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Old 02-10-2010
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Staying in touch with family?

My wife and I are getting close to the "jump off". We "gunkhole" the NE coast and with my Queen's retirement close are having a great time planing the next phase of this wonderful escape. Between us there are 5 siblings and 7 adult children with growing families of their own. Our lives include a calendar that has gotten quite full of family visits. We try to "engineer" only one wedding a year. Ha! Births are another story! Skype has made watching grandchildren grow possible, between visits. The connections we enjoy today are remarkable. We are trying to anticipate the coming changes in that part of our lives and make them as comfortable as possible. This must be a hurdle for many cruisers. We welcome your comments about how it is done well. The Queen assures me that she is prepared to budget for it.


Last edited by downeast450; 02-10-2010 at 06:25 AM. Reason: text error
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Old 02-10-2010
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I think it would probably help to put limits up front, like you are doing. Maybe tell the extended family, hey, if anyone on this list of 10 people dies while we are gone, we're going to fly home for their funeral, but if anyone else does, don't take it the wrong way, but we're not going to be able to make it. I think if people know up front what to expect it would probably be a lot easier for them, that way there aren't hurt feelings when you don't show up at every family event that people want you at.
What are you pretending not to know ?

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Old 02-10-2010
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The simplest and most cost-effective way to keep in touch with family from a cruising sailboat is to get a decent WiFi setup and use your laptop with Skype or some other VOIP software package and e-mail. I've written about setting up a decent WiFi setup on sailboats here.

As long as you're cruising in relatively civilized areas, WiFi availability will be fairly decent. If you're really heading off the beaten path and going in to the deep south Pacific and such... then you'd want to have a satellite or SSB based setup. Satellite would be more versatile, as you could make voice calls as well as check e-mail and surf the web in a limited fashion, but is fairly expensive—as both voice and data are billed by usage, in addition to a monthly fee. SSB would allow you to check e-mail and speak by voice, but not make phone calls. While it is free, it is also far more susceptible to interference from solar, weather and other sources.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 02-10-2010
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I don't know that my post will be of value for a couple making a transition to a life aboard and cruising, but we are among those that are starting a fourth generation of adapting to cruising. My parents were fulltime RV land cruisers and my wife and I have lived aboard sailboats since 1972. Our children are exploring land ashore and we have a grandchild. Even though we don't own anything ashore, we do sometimes rent a car. Our children are on the Easrt US Coast so we do pass their neighborhoods twice a year. We have flown out to Colorado for a couple of family weddings. Sure, we would have less contact if we were sailing in the Indian Ocean, but we haven't changed our cruising plans to do as well as we are now. Our contacts are no less than anyone else that is living within a few thousand miles of the span of their family. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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