Specialized ProfessionDue to demand, here ya go. IAmA Air Traffic Controller with the FAA. Ask me anything!
May 15th 2017 by AnImbroglio • 76 Questions • 85 Points
Hello all! I got a lot of requests for an AMA in a recent post I made, so here it is! Here's the basic story, when I was about 5 years old my parents, 2 doctors, decided they wanted to sail offshore. So, they took lessons, bought a boat, and we took off! We lived on the boat for several years, sailing along the West Coast, until through some unfortunate events the boat sank out at sea. Feel free to ask any and all questions, and I will do my best to answer! Since a lot of it is from memory, it may be slightly off in timeframe, so forgive me.
https://imgur.com/XkAulos Here's a photo of our second boat, Ra, for proof.
Edit* Ok everyone, thank you so much for the questions! I have to take a break now, my fingers are getting sore! I appreciate all of your questions and comments.
Never stop exploring!
Gold?! Why thank you kind stranger! You made my day :D
Is the job more about managing flight paths ahead of time, or more about fixing potential collisions with minutes left on CPA?
Hey, this is Leo and I'll be testing your ability to use Reddit. Can you respond to this question?
Mr Bacon - Would you like to see, and/or star in a Tremors remake??
Brings to mind the Wired article from 7/2012 - Russia’s Top Cyber Sleuth Foils US Spies, Helps Kremlin Pals - Kaspersky has 300 million customers. His geek squad uncovers US cyberweapons. And he has deep ties to the KGB’s successors in Moscow."
As an adult now, would you do it again? Alone? With your parents? Your own family? What would you different?
Oh it's way more about fixing future problems. I typically know 20 or 30 minutes ahead of time that two planes are gonna be in conflict. I just fix it right then.
we are working on that!
Hi! As i said earlier, this article is complete and utter BS.
Good question, now I probably wouldn't but i'm not really sure. I guess I would have to see what my child would be like and for that matter whoever I marry in the future. Not everyone can do boat life, and I wouldn't want to press that on my family. Alone, no way in hell, too dangerous and lonely. I'm a social guy, I wouldn't be able to handle it I don't think.
What part(s) of the article is BS?
Hey, Mr. Bacon! One of my favorite films you've starred in is James Gunn's Super. Did you enjoy working on that movie?
Also, how do you feel about the Kevin Bacon jokes on American Dad?
Do you use a user account with local admin rights on your machine?
I'm OPs mom and sailing was so awesome and you were so brace. What was your favorite part of sailing and living out at sea?
I think he's fantasising about an emergency situation where the pilot is unconscious, and he's the only one to land it.
Can confirm, this is mom! My favorite part was probably living in Mexico, the people were amazing, surfing each day and all that lobster.. oh man the lobster. Can't think of a better time :)
What does Wild Lens hope to accomplish with their series of films about the vaquita?
What's your first dog's name and mother's maiden name?
Nice try:-), and please note that phishing can be a punishable offense in the place you live in.
Yep! She saw the ama since it got so big.
Hey Kevin. Big fan.
I just recently watched the movie Cop Car and thought you were a great in it. So much fun to watch you be the bad guy.
Any plans to play a piece of human garbage again in the near future?
What are some of the myths about malware and cybersecurity that didn't hold water in the earlier days (say 1990-2005), but turned out to be real and threatening post that age?
Good question, was trying to recall such myths back from those days. Unrealistic myths, some ridiculous stuff never came into reality. But some bleak predictions like Internet worms, attacks on industrial systems, mobile malware, they all came true.
Why thank you! She's pretty damn cool, best mom I could ever ask for.
Does the Reagan firing of 11,000 striking air traffic controllers on Aug. 5, 1981 still live on in your field and its lore?
Well what are you as well as others doing to prevent this? I know it's probably something very dangerous but is there anyone at least attempting to take control of the situation?
You're quite adept at playing heroes and villains. Which one do you personally enjoy more? Cheers!!!
What was your reaction to having your executive charged with treason? What is your response to this article?
Yes, there are lots of groups involved in trying to stop this illegal trade. For our part - we produced a 30-min documentary about the issue with the goal of educating as many people as possible about what's going on. There are groups working in Mexico trying to find ways to shut down the illegal totoaba fishing, and groups working in China to try to stop the demand for totoaba swim bladders. The problem is that there is very little time left to save the vaquita - the species could be extinct by the end of this year.
i like deep well rounded characters
Unfortunately we have zero information about the case, it is classified, and the company is not involved in the investigation. I was very surprised because the arrested guy was very enthusiastic about fighting against cybercrime.
Sorry, I probably wrote that wrong, I meant my mother's mom was deceased by that time.
Do the the new artificial intelligence based malware detection systems copy your signatures?
What is your favourite memory from your time on the boat?
They put Reagan in an impossible spot. He really had no choice, so it's not about it being a good decision.
The time a whale followed us for about 2 days, or the time we found ourselves in a giant pod of dolphins. Both stand out as the best times of my life.
Are busy airports or slow airports seen as the best places to work in your profession?
Sigh. People suck.
Guess many have heard of the complexity and the difficulty of reversing Stuxnet, but I was wondering if there is a sample, or family, that had you or the team working long and hard to understand it? Or maybe just baffled or amazed by it's complexity or stupidity.
Pretty much anything that have made an impression.
I personally don’t analyze the code since 2007, so I suggest my GReAT guys can give a much better answer.
One of the most idiotic things I saw was a 13-byte MS-DOS computer worm which simply copied itself on the hard drive. Once.
Hmm... two things stick out in my mind. First, we went to this island called Cedros. The thing about cedros, is that going through the passage in the middle of the island seems like it'd be ok, but it's a nightmare. the wind is crazy and it nearly tipped us over, I really thought we were going to die there. Once we got out, it was fine, but damn that place. Second, I had a lot of trouble getting my "sea legs" so I would puke a ton, the first month of each trip out was just un-fun. Couldn't eat, hard to sleep, just uncomfortable and sickly. So yeah, those two are the only ones I can think of.
Kevin, how hot was it on a set of "Wild Things" with those hotties almost naked?
What is the process of finding a solution to a cyberthreat? Is it like coding in reverse, or more like chess, or does it depend from time to time?
No, they don't have towers dedicated to them. I'm a center controller (in the dark radar room). I'm the one that would guide you into an airport like that, and I control dozens of them.
99.99%+ of the incoming malicious code is done automatically by our self-learning systems. The rest goes to the hands of our virus analysts working around the clock, mostly their job is about reverse-engineering of malicious code. Very complicated cases go to our special team of experts, and large investigations look more like collecting a very big and complicated puzzle, not chess.
Yeah, but I wasn't on it for that event so I don't count it.
Hi Kevin Bacon, what is your advice on living a successful and happy life?
Eugene, do you use a password manager?
When you say giant pod of dolphins... do you mean 20? 100? I honestly just don't know what a giant pod would be, but it sounds fucking dope.
Oh they do all the time! All I need is a thousand feet between planes. But what happens when 35,000 feet is your only smooth altitude and everyone wants it? Gets tricky.
It was so large I couldn't see open water that didn't have a dolphin in it. 2000+ maybe? Hard to tell honestly.
Is Kennedy Steve a real person? If he is, is he a legend in the ATC community? Because he should be.
Matthew and Sean, do you plan to inform people in San Diego and Phoenix and Tucson and Los Angeles since they are the major population centers closest to the Gulf of California ? And how do you plan to inform then of your videos and the Vaquita? Do you plan on showing the film in Arizona and southern California?
When did you wrote your last line of code? And what was it?
First days of January 2010, location: Patriot Hills base, Antarctica.
I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing, it was so amazing.
For someone looking to get into working in ATC, not specifically in the US, where would you start?
Matthew and Sean, how do you plan to get people far far away from the Gulf of California in places like Iowa, Georgia, Massachusetts to care about an animal they have never seen and never heard of before?
Amazon Prime and "I Love Dick" in one sentence = You have my undivided attention. So what's the show about and what's your role encompass, Mr Bacon?
What was the last big threat that really blew you away with its ingenuity?
second question, what is your interaction with law enforcement like? Do you assist governments in apprehending the virus makers?
a whale followed us for about 2 days
can you speak more on that?
It really depends on your country. You can Google info on what's required, but outside the US, I really don't know.
- I’d need a lot of time to answer the first one. In short I can name Carbanak, Equation and Satellite Turla as those employing the most tricky tools. Check our reports for more details.
2-3. There are many investigations in many regions and we assist many national and international cyberpolice forces like Interpol and Europol to stop criminal schemes and arrest the attackers. Many cases.
Woke up one morning to a huge spraying sound, looked behind us and there was a whale about 30 ft back. Not sure what type, but it seemed to like us and followed us for the next couple days. Stayed behind in exactly the same spot, I think it thought we were a whale too. It was so cute and amazing, kid me nearly exploded from the awesomeness.
How come Kaspersky don't offer a free AV like many of your competitors do?
Ive heard that people are always surprised by how much whales stink. Did you get any funk off the fucker?
Also, did you ever hear it sing?
We already offer free solution in several regions, but later this year we’ll have some good global news. Pure free global solution (not a trial).
Maybe a little but nothing horrible, and unfortunately no I didn't hear it sing that I remember.
Have you played Flight Control (smartphone/tablet game)? Are you really good at it?
Sean and Matthew which charity or charities can Redditors support to help the Vaquitas?
Would you say you are more of a fancy bear or a cozy bear?
