Little Cunning Plan was recently nominated for the Liebster Award for bloggers by bloggers. Will this make us rich and famous? Probably not. Does this mean that ‘we’ve arrived’? Well, I don’t know but it kind of feels that way. It is a very nice way to be recognized for our efforts and to connect with other bloggers and we’d like to give a shout out to Mark and Cindy aboard S/V Creampuff for nominating us. Thanks, you guys on the beautiful Amel sailboat!
Cindy has described this as a kind of chain letter, like we used to send back in the day. I refuse to say how long ago that ‘day’ was but the idea is sound. Bloggers nominate other bloggers whose work they enjoy, then give them a list of questions to answer. Then nominated bloggers get to tag other bloggers and so it goes. In the end we will have woven a huge network of bloggers who know each other, at least in virtual space. It makes for a long post, but still, pretty cool!
So here are the questions they asked of us and our answers.
1. Meet the crew. Who are you? Each share something about the other (not on the blog).
Melissa: Ooohhh. We have to talk about each other on the blog! Mike is the smartest man I know and that makes him dead sexy. He has an unlimited amount of space in his brain for information that lies dormant until the day it is needed when it pops seemingly out of nowhere. I have been in awe of that for 33 years. Sometimes I am amazed that Mike is a sailor. He is from land bound Tennessee and had never been on a sailboat in his life until 11 years ago.
Michael: Geez. No pressure, Boyte. This is probably obvious to Little Cunning Plan regulars but Melissa has an emotional awareness that can be a little intimidating to most people (including me) and it is what makes our blog so readable. I guess being a therapist for 25 years will do that.
2. What advice would you give to a wannabe traveler just starting out?
Melissa: Don’t look at the big picture too much. Just look at ‘today’ and the future will take care of itself in terms of your learning. Sure, there needs to be some kind of cunning plan, but if you think about all the things you have to learn and do to make it happen, it will be overwhelming. It always helps me to remember that we are not the first people or the last people to travel by sailboat. If other people can do it, so can we. And so can you.
Michael: Momento Mori. Most of us struggle with beginning anything approaching epic because it feels like life is constantly getting in the way. But remember, you don’t have a lot of time on this earth. None of us do. Worrying about how to meet the expectations of a culture that values stuff over experience is for chumps. Disentangling yourself from those expectations is hard but the rewards are immeasurable.
And also, Goethe: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
3. Can you roll your tongue or wiggle the end?
Melissa: I can do both.
Michael: I can hold my tongue; usually.
4. What is your favorite restaurant in the whole world?
Melissa: Oh my God, such an unfair question! My first thought is the little taco stand at the beach in La Paz. I love fish tacos. That was the best one I’ve ever had. But maybe it was the view or the sunshine. No, I’m pretty sure that was literally the best fish taco ever.
Michael: My current favorite is the Spice King in Renton, Washington. Right between the Asian Market and the eyebrow threading salon. Great Indian food.
5. If you sail as a couple, who is really, and I mean really, the captain?
Melissa: Hmm, well I guess that depends on whether the shit is hitting the fan. If that happens it’s going to be Mike, although it will probably take me a minute to realize it. On Moonrise we used to get in each other’s way when something needed to happen fast. That’s because we have years of keeping thoughts inside our heads rather than saying them out loud. We can both be introverted much of the time. (Which is wierd, believe me.) We are also both pretty independent minded. On Moonrise, we used to kind of take turns being the captain. Whoever was at the wheel was ‘in charge’. The auto pilot changed that. Our whole marriage has been almost Quaker in terms of consensus, which sometimes doesn’t work that well on a boat. Sailing on Galapagos is raising this whole subject to a new level of intensity. We’ve had a couple of lively little ‘discussions’ about communication on board and about expectations. I imagine that will settle down after awhile. So far we haven’t killed each other.
Michael: I am the captain. Heed Me, Wench!
Melissa: As if.
6. What are your favorite meals to cook while sailing?
Melissa: I make a mean chicken salad that is satisfying and yummy. I serve it with fruit, rice crackers, and perhaps a good cheese. It’s going to be a challenge to stay away from rice/bean/wheat based meals when we do the long trip.
Michael: I really enjoy making a nice breakfast of sausage, eggs and lots of coffee in the morning. Eating a nice hot meal in the cockpit and watching the world come to life is a little slice of heaven.
