September 30, 2012
Saying Good Bye


September 15, 2012
Reflections on Our 27 Year Circumnavigation


September 01, 2012
Sea of Cortez Sailing


August 15, 2012
Back to the Sea of Cortez


August 01, 2012
After Circumnavigation: What to Take, What to Leave Behind


July 15, 2012
Mexican Booby Trap


July 01, 2012
Tackling the Tehuantepec


June 14, 2012
Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico


June 01, 2012
Sailing northern Costa Rica and Nicargua


May 15, 2012
Costa Rican Cruising


May 01, 2012
New Found Friends in Golfito, Costa Rica


April 15, 2012
It’s a Jungle Out There


April 01, 2012
Hunting and Gathering in Panama


March 15, 2012
Money.... Money.... Money


March 01, 2012
Feel Free Transits the Panama Canal


February 15, 2012
Transiting the Panama Canal


February 01, 2012
Feel Free is Back in the Pacific


January 15, 2012
Charter Skipper for a Week


January 01, 2012
Confessions of a Charter Cat Chef


December 15, 2011
Away to the Andamans Part 2


December 01, 2011
AWAY to the ANDAMANs


November 15, 2011
Sailing in a Freshwater Paradise


November 01, 2011
To Barf or not to Barf, that is the question


October 14, 2011
Remarkable Cruisers


October 03, 2011
The Sea of Cortez, Another World


September 15, 2011
Panama Canal Here We Come


September 01, 2011
Sailing for Humanity


August 15, 2011
A Hard Lesson on the Hard and Reflections on Boat Work


August 01, 2011
Here Come the Lion Fish


July 15, 2011
The Joy of Books


July 01, 2011
The Sailors of San Blas


June 15, 2011
The Good Life in Kuna Yala


June 01, 2011
The Dirt Dweller in Paradise


May 15, 2011
People of the San Blas, Then and Now


May 01, 2011
Cruising in Kuna Yala


April 15, 2011
Near Disaster in the San Blas


April 01, 2011
At Last in the San Blas


March 15, 2011
Chilling Out in Cholon


March 01, 2011
Ah, Cartagena!


February 15, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 2


February 01, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 1


January 14, 2011
Aruban Interlude


December 30, 2010
Hunkering Down for a Hurricane


December 15, 2010
A Day in the Life - Our Passage to Aruba


December 01, 2010
Stuck in Curacao


November 15, 2010
Stormy Night Sailing


November 01, 2010
Sailing In The Sticks


October 15, 2010
Safety, Security and Circumnavigating with some tips on how to stay safe


October 04, 2010
Feel Free Transits The Suez Canal


September 15, 2010
Red Sea Sailing


September 01, 2010
FEEL FREEs Voyage Into the Red Sea


August 15, 2010
And just a little further, to Curacao


August 01, 2010
Bonaire Diving


July 15, 2010
Then To Bonaire


July 01, 2010
Cruising Remote Venezuelan Isles


June 15, 2010
Cruising St. Vincent


June 01, 2010
Right Place, Right Time


May 15, 2010
The Spice Isle


May 01, 2010
To the Grenadines


April 15, 2010
We Be In Barbados Mon


April 01, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part II


March 15, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part 1


March 01, 2010
Provisioning for the Atlantic Crossing


February 15, 2010
Atlantic Crossing Preparations


February 01, 2010
Cruising the Canary Islands


January 15, 2010
Out Of Africa


January 01, 2010
Come With Me To The High Atlas Mountains.............


