Call Me Master

I passed my test! Once I get the details pulled together, I’ll be turning in my paperwork for my USCG Master’s License for power driven and auxiliary sail vessels under 50 tons and small towing vessels. I passed my physical and I’ll soon be tracked by the Feds through the TWIC program, that post-9/11 bit of bureaucratic “protection” that registers all transportation workers. I’m very, very excited to be a licensed boat Captain. And on the other hand, I have given up a lot of privacy for this. I’m being fingerprinted and background-checked. I’m giving in to the FCC and getting a Radio Operator’s license, which horrifies James, of course. And I’m going to be on the radar, when my preferred existence is shadowy and uninformative. Why is it worthwhile? Well, as much as we travel, I want to be as employable as possible in as many different ways as possible. As a captain, I can charter boats for small groups and take them sailing through the Aegean Islands or the Croatian Adriatic. I can run small passenger ferries and harbor cruise boats. Though I’m almost completely ignorant about fishing, I could drive fishing charters. Probably won’t do much of that until I learn more on the subject, but… Also, the government ID plus my regular passport…a Captain’s license and the proper radio licensing…these are tools I will use on all of the Immigration and Customs officials who question me about why I want into their countries. These things will make me just a bit more “official” – just a bit more trustworthy. Or at least, that’s what I hope. I don’t want any trouble with the guardians of foreign gates and I see this as a way to ensure openness. Last but not least, apropos of my last post,[…]

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Sailing While Female

Phyllis of Morgan’s Cloud wrote a blog post called “A Reluctant Voyager?”  Please go read it – I’m going to paste my comment below, because I said some things I’ve never addressed on this blog. Phyllis addresses the elements of the sailing lifestyle that she finds difficult.  I was struck by her admission that “Giving up everything familiar and taking on this challenging lifestyle had major ramifications: it affected my self-esteem, my sense of myself as an independent and competent person, and produced feelings of insecurity…” I didn’t really address that part directly in my comment, but I will say more about it below. I’d be interested in hearing about how these anxieties play out in real life. John addresses it to some degree in the first comment by saying that Phyllis handles herself and the boat when the chips are down, but how does it feel? I’m thinking about the articles I’ve enjoyed so much, written by John, about taming the wimp within. If John has anxieties and deals with them to perform the necessaries and Phyllis has anxieties and deals with them to perform the necessaries…how are those two situations different? Do they differ only internally or is it behavioral as well? I guess refusing to dock is an example of these anxieties playing out differently. In general, though, I think a lot of wives who take the first mate role are undervaluing their contributions. There’s a t-shirt a friend had. It said, “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels!” I know that you’re unlikely to wear heels on board, but how about cooking underway in a stuffy cabin while the captain enjoys the fresh air? My husband started sailing in his teens and, in his early twenties, was first mate on a[…]

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