Saturday, June 9, 2012

Raft-UP Hobbies

Wow we've had a really great first month. Thanks to all the writers who have participated this month. At the bottom of this post you too can link up any posts you've written about hobbies on your own boat. If you are interested in writing a post for the hop next month or have a topic you'd be interested in having us write about fill out the form on the Raft-UP page. And now onto the hobbies on Northfork...

Sailing was never a hobby for Mark and I. We didn't even own a sailboat before this one and our sailing experience was limited. For us there was no transition from weekend boater to live-aboard cruiser. For me the boat is work. Everything about it is work. Cleaning, organizing, preparing to sail, fixing. The to-do list on a boat is never ending and that is that. Everything is harder, takes longer, and is generally a bigger pain to deal with than if we lived in a house. The boat is full-time work and the rest of the time we play. Someone who knew nothing about this blog-hop or that I was writing about hobbies this week actually said to me just a few days ago "Cruising is not a hobby, it's a lifestyle." I couldn't agree more.

When Mark and I decided to move onto the boat I had only one condition. I would leave all my books and momentos behind, stop dancing (I do have my tap shoes on board but they haven't gotten any use), quit soccer, softball, and football but my craft/sewing supplies had to come. That's right I brought all my scrapbooking, cross-stitching, knitting, quilting... supplies along, you name it I brought it. To live on a boat you have to leave part of yourself on land. It can't all come with you. I was willing to leave some of me behind just not the part that came with ten tons of craft crap.

At first I had everything nice and organized in the cabinets in the front of the boat but slowly things have gotten jammed into fewer and fewer cabinets as Mark's spare parts have expanded and my once neat set of crafting supplies is now a jumbled mess. On the boat it's so hard to do any of these hobbies. When I would work on projects at home (on land) I would pull them out, lay them across the floor (sometimes table, but mostly the floor) and stare at them. That's right, sometimes for days. I'd just move pieces around here and there until I was happy. On the boat I can't do this. Stuff has to be taken out in an orderly fashion, used, and then put away - causing me to spend more time setting up and cleaning up than actually doing any of the activities I love and therefore I rarely do them. We've been carrying around four, count them four, boxes of paper since we left the states and I have scrapbooked exactly once. Even I have to admit that it may be time for the stuff to go but now I have a baby and keep thinking that I might want to use some of those supplies for other things and for me there is something comforting about having these "things" in my life. Just having them makes the boat feel a little more like a home to me. So until the day comes that I actually have a craft room on land again I'll keep moving the stuff around trying to make it fit better. I guess you could say that reorganizing my old hobbies is my new hobby.

I have managed to work out how to quilt on the boat. It still isn't easy. I have my one small table that I have to cut, iron, and sew on and anyone who quilts knows that you rotate between the three so I am constantly pushing one step aside to work on the next and then moving everything back but somehow I've managed to make it work. But quilting takes up more space than any of the other crafts because I need a lot of fabric for one project and since I never really know what I'm doing I like to have a stash of fabrics to work with. I now have a few large buckets of fabric in our forward birth because putting it all into cabinets just seems silly.

Mark and I have a gazillion games on board but we play exactly one. I brought a bunch with us when we moved on the boat (including dominos which I love but Mark hates - so if anyone one wants to play let me know) and my mom bought us all kinds of travel games as an engagement gift but we play Backgammon. We play almost every night. Are we good? Probably not since we never play with anyone else we can however pretty much predict the move the other person is going to make since we've played so many games together. Backgammon has helped us through some rough places. Can anyone say Shelter Bay Marina in Panama...yeah, not a lot going on there. If you stop through and Robert is still waiting tables he'll probably remember us because of the backgammon set. Actually one of three backgammon sets. Yes, we are a boat of redundancy. We have two autopilots, back-up GPS and lots of spares so it only makes sense that we have back-ups (yes, plural) for our favorite game - One full size, one travel size, and one mini-magnet board that we've actually only used twice but I keep saying I'm going to put it in the diaper bag. Oh, I take it back there is one other game we added last year to the boat but it's an outdoor thing. For Christmas I got Mark a Bocci Ball set and we have a really good time doing that. It's a nice boat game because it is small and easy to transport, there is no set-up, and there is almost always a sand or grass patch no matter where the boat is. Plus we can play with just us or a whole slew of people.

Mark of course still programs. He says it's work but I say it's fun. True he has to do the work he has to do but no one told he he had to start the huge undertaking of writing a new iPad Navigation app - that he did because he wanted to and because he thought a nav app from a cruiser was just what the Dr. ordered. We watch a lot of movies, especially on passage. It's about the only thing I can do when I'm seasick (and sometimes I can't do that). I love to read but I never feel like there is enough time to read everything I think I should and I really don't get much done at all. We bought a guitar to learn. It's shoved in the back on my closet. Mark got a few lessons on it when I was home last year and hopefully we'll pull it out in the next few weeks when we really start cruising again but as for now it sits unused. I also got Rosetta Stone French last year and have worked my way through about a third of it. If you plan to do this route learn French. There are a lot more French speaking places than you probably realize. Of course now we won't be coming across another one for awhile but hopefully I'll have something to say when we get there.

Mark is the big water sports guy. I am not. He swims, scubas, and spearfishes. I stay on the boat and quilt. The water has just never been my thing. I'm a land lover. I know funny for someone that lives on a boat.

Off the boat we love to hike but I'm not sure how that is going to go with the baby on board. We have all our camping gear on the boat since we did a ton of back-packing in New Zealand last year and hopefully that won't be last of it. Of course site-seeing is a must, why else would we be traveling if we didn't want to do that. I like to take a ton of pictures of everything we see. It drives Mark nuts but it really does take a lot of bad shots to get one truly good one. I have my SLR with one additional lens and a waterproof camera onboard. I'd like to get a few more lenses but I don't really want to carry them. The old catch22. Up until about two months ago when we went to the museum in Canberra, Australia I was a big museum person but I think I'm museumed out for awhile unless there is a truly unique one I think I'll be steering clear.

I'm sure as Mini-Mark gets older our hobbies will start to change a lot as he begins to develop his own interests. We have already started to enjoy finding playgrounds and reading stories, playing games, and I think that I will enjoy homeschooling if and when that does happen.

The fact is that while most people think that sailing the world means long relaxing days lazing about enjoying the sun, cruising is actually a lot of work. We spend most of our days doing boat projects in some form or fashion and still treasure our lesure time just as we did on land. I wish I could just spend days quilting and scrapbooking but dinner has to be made, dishes and laundry need to be done, the floors scrubbed and very quickly the days pass. We enjoy as much of them as we can trying to see and learn about all the places we visit.

If you've written about the hobbies you keep on board link-up your post so others can enjoy learning more about the cruising lifestyle.

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