December 15, 2009
Two Years Of Mediterranean Sailing


December 01, 2009
Moving On To Morocco


November 18, 2009
Leaving The Med


November 13, 2009
Reaching The Rock Of Gibraltar Milestone


October 15, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del Sol


October 01, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del High-rise


September 15, 2009
Sailing The Spanish Isles


September 01, 2009
At Sea Or On The Hook, These Recipes Travel Well


August 15, 2009
An Interlude At Menorca


August 01, 2009
A Pleasant Passage To Menorca


July 15, 2009
The Agony And Ecstasy Of The Tunisian Coast


July 01, 2009
Tripping Around Tunisia


June 15, 2009
Tales From North Africa


June 01, 2009
Dont Freak If Your Fridge Fails


May 15, 2009
Into Africa


May 01, 2009
Meandering Around Malta, Then Off To Tunisia


April 15, 2009
Low-Tech DIY Ideas For The New Economy


April 01, 2009
The Med Set A Few Cruiser Profiles


March 15, 2009
That Sinking Feeling


March 01, 2009
Thailand to Oman: Three Passages, Three Ports


February 15, 2009
Doing Hard Time in Malta


February 01, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 2


January 15, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 1


January 02, 2009
So Many Islands, So Little Time


December 15, 2008
Cruising With The Bear


December 01, 2008
Versatile Vinegar, The Boaters Friend


November 15, 2008
What I Did In This Summer -- Dock Masters In paradise


November 01, 2008
Over The Top Of Oz


October 16, 2008
The Tumultuous Tasman


October 01, 2008
Sweet Memories Of The Splendid Surins


September 15, 2008
And Then We Were In Malta


September 01, 2008
Feel Frees Siracusan Story


August 15, 2008
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times


August 01, 2008
All Tied Up In The Ionians


July 15, 2008
A Greek Odyssey Our Journey to Ithaca


July 01, 2008
Anatomy of a Near Catastrophe


June 15, 2008
Good-bye Turkey, Hello Greece


June 01, 2008
More Winter Cruising in Turkey


May 15, 2008
Winter Cruising in Turkey


April 15, 2008
Talking Turkey: Marmaris Marina Living


April 15, 2008
The Joy Of The Side Trip


April 01, 2008
Return to Marmaris, And The Budget


March 15, 2008
Passing Time And Dodging The Meltemi


March 01, 2008
Home Sweet Home


February 15, 2008
A Little Working, A Little Cruising


February 01, 2008
Working Our Way Around The World


January 15, 2008
Welcome Aboard Feel Free


January 01, 2008
Liz Tosonis and Tom Morkins Feel Free


January 01, 2008
About Tom Morkin and Liz Tosoni


January 01, 2008
About Feel Free


January 01, 2008
Voyage Itinerary


January 15, 2008
Welcome Aboard Feel Free

By Tom Morkin

Keci Burcu, Southwest Turkey

Feel Free now lies some 50 meters off a Byzantine citadel, perched on a tiny island in the olive-tree-lined bay of Keci Burcu in Southwest Turkey, about four miles north of the Greek island of Simi. The last couple of days Liz and I have
Feel Free at anchor in Thailand.
been to-ing and fro-ing between Turkey and Greece. Many of the lovely small Greek islands of the southern Aegean are so easily accessible from Turkey that it’s common practice for yachts stationed in Turkey to nip into one of these islands to stock up on the much cheaper wine and fuel, and soak up a bit of the Greek ambiance. Given the supposed level of friction between these countries, the border is a very relaxed one. Liz and I don’t normally take chances, but given the level of nonchalance demonstrated by our fellow cruisers, we couldn't resist.

We left last night's anchorage where we were treated to a first-class thunder-and-lightning show because the nice lady on the Greek VHF weather channel promised a gale later today or tonight. Two hours, and about three gallons
Liz and Tom.
of diesel later, we entered this gorgeous, bulletproof, tree-lined bay (something of a rarity in these parts) and now lie peacefully beneath the remains of a 1,700-year-old fort. The sequel to last night's pyrotechnics display is just now starting in the newly formed mass of monster-like cumulo-nimbus clouds off to the northwest. But, it's okay with us; in fact, we're feeling pretty snug in our new almost land-locked basin. In fact, this “hunkering down time” is just what we need, to catch up with boat chores, and start writing to you. So let us begin.

It was April, 1985, at the ripe old ages of 34 and 36, when we slipped the lines from our mooring in Vancouver, British Columbia, for an18-month cruise around the Pacific. Whoever would’ve thought that we'd still be cruising in our 50s -- 22 years later? Our families were surprisingly supportive, even though we were quitting very good jobs, heading off into (to them) a scary unknown,
We became hooked on cruising, and on our encounters with the wide world of new experiences and new cultures.
and were at the age when we should have been thinking about settling down and having kids. Still, they encouraged us to "Go for it."

