As promised, here is our Q&A post answering all the questions burning in the minds of our friends and family. This can become an annual or quarterly post if you like. Just let us know what you want to know, we will keep a list and answer your questions every now and then.
Q: What has been your favorite place, so far?
A: Everywhere has been filled with once in a lifetime experiences, friendly people and gorgeous nature. It is hard to pick just one place. If we were were to try, it would probably be as follows:
Best wildlife: Galapagos
Best beach food: Mexico or Galapagos.
Best scuba diving: Tonga, Niue, Fakarava
Best people: Manihi. Hands down. I feel like we have family there.
Best food: Mexico
Best hamburger: Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Best anchorages: Moorea, Tahuata, Tonga
Best for chartering a sailboat: Tonga or Raitaeah/Tahaa/Bora Bora
Best hike: Maupiti
Best manta rays: Maupiti
Best fat and friendly eel named Princess: Bora Bora
Best French Pastries: Huahine
Most unspoiled by tourism: The Marquesas
Best beer: In the islands they each serve one Lager. And that is your only choice. So, this question is better asked: What is the best Lager? Pilsner in Ecuador.
Q: Where are you going next?
A: The plan is currently as follows: New Zealand (by land travel) until April, Tonga to pick up Sonrisa, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Paupa New Guinea (maybe), Darwin, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand by December of 2017. Just remember, sailors’s plans are written in sand and ever contingent upon the weather, government stability, and our mood. Read on to see how this turns out.
Q: What about Australia?
A: Australia is a huge country and we decided we couldn’t do it justice sailing with all the other places we are trying to make it to this year as well. So, we will find a way to fit it in at some other point in our lives via some version of airplane/land travel.
Q: Aren’t there Pirates in Indonesia? Are you afraid of Pirates? What do you plan to do about Pirates?
A: There are a few reported in/near Indonesia, but so far, there are very few interactions between pirates and pleasure sailing vessels. They are mostly a problem for commercial vessels. We are keeping a close eye on piracy maps and reports, and if the problem increases in Indonesia, we may divert our course to a different route. We are not going anywhere near the Philippines where it is a much bigger problem, and we plan to sail southward around South Africa rather than through the red sea that would take us next to Somolia - where Piracy has been problematic even for pleasure sailors for the last ten years. When you get down to it, though, “Pirates” are not that much different than a carjacker, thief, the guy who breaks into your house. There are bad guys everywhere. You deal with “pirates” everyday, too.
The difference for us is the remote nature of our location. We plan to work with a group called Sail Indonesia that helps sailors with the check in-out process for the different locations in Indonesia. They, too, keep a eye on the status of piracy and help sailors route away from areas that start to have too many problems. Sailors often get into a circuit where we are on the same schedule and sail along with each other. This can be helpful, as a lonely boat anchored somewhere remote can seem like easy pickings. But, then again, Andrew and I don’t want to “buddy boat” too much as we want to maintain clear heads and make our own independent decisions. Group think can create problems of its own.
We will stay aware of what is around us. Sailors talk about getting a “feeling” about a location, hackles get raised, your spidey sense goes crazy. We will trust the sense we get about a place and move on if it isn’t quite right. We lock up Sonrisa when we are ashore and at night. We have a car alarm hooked up that makes a god awful noise if the trip wire is tripped. If someone boards Sonrisa and asks for technology or equipment, we will just give it to them. We aren’t going to fight.
It hasn’t been a problem at all, yet. So, in a certain sense this is all theoretical. We hope it continues to be no problem at all.
Q: Have you hit any heavy weather?
A: Not really. The worst we have seen so far is 9-12 foot waves and 35 knots of wind. nothing unmanageable yet, thank goodness.
Q: Are you afraid of heavy weather?
A: We enjoy a healthy fear of heavy weather.
Q: What do you plan to do about heavy weather?
A: See prior post at www.oddgodfrey.com/oddlog/darkandstormies
Q: Any close calls?
A: If you read this blog, you know I have screamed, chanted or whisper-hissed “Don’t Die, Don’t Die” or “I don’t want to die today” or “Death comes from the right!” at least once per week. So, take that as you well. But really, we have not had any close calls that rise above the level of risk we all take driving or participating in sports like mountain biking, sailing or a competitive game of chess at home.
Q: What is something that surprised you?
Internet is not easy, fast or cheap. I'm not as brave and fearless as I hoped. The local people out and about are by and large more friendly and welcoming than I expected them to be. We love scuba diving even more than we thought we would.
Q: What about kids? Are you going to have kids on the boat? Are you ever going to have kids? Do you realize you are 35 years old and might not be able to have kids?
A: This is a tricky question to ask a person, and a difficult question to answer for some. The decision to bear children is one of the most fundamental life decisions we as humans ever have to make, and so many factors play a part: health, capability, desire, timing, interest. It’s a question that deserves a much deeper discussion than anything I can write in a question/answer format. So, I will try to prepare a post on this topic down the road. Sorry to put off one of those questions I know is burning away at you.
Q: Do you miss work?
A: I miss my friends/people at work, I sometimes miss the day to day predictability of work, I miss cardigans, pencil skirts and the perfect jewelry pairing. I do not miss having to report to somewhere specific day after day at a specific time while mountain bike trails, oceans and islands are left unexplored. I don’t miss 12+ hour days away from my travel buddy. I don’t miss the mental challenge of work because this lifestyle has challenges and learning opportunities around every corner. That being said, I dabble here and there in all sorts of projects, so sometimes I cheat and I “work” a little bit.
Q: Do you ever get bored?
A: No, I have a longer post about this already drummed up. I will post it sometime soon.
Q: Do you miss Sonrisa (over Cyclone season)?
A: YES! She is home, and a good friend. So, this Cyclone season is like being away from home for six months. I miss my bed, my kitchen, my backyard patio, and her stellar personality. I worry about her safety. February is the month where cyclones are most common, so my anxiety is starting to peak. So far, she has been safe and sound.
There you go! If I have missed anything, please feel free to email (or post in comments) all your questions!