During our summer cruises up here in the Pacific Northwest, Mike and I enjoy days where we are anchored in quiet areas, not close to towns. We like to explore places that are off the well-sailed paths of others and this means we sometimes don’t see a lot of other people and we don’t have cell phone coverage. Generally speaking that’s fine, but so far our longest cruise has been only 5 weeks. And this leads to anxiety about being isolated from my family; kids, mom, and sister. The Fear-O-Meter on this one can waver between low to high, depending on the scenario and how much communication electronics we have on board.
In a nutshell, I do not like being unable to talk to our kids. It isn’t that we talk to them all the time. In fact, they live their lives and we are lucky if we talk to them every couple of weeks, or even longer. Our daughter is not even in this country! But the thing is I COULD talk to them if they needed me, or if I just wanted to hear their voices. I can call my mom and my sister and catch up with their lives. Facebook keeps me updated pretty much, and as a parent I have learned that for the most part, no news is good news. But not always. And if I don’t have cell phone coverage, I also don’t have Facebook or email or anything else.
When we were in Canada this summer, we went to areas where there was zero cell phone reception. It just did not exist. We have no Sat phone. So for most of our vacation, we were completely out of touch. I hated that. A lot. And I know that this low level of anxiety every day contributed to the number of meltdowns I had about things like shallow water and docking.
I had to have a number of serious conversations with Amy G. Dala about her dark fantasies. She was creating more of a disturbance than was actually necessary. Sure, it LOOKED like I was relaxing in a meditative way in the cockpit. But I was actually being kept busy by creating scenarios about how if the kids needed us, or something bad happened, someone would call the Coast Guard, and then our Coast Guard could contact Canadian CG, then they could come find us because we were using a SPOT locator device so people would know where we were. If the Coast Guard was not calling us on the radio or speeding toward S/V Galapagos with an urgent message, everything was probably fine. This is a giant flipping waste of my time. It also seriously compromises my ability to have fun.
Unlike some of these other anxieties, this one can be ameliorated somewhat by spending the money on a Sat phone like the Iridium GO, or the DeLorme Inreach. That way if I am out of cell phone reception area, we have a backup. I’m really only looking for any kind of communication. I don’t need to be able to talk on the phone. Email, text, I’ll take anything. We are in decision-making mode here so chime in your thoughts. We hope we can get our old but excellent quality SSB to work by some dark magic.
I know I will miss my family very much when we are gone, but I do really want to go, and I do really want to enjoy it. So there will have to be good communications equipment with backups. Let it be written. Let it be done.
Just joined us for the A to Z Challenge and want to read from the beginning? Here’s a link to the first post. Just click on ‘next’ to go to the next post.