We both had commitments from our corporate employers, 3M (Tom) and Prentice Hall (Liz), to take us back 18 months later, so the plan was to do the loop from Vancouver to Mexico to the Marquesas to Hawaii, and then back to Vancouver. We just missed that starboard turn out of the Marquesas for Hawaii. Instead, we headed for Pago Pago, American Samoa.

It was in Samoa that we realized we might be able to extend our cruising lifestyle because we could actually get people to give us money in return for work without going back to Canada. This was a great revelation. It meant we would be doing our cruising on the installment plan and with the hindsight of 22 years we wouldn't have it any other way.

Liz sewing sails. We found we could live self sufficiently and simply aboard our boat, and we loved the feeling of independence.
In point of fact, 11 of the 22 years have been spent working (teaching, chartering, and sales, in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Canada). So, our 18-month trip morphed into nine years that took us through the "Coconut Milk Run" to Australia, then up to Japan via Papua New Guinea and Micronesia.

Resettling in Canada didn't last long, and in 1996, two years after arriving back, we were off again, this time with a bigger boat, down the west coast of California and Mexico, Hawaii, Marshall Islands, and on to Australia a second time, then Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and this past year across the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea and the Mediterranean to Turkey, where we now lie at anchor.

Hoki Mai, our first boat, in 1985.
As new BoatUS writers, we hope to paint a picture for you of the ups and downs, the simplicity and the complications of our daily lives aboard Feel Free as we cruise through the Mediterranean. It’s our hope that by sharing our experiences, we can answer some of the questions you may have about this cruising lifestyle. Some questions that we often get are:

"How can you afford to do it for so long?"

"How long do you plan to continue cruising?

"Do you have an exit strategy?"

"What do you want do next?

"What are some of the main problems you’ve encountered -- interpersonal, technical, weather, bureaucratic, health,

financial?"

"How can you continue to get along in so small a space?”

"What is it about this lifestyle that has seduced you for such a long time?"

"What are the disadvantages?"

Yes, I do sometimes make my own beer onboard.
As we go along, we'll try to cover these, and other less-weighty questions such as how to make beer onboard for less than 15 cents a bottle with a 5-gallon bucket, 2 garbage bags, and some simple ingredients; how to live without refrigeration (we did for about 20 years); how to provision for long stays away from grocery stores; live without a watermaker; and share time-proven recipes; as well as some clever ideas gleaned from other cruisers that make the cruising life so much safer, easier, and more comfortable.

Liz with new young friends in Indonesia.
Liz and I have never been accused of being on the cutting edge of the most sophisticated marine technology, so you won't find us discussing the merits of the latest techno gadget. Feel Free is not a showcase of the latest and greatest boat gear.

But we're not exactly ascetics either. We use a laptop and GPS for navigation. The fridge, freezer, single sideband radio, solar panels, 2.5 kva diesel genset, and even an iPod all make life comfortable.

In Aden, we often encountered men resting together during the heat of the day – dressed colorfully, and shooting the breeze.
Mechanical whiz kid, I’m definitely not. In fact, I can't forget how I almost failed grade 9 industrial arts many years ago. Fixing things doesn't come naturally to me. When I was age 5, my mom noticed I was good at taking things apart, but not so hot at putting them back together. Well, I haven't changed that much. I'm not the first guy in the anchorage people turn to with their boat problems. On the other hand, we’ve managed to maintain two boats, and spent remarkably little money paying other people to solve our boat problems. Somehow, with the help of fellow cruisers, manuals, trial and lots of errors, and motivation, we manage to stay afloat.

Feel Free sailing up the Red Sea.
We could be viewed as poster children for the mechanically/technically challenged. If we can keep a couple of boats seaworthy long enough to sail over 50,000 miles and visit 30 countries, then maybe just about anyone can.

Liz and I are strong adherents of the “keep it simple” principle and believe that at least part of being a successful long-term cruisers involves lowering your pleasure threshold (first observed by famed circumnavigators Bob and Nancy Griffith in their inspiring book Blue Water Sailing). Most cruisers can't bring all the amenities from home, so we have to be happy without them. In sailing and in life, they who are happy with less, win.


Tom catches a Queen fish while we’re at sea.


Ashore, in Isreal, we have fun with cruising friends in a natural mud bath.

Liz with Orangutan in Borneo.

Elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka.