Friday, 18 September 2020

Hobbies Afloat – Because cruising is not about sailing every day.

 A blog by Karen.

 

As full time, liveaboard cruisers we spend a lot more time with the anchor down than actually sailing so what do we do when we aren’t underway? Obviously we love exploring the places we visit. That includes ashore plus on and under the water around us but we also spend plenty of time stationary on the boat. This can be when the weather is not so nice but also at times we simply want to chill. That’s where our hobbies come in.

When cruising we spend far more time at anchor than sailing 

Hobbies are an important part of anyone’s life no matter how old you are, but they can become especially important when you have a change in your life circumstances. Retirement is an obvious one but undertaking a sailing/cruising lifestyle is really another of those times when you might need to look at what hobbies you can take onboard with you. If you were someone who played golf twice a week that’s going to come to an end and you may need to find something else to fill that void and offer you the range of mental and physical health benefits that you are accustomed to. A cruising life looks very idealistic to those on the shoreline looking out. Indeed it is a very active lifestyle that keeps us fit and mentally stimulated, but in truth there are also many hours that are be spent idle even while underway if off watch.

Hobbies take us away from our everyday activities and give us a chance to exercise our minds and or bodies. They can also bring us pleasure and enrich our lives.  We are very fortunate the many different options out there today are almost limitless. Physical activities have clear benefits because not only can be enjoyable but are also a healthy option increasing both your heart rate and brain function. We get this type of activity whilst sailing, but as cruisers the rule of thumb is that we sail 1 day and anchor for ten, so what do we do on those ten to keep ourselves stimulated.

The best way to cultivate a new hobby is to try something new. Of course, all of us are unique and, therefore, our interests and hobbies vary. But once we find a hobby that we truly enjoy and are passionate about, we become hooked. It becomes part of our lives and captivates us in a very personal way. It makes you more interesting. People who have hobbies have experiences and stories that they can share with others.

It helps to relieve stress by keeping you engaged in something you enjoy while limiting boredom. They also give you an activity that you can look forward to and get excited about. It enriches your life and gives you a different perspective on things. No matter what type of hobby you choose, you will definitely be exposed to new ideas that challenge you.

I have had numerous hobbies and interests, but I currently have six that I am passionate about. They have changed my life in a positive way and provided me with a lot of joy, stimulation and challenges.


Reading

I love reading books, especially fiction ones. I currently read about 20 books per year. At present I am reading a series of books by an author I found by accident, picking up one of his novels in a marina laundry (the book swap for cruisers) Tony Park writes about Africa. He has a group of characters that weave their way in and out of the series. I tend to read one Author until I have exhausted their repertoire. Books are a wonderful way to transport me to a different place and era. I love the feel of paper in my hands and haunt book exchanges whenever we pull into a town. But if you wish to go new age, you can always join the public library and download ebooks for free!

Relaxation personified.

There's never a shortage of something to read on Our Dreamtime


Cooking

One of my all time favourite hobbies is cooking. To live comfortably on the boat we really need to prepare all our own food and I mean all Bread, yoghurt, cereals, cakes, biscuits come out of the galley because there’s no convenience store on the corner in an anchorage. Cooking has taught me so much about patience and focus because those 2 are essential ingredients to make delicious food. The more I cook, the better I get at it. Of course, I have also had food that did not turn out so well, but I learn from my mistakes and improve each time. I cook food that is healthy and that we enjoy eating. I especially enjoy cooking the fresh seafood we catch onboard. The best thing is, when we do go to a restaurant it is for a special occasion not just because we were too lazy to cook.

 There is a very good Facebook group for foodies afloat you could also have a look at - Cooking on a Boat

Our Galley is now a regular feature in our YouTube

Boat made Halloumi is easy to make and you can make it on powdered milk 


Photography

Photography is a hobby that offers so many possibilities for creative expression, technical expertise, and sheer variety of ways to capture an image. Pursuing photography as a hobby can be very fulfilling, inspiring, and relaxing. Age is not a barrier to learning a new hobby and you can start with the camera on your phone if that's what you have available. It wakes you up to your surroundings from the humble butterfly to the great expanse of a mountain range. It is you who see the beauty and you who captures it. Photography has been a life long passion of Rob’s that I have more recently embraced myself. When I capture images I am also documenting our sailing life which I want to leave a record of for our future generations to hopefully enjoy.

 

Cruising provides so many fantastic photographic opportunities.

There are always things to point a camera at.

And of course the Great Barrier Reef is home to some awesome photographic models

You don't need a mega-expensive camera to enjoy photography


Writing

There is no special secret technique to writing. No system that you must follow. No "right way". The best ways to learn about writing as a hobby is to start writing about the things you love. There is NOTHING wrong with writing just because you love it! Writing as a hobby has plenty of benefits, whether you want to take things a step further looking at getting published at some point or not. Regardless, always remember to enjoy writing those words. Rob started writing the blog as a record of our travels, so in later years we had a reference to all the amazing places we were fortunate enough to sail to and experiences we had. I then joined in contributing blogs on particular subjects that interest me and found I really enjoy the process. As the blog went on over time, we found not only were friends and family reading it but complete strangers from all over the world that became interested in our sailing life. This is a great reward as writers to have people enjoy your tale. But essentially you should write for your personal enjoyment. Rob published a great book titled "Stuff it. Let's go sailing anyway" about our transition to the cruising life and passage from Australia through Indonesia to Malaysia and Thailand while I have been able to combine writing with my passion for cooking and produce a number of sailing related cooking and provisioning ebooks and, more recently, print books. Our Galley Blog

 

I do have to admit proof reading is not my favorite part of the writing process.



