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December 2008

Signing off before you set sail

Larry and I had truly become involved in modern communications by the time we began preparations for our voyage from Ventura through the Pacific. For the previous four years we’d rarely been out of cell phone range as we explored the Pacific Northwest and coast of California. Our writing, seminars and website, plus the boatyard in New Zealand meant we’d become used to staying in touch with the outside world on an almost daily basis. Now it was time to escape. We knew we would be at sea for extended periods and visiting isolated places without access to internet (and it turned out with very difficult to find telephone access also.) And we choose to have no on board communications. (See the June 2008 newsletter for more on this).  This meant three months or more out of contact. I realized I had to “sign off” from my email account, my telephone message service and mail before we set sail.  I remembered how intense and condensed time gets during the last few days before departure.  So I decided to do something that really annoyed my family who knew I was still in town.  Five days before our intended departure I shut down our outside business life. I put a message on my cell phone that said we’d left to go to sea and would be out of touch for at least three months. I put a return message on my email account informing people we had set sail, and probably would not be accessing our email until late September (we left in June). I asked that they send a new email in September if they had not heard from me.  I asked our mail service to hold all mail.  Though friends and family who knew we had not yet departed still left phone messages, emails immediately slowed down, business calls stopped and I felt could concentrate on getting the boat fully prepared. I was able to clear my email inbox in minutes the day before we actually set sail. 

I am sure glad I did this as getting provisions on board, going over last minute check lists, having last minute lunches and dinners with my large and loving family and taking care of those business items that had to be closed out, filled every minute of those last few days. The decrease in phone calls was a welcome relief and I was able to enjoy calling to say farewell to several special friends and family members as we sailed gently south along the California coastline and I used up my last free minutes just before we sailed out of cell phone range. Interestingly, when I was able to access the internet three months later, I found we had not missed anything truly important and September brought a flood of contacts from folks congratulating us for getting away to sea again.

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