At the risk of provoking the handwringers: When did it become such a necessity to be able to call someone from anywhere on the planet? Where did this idea come from that you must have the ability to call and tell everyone you're alright, or if not call for the helicopter to come zooming in over the horizon to rescue you if the weather gets too bad or the ice maker goes on the fritz. More to the point, why undertake a sea voyage if you can't bear to be off the leash?
If you have the money and don't mind spending a lot of time fixing or worrying about electronic gadgets, by all means, knock youself out. Pore over catalogs and debate the relative merits of this or that satelite phone or personal gps locator beacon but you would do well to bear in mind that you cannot buy safety at any price. If you want to be safe, remain securely tied to the dock at all times. Because a thousand miles from land, chances are if you really need it, help will not get there in time even if you can call. Furthermore, if you think you have a right to expect a taxpayer funded government agency to come bail you out of a situation you are not prepared to deal with you shouldn't be out there in the first place. i
Well said. I didn't mean to single you out, nor your families, who are probably used to this sort of thing. I get it a lot in terms of wanting to take our son out of school between Grades Three and Nine..."aren't you concerned he'll miss something?" Yes, the chance to be a useless, Nintendo-addicted mall rat. "Isn't it dangerous to take a child to sea?" Well, you're
the ones driving on the highway...I don't own a car!" "Aren't you worried he'll get lonely?" Well, not really. I think between cruiser nets, hooking up with other cruising families, and spending time hanging out with kids from a zillion other countries, he'll probably be better socialized than travelling in a local cohort of TV addicted, Ritalin-bound white kids of privilege. (Note: the biggest privilege is foregoing the chance to buy a bigger house/SUV/bank account and to go sailing with your parents for five years, who will be broke when you get back!).
Anyway, the "call home" thing comes from the same source: the idea that the normative mode of developed Western societies (even when relatively new) is not only the best
way to live, but the only
way to live, all others being somehow deficient. I hope that my wife and I, in the purely selfish pursuit of wanting to chuck careers and prosperity in mid-life in order to mess about in boats, are able to give our son the life skills that will serve him well in what I suspect will be a messy, less secure and more challenging future than our own youth: the qualities of self-reliance, stoicism, the derivation of pleasure from small things, a greater than average ability to fend for oneself, and a cosmopolitan outlook based on going to where wildly different people live, and hanging out with them.
Some would call this a hippy ethos, 30 years too late, but I can assure any readers that it comes from a pretty conservative place. There is much to admire about today's society...I'm no Luddite...but much that cannot pass uncriticized...and in some ways the driving force for us wanting the cruising life is to get our kid the hell out of North America during his formative years.