for following along on our adventure as we sail to new lands with our electric motor and synthetic standing rigging. We are venturing along using only the power of the wind to carry us across the great blue world that we live on!

Here's How to Avoid Excess Baggage on Your Future Travel Abroad

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If you’ve ever been on a plane, chances are that you’ve seen a few people opening up their bags and struggling to find a solution because they packed a little too much weight. You never want to end up in a situation where you'd be in their position and you have to find a way to clear out some stuff from your bag in order for it to get into the plane. This article will help you avoid being in such a tough and stressful situation, especially if you're already a little late.

Here Are 3 Ways You Can Avoid Excess Baggage When Traveling:

  1. Buy Certain Things At Your Destination

Whenever you're packing, you usually get this feeling to over-pack in case you'd need your extremely large shampoo bottle. Well, an important piece of information to remember is that other countries have these products too, some for an even cheaper price than the one you have. Buying things like toiletries and hair products in the place you're going to end up saving you a few kilograms in your bag, and those make a huge difference. If you're planning to stay for an extended period of time, then you'll need all the weight you can get to pack your clothes anyway.

  1. Weigh Your Bags Before You Leave

Getting all the way to check-in your bag before you travel is a really stressful situation when you don’t know what to expect when you get there. You cross your fingers and hope you're not overweight because you don’t know how much your bag weighs after you packed it. Here’s some news, there are multiple ways to weigh your suitcase while you're still at home. Having a handy little device to check the weight of your bag before you actually leave to the airport can save you so much trouble in the long run, especially if you travel frequently.

  1. Use a Light Suitcase

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If you still carry around an old, heavy suitcase that’s huge and can fit all your clothes when you travel, then you might want to invest in something that does the same thing but with a lot more ease. There are hundreds of new suitcases that have a sturdy exterior shell but are extremely light and easy to handle. The weight of your suitcase itself goes into account when you're at the airport, and the lighter the suitcase, the more you can pack. Any problems with weight always occur with just a few kilograms that could’ve been spared by having a light suitcase.

Try To Use As Many Tips & Tricks as Possible

Avoiding being overweight and having to either pay a fee to get your bag on board or having to unpack things from your big suitcase onto your carry on bag is the main priority here, but you also want to have the freedom to carry the things that you want to take with you too. Avoiding unnecessary weight by combining every single trick in the book will leave you with the utmost comfort when you're packing. You'll pretty much never have to worry about heading there and finding out that your bag is overweight, especially if you know for a fact that it isn’t.

The Costs of Cruising

When people wonder about the costs of going cruising, they often limit their thoughts to just the monetary costs of cruising. How much will it cost to…? Everything is focused on money, the cost of buying a boat, the cost of maintaining a boat, the cost of fuel, the cost of food, the cost of everything! Forget about the costs.

Everyday you live costs money! You don’t think about “can I afford to live the way that I do?” Instead you simply live based on how much money you have, and the same will happen when you are cruising. If you can afford it, you will do it, if you can’t afford it, you won’t do it. It’s that simple!

The real costs that are overlooked are the emotional costs. These really hit me recently and were rather expensive.

When we set off to go cruising, I said goodbye to the world that I knew. Never again would any of this be the same. When I returned from cruising, the world will be different and the place that I departed from will no longer exist. This might sound dramatic but it is the truth.

Friends that you had as neighbors will move away or die, so where you once lived will not be the same upon your return. Family will get older, cousins will grow up, and everything will change.

I thought this was a preposterous concept when I was leaving. Nothing ever changes in my world. I have had the same neighbors for 5 years, my friends live their lives of routine, and my parents are very resistant to change.

In the short time that we have been gone, our old neighbor sold their boat and moved from Maryland to South Carolina. Our other neighbor went cruising, returned from cruising, and is selling their boat to move onto land somewhere. My parents sold their boat that they used every weekend because they thought they wanted to upgrade to a larger boat, only to realize that they really loved their boat and selling it was a mistake. I now have a nephew who is able to walk around (he didn’t even exist when we set off to go cruising). The area around my parents town is almost double in size, with new stores, shopping centers, and streets that make the place look completely different. Lastly, but most importantly, Sammy is no longer around. My pet bird that was attached to me for the past decade is no longer waiting for me to come home. Being how birds are famous for living forever, I figured that I would just leave her in the good care of my parents (they also have pet birds, so they know what they are doing) and go cruising for a few years. I just reached the Portuguese coast and have the entire Mediterranean to sail, but I was already making plans to pick her up as soon as we made it into Floridian waters. Sammy loved boat life because I never had to go to work which meant she never had to be away from me. I knew she would have loved the Florida Keys with their warm weather and fresh fruits! All that is a pipe dream now.

People often said that we would just slip out of the world, cruise around, and then slip back into the world where we left off without anything being different. Nothing ever changes while you are here so nothing will change while you are not here.

I feel like I have returned to an alternate dimension. One that looks similar to where I left from but is just off enough to make me question the very validity of its location in space.

Cruising is a wonderful life experience, it will open your eyes to the whole world that is just beyond your comfort zone. You will be the outsider everywhere you go with stories to tell of your travels across the seas and of distant lands, but those distant lands will be your home when you make your return. When you set off cruising, be prepared to say goodbye to everything because you may never see it again.

Sammy

Sammy was so much more than a bird, she was a part of me.

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I have had Sammy since she hatched in 2006, and she was rarely in a cage. When I was in undergraduate, she would frequently sneak into class with me. In dental school, she would spend many a lecture hidden under my shirt.