7. Who’s idea was it to buy a boat and how did they convince the other person?
Originally it was Mike’s idea to buy a sailboat. We started sailing because our son got seriously injured when he was 12, and we needed something to help our family focus on healing. Mike’s co-worker was a sailor and he raced his Catalina 27 on Wednesday nights in Commencement Bay. He talked it up quite a bit and Mike got interested. When his friend wanted to sell his boat, he approached Mike. It was almost a done deal before I even knew it was happening. We were completely uneducated about sailboats at that point and never even looked around before buying the Saucy Sue. Mike knew the boat had been cared for, and he would be continuing to work with the guy so if anything came up he’d have someone to consult. I went to see the boat and, all other things being equal, said ‘sure’. We’ve each always encouraged the other in personal endeavors, and this was no different. Mike wanted the boat. That is all. At that point in my life, I was heavily into gardening and it was hard for me to tear myself away from my yard to go to the boat. My how things change!
8. Where is your dream destination?
Melissa: Well, our boat name is Galapagos. Does that give a clue? Also the fjords of Chile. We’d like that, too. One step at a time is our mantra.
Michael: Wherever Melissa is.
9. Why did you pick sailing as a form of transportation or hobby (over an RV/camper for instance)?
At first, sailing was not chosen as a form of transportation. In fact, even now, I would recommend that people not see it that way. If you can’t enjoy just being on the boat, then don’t buy one because you will simply be frustrated. We chose sailing because we wanted to be on the water to heal the hurt in our souls from our son’s accident. With a small boat like the Catalina, there isn’t much place to go around here if you want to do things like anchor out and you have only a weekend to get away. It takes too long to get anywhere in a small boat like that. So it was all about the sailing, and less about the ‘getting somewhere’ back then. Now, of course, it is both. But there is this thing about being on the water. It gives you some privacy, away from other people. Even though there are thousands of other boats up here, we can usually find a place that is not crowded. We like having a little ‘home’ on the water that we take around with us. I know an RV is like that, too, but we never even considered it. It literally never even crossed our minds. There’s no water under an RV. And other cars want you to go fast. No thanks. Not right now. But maybe later.
10. Would you please describe your best sailing day ever? (or a link to it)
Melissa: Also a hard question because there have been plenty of amazing sailing days depending on how you define it. Two days come to mind. First, there is a day we had on Moonrise probably 5 or so years ago. We were off the west coast of San Juan Island. We had only the genoa out and were surrounded by Orcas. We sailed up and down that part of the coast, just watching the Orcas feeding. Other people were watching from commercial whale watching boats, but we were on our own private sailboat. I remember thinking I was probably the luckiest woman alive just then and feeling overwhelmed with gratitude.The second day was one we had recently when bringing Galapagos home. We were in the Strait of Juan de Fuca as the sun was going down. Lucinda Williams was playing in the cockpit, a gentle breeze blew, it was warm, and we had just seen Humpback Whales. The sunset was beautiful. I wanted time to stand still just in that moment.
Michael: I will second Melissa’s nomination of our day bringing Galapagos home. I remember telling her that I was the luckiest man alive to be on that boat at that moment with this woman.
Melissa: And we will close the curtain on that little interlude.
So now we get to nominate some other blogs for the Liebster Award and this is the hard part. There are a lot of interesting blogs out there so there had to be a way of narrowing down the field because we get to nominate only 10. At least one of our favorites has already been nominated. Others we like don’t post with regularity or they are very new. Still others we read are already wildly popular, so they are already recognized in the larger blog sphere. In the end, I chose blogs that we’ve been following regularly, who post frequently, who have been around awhile, and who we think deserve a larger audience. It was harder than I thought because we seriously read a lot of blogs. I hope none of these have already been nominated. Here is our list:
1. Bettie Del Mar
2. Latitude 43
3. Our Life with Ceol Mor
4. The Yoders Afloat
5. The Third Quarter
6. San Juan Sufficiency
7. Nor’Sea 27 Rhapsody
8. The Cynical Sailor & His Salty Sidekick
9. Mid Life Cruising
10. S/V The Red Thread
So if you are on this list your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to create a blog post where you answer the following questions. Then nominate 10 blogs that you enjoy, make up your own questions, and pass it on. Here are your secret questions meant to make you bare your soul to the world:
1. What is the worst mistake you’ve ever made with your boat?
2. What is your secret fear about living/cruising on a sailboat?
3. What do you like and dislike most about being a blogger?
4. If you could tell a sailboat shopper the most important thing to look for in a boat, what would it be? Yes, you get to pick only one thing.
5. What thing do other boaters do that irritates you?
6. Journey or Destination?
7. Which sailboat reference book would you recommend someone absolutely have on board? Which sailing adventure book?
8. What is the most important piece of gear you carry on your person or keep handy in your cockpit?
9. How slow will you go before you turn on your engine?
10. If money were no object, what boat would you choose?
May the Force be with you as you write up your posts! We look forward to interesting reading in the days ahead. And now…..we prepare for our two weeks on the water! Woo hoo!