Combining hobbies is great fun


Rob has combined his photography & writing in a number of Cruising Helmsman magazine articles

Fishing

Fishing can be divided into a few different classification, professional to earn a living, competition as a sport, leisure as a hobby and subsistence to feed the family.  Our fishing falls into the later two categories. While the meals it provides are very important in stretching our budget and length of time we can last been provisioning trips ashore, it is also very much a leisure hobby for us both. Successful fishing does require a level of skill and dedication. We marvel sometimes at the lengths we see some fishing addicts go to pursuing their catch in all sorts of uncomfortable weather but that’s not our thing.  We always troll a line or two while underway and I enjoy throwing a line in the water at anchor just to pass the time of day. In essence that is exactly what a hobby is. Something that you enjoy doing, that keeps you busy, that teaches you new skills and has a benefit in doing it. There is always excitement when the reel ratchet sings and a fish is being hauled onboard. The best part about fishing is if I am successful, I get to spend time on my hobby by cooking the catch.

Landing a good fish is always a great feeling.

It's not just fun. Fishing does certainly boost our diet on Our Dreamtime

Mud crab is one of our absolute favorites.

Walking

If you just list the word 'Walking' as a hobby, you may appear a bit odd or obsessed with exercise. But if I say my hobby is to walk national park trails, or take long beach walks at beautiful, unspoilt places, it might be looked at differently ... I love walking, especially taking random walks with no destination in mind, this is very true when I am in a new place. In a new country it becomes as much a part of learning about and absorbing the culture as the views and exercise. I really don’t care where I walk. I just love taking in the atmosphere of the time and place I’m in and randomly finding treasures along the way. I love walking in natural surroundings particularly national park trails in the many locations we visit. Early morning walks along a beach are a real favourite. I can also combine other hobbies with walking by taking my camera and, if organised, I can cook up a picnic lunch and enjoy a whole day of activities.

 

Rob & I at the top of Brampton Island's great National Park trail.

There's always plenty of information about walks in the Barrier Reef Islands available online

Deserted beach walks are hard to beat


I not only get great enjoyment from each of these six current hobbies but my mind is stimulated, I learn new skills, I am introduced to different cultures, I gain fitness through exercise and I relax whilst pursuing these activities. And the best part, I meet new and interesting people along the way.

So what other hobbies could you do whilst floating around the seven seas?

Why not yoga, in the peaceful surrounds on the boat surely yoga is a perfect match. A sailing buddy Leanne has turned her hobby into a business. She conducts yoga classes wherever they happen to be, or you can catch her classes on YouTube. So if you have been thinking of taking up yoga here is a way even if you are remote from everyone else you can still get to classes. Check it out HERE

Many cruisers take up playing an instrument. Now this could be a deal breaker with other crew onboard. Imagine if the bagpipes were your choice to learn from scratch. You might not be welcome in anchorages let alone on the boat. However learning an instrument may be a shared interest onboard and this can be an excellent way of meeting other cruisers with the same interest.  You’ll find many a sundowners jam session on the beach as you cruise.

Making home movies, well not quite like the ones Grandma and Pop made of their Hawaii Cruise in the 60’s. Home movies can now be made with your phone, edited on your phone, and posted to all sorts of social media platforms. Many young sailors have taken to YouTube to show off their sailing lifestyle. If you can believe the YouTube sailing channels we are all beautiful bikini clad in our early 30’s and we never have a windy, rainy day. Increasingly though you will find ‘reality TV’ where not everything goes to plan, showing the good the bad and the ugly. Like writing as a hobby it too can become an income earner, but to be realistic most are still doing this as a hobby. Rob is now loving the time spent editing up our Vlogs. They are for him challenging, relaxing, infuriating and rewarding but mostly a hobby that he has become passionate about. 

How about Crafts? There are quite a few crafts that can be achieved onboard such as hand quilting, scrapbooking, wood burning, sewing, home brew. And what about a couple of traditional boat crafts. Whittling is best described as the simplest, most primitive form of woodcarvings. Occasionally the terms "whittling" and "carving" are used interchangeably, but they are different arts. Carving employs the use of chisels, gouges, with or without a mallet, while whittling involves only the use of a knife. Carving frequently involves powered equipment such as lathes. Whittling is then the most common form of carving available to those on a boat. You can get great inspiration from the Facebook group Sewing on a Boat

There is certainly many forms of painting on a boat and many of them you really don’t want as a hobby, let’s leave them in the “boat jobs” column. But, painting like other art forms, can evoke emotions, make people think and even instil a sense of pride. Artists record history or tell a story and sometimes both. This is an ideal hobby for on a boat. No need for lots of big equipment a small box of paints, bushes and paper will have you recording the beautiful scenery that you visit each and every day. There are plenty of online workshops you can take part in and you will be surprised how quickly you can learn simple techniques to capture the likeness of what you are seeing. I have a few video classes available on Vimeo HERE

There's also a Facebook Group for people who enjoy this hobby - Art on Boats

There are certainly plenty of creative, relaxing, challenging hobbies available it’s just up to you to find one.  Let us know in the comments below what your favourite hobbies are and why.

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