Wew, it’s done. Over. Finito. I just wrapped up my season as a floating photographer last month living and working on sailboats across Croatia and Greece for 5 whole months. That’s 20 weeks at sea living in a cubby hole bobbing and rolling about, getting splashed and thrashed by the occasional mood swings of Mother Nature, and in general having a damn good time.
Over the past 5 months I’ve experienced most everything Croatia and Greece can supply by sea; crystal clear water, ancient Venetian towns, morning swim stops to cure hangovers, cliff jumping, Greek hospitality, wild storms, and of course living and working around ever-changing groups of people while getting to use my passion. That last bit was equally awesome as it was difficult.
For the most part I came out unscathed, which is a surprise given I tend to take heaps of risks and run and jump around like a ninja. Doing that on sailboats isn’t so smart. I now have a collection of small scrapes and scars, bumps and bruises, and good memories. Though my pinky toe is threatening to fall off currently, but we’ll see how that progresses.
THE ROUGH INJURY TALLY //
– Innumerable times I bumped my head on booms and latches.
– Sliced fingers from unseen barnacles on ropes.
– Damn sea urchins in my foot.
– Bruised ribs from hanging off the boat sideways to get a sick shot.
– Sliced open toes from hitting on various boat thingy-mabobbers.
– 3 week long flu from exhaustion and sleep deprivation.
– Too many Hvar hangovers or getting “Hvar’d”
– Friction burns from climbing up and down the mast for another sick shot.
– Punched in the eye by the knotted end of a rope when unraveling it quickly.
– Pulled groin muscle from limbo competitions.
– Sliced pinky toe that has splinters still inside and hasn’t healed.
Sounds grim and gruesome eh? I faired better than some. Though I have to make it clear, even if it seems pretty rough, living on a sailboat for that long is bound to beat you up a bit. And much of that was my own folly.
On the flip-side, I grew as a photographer in an unfamiliar environment that was challenging and rewarding around a medium I don’t normally shoot. I could wake up every day and go for a paddle board or a swim. The same islands and towns we stopped in each week never got old. I could tag along with crew and cruise around islands on scooters or quad bikes.
Besides just photography, I got to learn some of the ins and outs of sailing, and sometimes drive the boat for most of the day. Getting to meet people from all over the world that were just trying to have a great time, and working with a great group of people had me coming out of the season with tons of new friends. All the while getting a little money for it while having room and board covered.
Pretty sweet gig I’d say.
By the end of the 5 months, I was looking forward to the end. Most other photographers had 6 week stints and I was the only one on board for the entire season. This was my first contracted position as a photographer, as I’m used to wandering countries on and pick up up freelance gigs when possible. And lack of personal space was eating away at me.
Most of the time when I travel, I do my creative work in a coffee shop or in a room I rent, but living on a boat with people coming in and out gave me no space to focus. And, there is the fact that I spent all of my time at the computer editing photos so I didn’t get much writing done.
I could kiss land I’ve missed it so much. I love forest and mountains above all else. Living by the sea and on the sea was incredible, but I was dreaming of wandering dense wood. I missed the smell of earth and pine. Missing something doesn’t make the other a negative, I just know what I love most in nature.
For now, it is time to say goodbye to life at sea. The experience as a whole was stellar, and this year ranks as one of the best of my life. There were highs and lows, happy times and frustrating times, but I’ll leave that for a full out article about living and working as a photographer at sea on a boat. Now, I want to highlight some of the places we visited around the Mediterranean, and what comes next!
SECULA & STAMORSKA //
NECUJAM //VIS ISLAND //KORCULA //STARI GRAD //HVAR //MLJET NATIONAL PARK //DUBROVINIK //
ATHENS//PERDIKA //ERMIONI //EPIDAVROS //AGISTRI //
WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?
For the past few weeks after leaving Greece, I’ve explored parts of Britain and Scotland and walking as much as possible since I haven’t had long strolls in months! Currently, I’m in western Scotland enjoying the crisp autumn air and the stunning Scottish Highlands. From here, as always, is up in the air, and as always, I’ll most likely decide new travel plans last-minute. But hey, that’s my way of traveling for better or worst, and always ends up with some sort of adventure. I haven’t seen Autumn in nearly 2 years now, so I’m fully engulfing myself in the orange and red and gold colors of fall as much as possible.
And there may have been a bit of leaf frolicking involved…