Friday, March 25, 2016

Women and Cruising
By Michael

Check out the Del Viento crew on the Women and Cruising site. Posted yesterday is an interview I did for them accompanied by a wide range of photos old and new.

If you're not familiar with Women and Cruising, it's worth checking out. The site is intended for the fairer sex, but it's a great resource for anybody interested in cruising. And if you are a woman and you have something to say, it's a great place to submit a story you think will be of interest to other cruising women (just send an email to

Meanwhile, we are a frantic bunch about now. When you've been someplace three months, you've kind of moved in. So we are busy moving out and packing up a mountain of boat parts and the spoils of North American life to schlep all the way to Tonga. We leave in less than 48 hours.

At this time, sailing to Tonga is seeming easier--and maybe only a bit slower--than returning by plane. From San Francisco we take a short flight on Virgin America to LA. We arrive LA about 9:30 at night and then depart for Fiji on Fiji Airways at 11:30 p.m.. By the time we reach cruising altitude, it'll be the next day. Several hours later we cross the date line and it's another day gone. When we land in Fiji, it's about 5:00 a.m. and the start of our 11-hour layover in the Nadi terminal. Early that evening, we board a much smaller Fiji Airways plane for Nuku'alofa, Tonga. But we don't arrive in time for the last REALTonga flight north to Neiafu, so we crash in a hotel. The next afternoon, we get on a smaller plane and skip over the waves for about 90 minutes. After we land for good, take a cab to the waterfront, commandeer a dinghy, and reach Del Viento, it'll be dinner time.

I'm so excited to return, I can hardly stand it.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wanna Write a Magazine Article?
By Michael

In kindergarten I was tasked with making a shoebox diorama that showed me engaged in my future vocation. The little cardboard me I cut out wasn't playing a professional sport or fighting a fire or walking on the Moon. Instead, Mini Me sat solo in the empty Vans shoebox, in a tiny cardboard chair, behind a tiny cardboard table, in front of a tiny cardboard typewriter. It wasn't a dream I chased very far. At some point growing up I was dissuaded by pragmatism. Having learned that I stood the same chances of becoming a successful writer as my kindergarten classmates did becoming a professional baseball player, I steered clear of ever being caught playing the dreamer.

Nearly five years ago--almost four decades out of kindergarten--we left to go cruising and I was suddenly rich in time. I decided to start writing in earnest. I began selling my writing.

Now, I'm proud and eager to announce a new book filled with all the knowledge I've gained: Selling Your Writing to the Boating Magazines (and other niche mags) (2016, Force Four Publications).

I hope this book gives aspiring writers the knowledge and confidence to get published in their favorite magazines.

Jen Brett, Senior Editor at Cruising World magazine, wrote that Selling Your Writing to the Boating Magazines, "Should be required reading for anyone looking to break into freelance journalism."

Following are additional early reviews I'm pleased to share:

“From now on when I get queries from sailors wanting to know how to get started as writers for the sailing press, I’ll recommend this book. It’s not just the book editors have been waiting for, it’s the book long awaited by every sailor who hopes to make a buck while pursuing his sailing dream.”
Karen Larson, Publisher of Good Old Boat

“Concise, useful and encouraging for any aspiring magazine writer, not just those in the sailing field.”
Lin Pardey, author of more than 400 magazine articles

"Michael Robertson has done a great job composing a primer of practicalities for freelance writers. His clear advice is reinforced by having been widely published himself, allowing him to cite numerous useful examples from his own efforts."
Tim Queeney, Editor of Ocean Navigator

"If you’ve ever thought about sharing your passion by writing about what you love, you need this book. Michael Robertson has put together the ultimate toolkit for launching your freelancing dream."
Beth A. Leonard, freelancer, speaker, and author who supported herself for two decades writing from her boat

If you're interested, ask your local librarian to order Selling Your Writing to the Boating Magazines, or buy a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hot Showers and All the Rest
By Michael

Less than one year away from actual teen
age and we already have a blue streak.
(courtesy Bryce Cannon)
Maybe it was in Passage to Juneau, maybe it was in Coasting, but someplace writer Jonathan Raban related this idea that island dwellers have a different relationship with the sea than their continental brethren. He wrote that islanders see the ocean that surrounds them as a path to other places, a gateway or a highway, whereas the people who inhabit continents see the ocean as a boundary, the end of their beloved roads.

Del Viento is our tiny island. We do most of our eating, sleeping, schooling, and living aboard that 40-foot fiberglass hole in the water. It's home. And while she's a small home, we don't feel bound. Aboard Del Viento we are surrounded by paths to other places. I think this islander perception does something to a person's psyche. Not good or bad, but something.

I'm a regular guy who has spent the better part of my life living the conventional American land-based life. I'm not ignorant of nor immune to the allure of the lives we left. I'm not a Moitessier-like seafaring gypsy who can only find peace on a boat far from land. Yet, we've lived unconventionally for the past four-and-a-half years. Now, having been continental people since Christmas, I realize I've been changed by our lives aboard Del Viento.

I've experienced a range of emotions and reactions since we left Tonga and I think I can distill it all down to one word: struggle.

Here in the regular house in which we are staying, hot water flows freely from a showerhead whenever I want it to. I don't have anything like this on Del Viento. Sure, if the stars align and I have the solar shower filled and the sun shines all day and the night is cool, I can haul that bag up on a halyard and enjoy something like a hot shower. But the stars don't often align in this way. Along with not seeing good friends (like Jana Price), I've long-considered the absence of frequent hot water showers a drawback of life on my tiny island. I've said the same about having to lug jerry cans of fresh water aboard. About perpetually slow or non-existent internet. About good beer and ice cream being hard to find.

I no longer think the absence of these luxuries is a drawback.

When we first landed on the continent, the hot-water-showers-on-demand gave me tremendous pleasure. But now that feeling has almost disappeared and there is nothing to replace it.

Losing my appreciation for the shower isn't the problem. I think the problem lies in the absence of a longing that seems to enhance life and mark the days. I like that aboard Del Viento I can remember the few days that culminated in being naked on deck beneath the stars and a hot solar shower. I appreciate those showers like the hot showers I get here, but I never stop appreciating them. In the same way that even after schlepping the 5-gallon jerry cans of water aboard, the delicate and fickle systems on our boat never allow me to take for granted the availability of that water at the tap. The same way that a whisper in American Samoa that bitter ales could be had in Tonga was a catalyst for anticipation. We've grown accustomed to celebrating the basics. I don't know how to write it so it doesn't sound dramatic, but I think it ties into the idea of feeling rich with comparatively little.

In two weeks we return to our island, surrounded by an ocean that is a path to other places, perhaps a gateway to the next hot shower, good beer, faster internet, and all the rest. But definitely not all at once, and maybe none at all. I can't know what's over the horizon and if I catch myself bemoaning that fact, I'll remind myself that I prefer it that way.

It's been nice to witness the rebirth of California wildflowers
with the rains that have been so long overdue. The mighty
oaks are happy too. (courtesy Bryce Cannon)
Another lesson from returning home is that you don't have
to travel to remote parts of the world to find beauty.
(courtesy Bryce Cannon)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...