Follow by Email


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Islands in the Sun

Survival in a cold climate is hard. Half the year is a mad rush to prepare for a long winter. In the old days, if things didn't go well you either froze to death or starved.

Contrast that to living on a warm island somewhere. The seas are full of fish and coconuts grow in abundance. Nobody is going to freeze to death.

I read a long history of the Bahamas. One of the problems they British rulers had with the place was ruling people. It was too easy to live independently. The was plenty of wild food around and a small garden would provide dietary variety. Of course, another problem was how lucrative piracy could be. Good livings were also made salvaging shipwrecks. It was pretty easy to live without central authority.

It is tempting to move to some small island somewhere and go native. Of course, island life is not what it used to be. For example, just take a look at Caribbean Islands. In the last few decades they've had a huge population increase. Many islands now import most of their food. Most island economies are heavily dependent on tourism. Should something like a major fuel shortage happen those islands won't be paradise. When the food supply collapsed on Easter Island the population collapsed too. It was messy -cannibalism messy.

Of course, I'm a big fan of having my own movable island: a sailboat. You can have almost all of the advantages of living on a tropical island but with the added safety of mobility. If things start to look too sketchy where you are, raise anchor and go somewhere else. With a boat you can take advantage of the resources of larger area. Maybe an island has good water, but poor fishing. You can get your water one place, fish another, and then pick up some wild fruit somewhere else. Everything doesn't have to be in the same place.

My ideal sailboat would be something with good capacity for water and provisions. Shallow draft would allow access to places other boats can't go. It's tempting to look for the biggest boat with all the toys, but that's not the best survival craft. There are too many technical things to go wrong. Often I've talked to captains stuck in marinas waiting for some obscure part necessary for their boat to function.

On the other end of the scale are Haitian boats with raw tree branches for masts and booms. Almost none have engines. Some don't even have a compass, yet they sail all over, hauling cargo and people. (sometimes right onto Miami in the dead of night) You don't have to get as primitive as they are. Haitian sailors take chances I'm not comfortable taking. However, there is much to be said for a simple easily repairable boat.

I'm sure there are some fine sparsely inhabited island paradises out there yet, but by living on a sailboat you have to ability to move if things go sour.



  1. I've always preferred mudslides to tidal waves, myself. ;-)

  2. The threat of piracy to me during a Grid Down scenario sounds like a huge threat. Unless your boat can really fly, getting caught and thrown overboard (dead or alive) sounds like a real possibility.

    Otherwise, it sounds like a really good life, especially if you are used to the lifestyle. Finding a remote island, listening to the waves and enjoying the sunset - paradise!

    1. Pirates today use powerboats. Most have less than 100 mile range. 50 miles off shore puts you out of reach of most of them. That and the ocean is really really big. It's hard to be found when you want to be.

      Sure, it's possible to be caught, but there are things to do that greatly lessen the chances of that happening. Much depends on your boat. One guy I read about avoided pirates because he sailboat was super shallow draft and stayed close to the reefs where the power boat could not follow.

  3. We've often thought of the islands for refuge. In fact know of one off the beaten path, only a hundred miles or so from here....
    Once fuel was gone for boats the islands will a fairly isolated place to be. Best be well provisioned before arrival though.
    And the natives ain't gonna want you there once the almighty dollar is gone.

    1. I have a few places in mind that might work. Will have to check them out in more detail -before I really need them.