I have often toyed with this in my mind ever since I was on ships. I never owned a sail boat, nor know anything truly about sailing, nor have I ever sailed on a sail boat. I am however, very much attracted to that life style, at least for a few weeks, months. I am not interested in really living on board a boat instead of a home, but wouldn't mind sailing to various island destinations, especially the ones that are off the beaten path.
My experience with "Sailing" is really on motor
vessels or ships. The Merchant Marines I shipped with always called it "Sailing" with this person or that person even though it wasn't really sailing. And I was not a Merchant Seamen, but rather a military contractor assigned to military leased MSC ships.
So this is what I was getting at. When I shipped on board these vessels, I remember asking myself, "Who is the real sailor"? Is it that person that navigates his own vessel, whatever that vessel may be? Is it that tug boat captain
? Is it the crew members that keep the vessel running, or free of rust? Maybe there is a distinction, maybe the question shoud be, who are the real "SEA GOERS"? Who has the distinction of being more "Nautical" than the other? Is it based on destinations visited? Is it based on length and time at sea, or the love of the sea? Is it based on nautical miles logged?
My thought was that the real sailor were the ones traveling on sail boats, going to where they wanted to go, to their choosing, on their coin, and performed their own navigation
. While on ships, I had no say so to where I was going, nor did I perform any navigational duties whatsoever on the vessel. My duties had nothing pertaining to the vessel itself, only performing fire and boat drills and riding the ship from place to place. But I know deep down inside, that I've logged thousands of miles in roughly 5 years of shipping
with hardly any breaks in between. My body squeaked of Indian Ocean
, Pacific Ocean
, Mediteranean, Caribbean
, Atlantic, and them some.
Then there was military like the Navy
, or USMC for example, riding the high seas on warships, some doing it for a career, going to off the wall off the beaten path destinations and hot spots. I was kind of in the same game
working Department of Defense contract
. I had alot of dealings with Merchant Seamen and Military in my line of work. I was a military equipment mechanic
. I even performed duties such as chipping and painting, or corrosion
control on Navy
Then there are FISHERMAN that venture out to places like the Flemish Cap near Iceland
that come back with super nautical stories and horrendous weather
conditions only to go back out and do it again, and many losing their lives in search of profit.
Then I have seen CUNA Indians of Panama
in the San Blas islands swimming from island to island in groups holding conversation while in the water
swimming together, unafraid of sharks. They go free diving
for lobster and giant crabs to sell to the tourist. That seemed to me like the most nautical people on the planet after seeing this. Not to mention, they make enough money
to own their own boats. They may look primitive but they are not dummies, and they understand the economical world.
And of course, the Filipino is pretty much born and bread on an island with the ocean thrown at them at times during typhoons, many of whom ship as Merchant Seamen or fishermen all around the world. To land a job working the sea such as a Merchant Seamen, is highly coveted and hard to land and when they do, they seem to hang on to it forever.
So in general, we have alot of people that work and make their living from the sea on boats. From people working on huge vessels, to fishermen, to yacht owners to military types. I always viewed the yacht person to be pretty nautical while I was riding the huge vessels. Take for instance, the time I went to the Salomon Islands on the Chagos
Archipelago and we ran into a lone yacht person sailing across the Indian Ocean
. Everyone on my ship seemed to think this man was lucky and everyone wanted to do what he was doing or talked about it. This was 25 years ago. After thinking about this, WE were the ones that I think had it made then. Here I was riding a vessel, steak and lobster every Friday, just doing my job and someone else steering
the vessel, with my own private room, and food
served to us at our table in the galley
, earning money
at the same time, getting plastered on Diego Garcia at the Seaman's Club and having hamburgers at Diego Burger, and eating lobster once again at the officers club in Diego Garcia. But I was on Diego Garcia as long as my job was there, at least the Yacht person was going to go somewhere not so isloated such as Chagos
, and back to real civilization.
Anyhow, what do you think? Will the REAL SAILOR PLEASE STAND UP? Who is the real nautical type, sea goers, to you?