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She lived inside my shirt and would remain there quietly without making a peep! This means that I could easily take her places where pets are not allowed. All I had to do was tell her to “go in my shirt” and she would dive down my collar! This worked out great because now she had a wonderful vantage point of the world around here without actually being exposed to any harm. Nothing could swoop down and steal her off my shoulder and a loud noise wouldn’t make her jump off of me. She was safe and content and spent most of her life right there.

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This worked out great while I was a student and still a dirt dweller. When I graduated in 2012 from dental school, I had big plans to live aboard a sailboat and sail the world! Obviously, Sammy was part of the plan. Sammy adapted well to boat life because she didn’t care where I was, as long as she was on me. She did have herself a small cage inside where she would eat and where she would ride out bad weather (I didn’t want her getting blown overboard).

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In all her years, the only time she fell in the water was when a kid jumped really hard on an aluminum section of the pier at a marina. Sammy was in my shoulder and about to go into my shirt when the loud bang scared her to flight (but she couldn’t fly) and she fell into the water right at the waters edge. I quickly scooped her up and all was well. In all her years, that was the only time she fell in the water; that is a pretty good track record!

Living aboard in a marina really isn’t all that different from living in a small apartment; the only difference is the view is much better! The big change came when Maddie and I decided to go cruising (oh yes, Sammy was around long before I met my wife). We set out and cruised down the Chesapeake Bay with our pets still aboard. When we got to the mouth of the bay, Sammy now 11 years old, went to live with my parents. Maddie and I decided that it would be safer for our pets (Morty and Sammy) if they lived with our parents instead of on an ocean going sailboat. My parents drove down to Deltaville, VA to pick up Sammy, beginning her life on shore once again.

Sammy enjoyed being at my parents house, and she got plenty of time out of her cage on their shoulders, but this phase of her life was short lived.

Sammy died on the June 8th, 2019. I was in the Azores at the time. I would fly home for a month at a time every few months and spend the majority of that time with Sammy who I missed so much. I had just flown back to the Azores to sail to mainland Portugal a few days before. We were getting the boat ready to sail to Portugal and return again in August to see Sammy again.

The voyage started off as a wonderful time with Sammy, who had always been a literal part of me. She was either on my shoulder or in my shirt for over a decade! Then we made the decision to leave them in the care and safety of my parents, but this was such a hard thing to do. I cried so much when my parents picked her up because I felt like if I was saying goodbye. Sammy always slept right next to me in her little bed, right by my bed. At night, the last thing I did before getting in bed was put her in hers; the first thing I did when I got up in the morning was get her out of her bed. To make the conscious decision to become separated from her was grueling!

I still remember coming home to visit the first time. Sammy was so excited to see me that she fell off her perch! As soon as I was home, the old routine was restored and she spent every moment attached to me. We visited as often as we could and for as long as we could, mainly because we missed our pets, but also to see our family.

I felt so sad when I left this last time because I wanted to spend more time with her. I told her that I was leaving again and that I would be back in about two months. As I arrived in the Azores, Wisdom was still on the hard and we were finished with our refit. We were splashing and setting sail to Portugal so that we could fly home for a family reunion in August. When my parents called, I was destroyed.

Suddenly, the dream of sailing across the ocean merely became a delivery to get me to the airport in Portugal so that I could fly home. A part of me had died and sadness poured into the necrotic hole in my soul.

Sammy loved strawberries. She would go berserk at the sight of the red fruit! She would always take a huge bite out of the fruit and mash it up with her beak, only eating a small portion of the original bite, then fling the red mash everywhere to clean her beak before the next bite. If you didn’t know, strawberry mash will stain everything it lands on, so I was always very cautious with how big of a bite she would take and promptly wipe her beak clean before she would shake her head with expert flinging motion.

Her love of strawberries didn’t just reach the fruit itself, she loved anything with strawberries in it! Strawberry ice cream, strawberry yogurt, even dried strawberries in cereal!

Since she loved strawberries so much, I decided to bury her in a planter with strawberry plants, wrapped up in one of my shirts. I might have not been there with her at the end, but she always loved being in the collar of my shirt, and while I wasn’t there with her at the end in person, this way a part of me will always be holding onto her forever. I figure that with time, a bit of her might end up in the strawberries, and that other birds might be able to take a bit of her with them. It really is a dumb idea, but it makes me feel better to think that she can still have her strawberries, even if it means her becoming strawberries!

And why the planter? Well, being how we live on a boat that is currently in Portugal, and being how I don’t want to leave her behind, I figured a planter was the best choice. Eventually, we will sail back into the Chesapeake Bay and our journey will come to an end. We plan to become dirt dwellers once more and have a home on land. If I were to bury Sammy somewhere in the Earth, that would be where she would remain. Somewhere far from where I am, and never somewhere I am going to be; so I decided to bury Sammy in a planter that way when we come back and settle down somewhere, Sammy can come along and be with me once again.

Fishing in the Open Ocean

Every fisherman dreams of deep sea fishing! The rush to get out past the continental shelf into the deep ocean water where pelagic fish swim. Catching giant meals like marlin, dorado, and wahoo!

We are way beyond where they dream of going, so we do take up the opportunity to catch something amazing.

We fished from Florida to Bermuda, and from Bermuda to the Azores, and hooked a whopping two small fish! Thanks to viewers on our YouTube channel, we were able to get the fish identified as Almoco Jacks. They were delicious, but provided nowhere near the satisfaction and meal capacity of a large game fish.

Obviously, we suck at fishing1 While in the Azores, I spoke with local fishermen and talked with other cruisers who have made successful catches while out at sea to figure out how I could do this better. 

When we left the Azores, we were equipped with new gear and new tactics, but so far, 700 miles later, we still have not hooked a single fish. 

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