Did the boat sink while you were on it? Did you have to be rescued?
I have, and I'm decent. I don't think my job gives me any edge, though.
There are two groups here in the US that are deeply involved in vaquita conservation and could use all the support they can get, financial or otherwise - The Marine Mammal Foundation's Vaquita CPR program: http://www.nmmf.org/vaquitacpr.html And Viva Vaquita: http://www.vivavaquita.org/
There is also a grassroots program being run in Mexico that is directly supporting the Mexican fisherman who are opting to participate in vaquita conservation efforts - it's called Monitoreo Vaquita: http://www.monitoreovaquita.org/en/
You can also contribute to our film project about the vaquita, Souls of the Vermilion Sea. Although we've just released a 30-min version of the film, we are still shooting for a feature length documentary that will cover the full scope of this issue. Our production company, Wild Lens, is set up as a 501(c)3 non-profit - you can donate here: http://wildlensinc.org/donate/
My mom and I were not on the boat, so what happened was that my dad wanted to sail from San Diego to Hawaii. My mom had a bad feeling about it, and wouldn't go, so he decided to solo it. My mom and I flew over while he tried to go solo. Something went wrong and the boat took on water, he had to ditch into a life raft and got rescued 12 hours or so later by a cargo ship. We were stuck in Hawaii for about a year while they worked to make enough to go home.
My office is 5 meters away from some of my best researchers. And on my business trips I’m always in touch with our Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT)
Oh, I've got so many more too but I don't have photo proof for all of them unfortunately. Ran with the bulls in Spain at 15, climbed a mountain (I do have a pic of that one), got my scuba license as a kid and went scuba diving in Panama, checked out Morocco... So many adventures.
We didn’t see any real impact on our business, but all these stories, they don’t make me happy. But to some extent they give us something close to free advertising. But what makes me really feel good is how our international team, including in the U.S. is working great with all this media pressure.
Yes and yes, it was a mixed bag but I wouldn't trade it for anything. some of the best years of my life!
What hawaiian island did you live on? I thought this was a funny post to stumble across because I lived on a boat (docked in a harbor) in oahu for about a year. Boat life is definitely not for everyone, but it sure is memorable and fun.
As much as I'd like to say I do, I really don't. We don't have many UFOs that I've seen. Sorry!
20 years ago we were a tiny, globally invisible Moscow-based bootstrap. We simply didn’t have a lot of resources, and we knew we were losing opportunities. So first of all, we made the world’s best antivirus engine, and we licensed it to few other AV companies, because we didn’t have resources to develop a product. We had 5 engineers. We couldn’t do enterprise products, network security.
But ten years ago, based on our success, we invested in a wide range of security technologies, including our unique proprietary secure operating system.
I lived on Oahu! Right in Honolulu :D How funny.
As a pilot what things do you like us to do and what can we do to make your job easier?
Does the company have any plans to move farther away from signature-based AV to the more "next gen" solutions like Cylance or SentinelOne?
Why'd you have to stay in Hawaii - didn't they have insurance on the boat? I mean, I just assumed "whoops, I sunk the boat" was just pops pulling off a classic insurance scam.
Love this question, and I'd love you to answer the reverse!
The biggest pain is when you're flying VFR. Call me up, and say "Center, this is N123FR." That's it. When I can, I'll say "N123FR, go ahead." You'll say "request flight following to wherever." I'll them give you a squawk code. I'll get you radar contact, them I'll ask you the type of aircraft. That's it, we're done.
Instead, they all give me every single bit of info in one go, most I won't remember, and expect me to type it all in without the slightest heads up, all while tying up my frequency when I have dozens of other planes, and making me get them to repeat virtually all of it.
As far as IFR, you're typically fine. Just check on with the call sign and altitude, and listen up to the radio, that's it.
We are not relying on signature-based AV only for many-many years, check this whitepaper
About ‘next-gen’ solutions, way too often we don’t see them in regular independent tests. How do you they know they are effective, because they tell you so?
No insurance that I know of, pretty much everything we had went down with the boat so it was pretty devastating. We really didn't have any savings so that's why we had to stay there for a while, we were able to move back after about 8 months though.
I’m not an expert in such software, I can only say that we have a browser plugin in our consumer product that blocks tracking by websites.
Unfortunately, not really. The circumstances surrounding being there made it hard, and it was tough to integrate. I got beat up a lot, called "howle" because I was white, and overall I just didn't like it. Beautiful place, but not for me.
Pretty stressful. Hours and hours of boredom combined with moments of sheer terror, as we like to say. But if you like the challenge and want to be where the action is, it's a great job!
My mom describes it like this " I felt like my mom (deceased) was screaming at me not to go, so I listened." There was also an electrical storm as he went out that fried the boats wiring so he actually had to come back and let my mom fix it, as she was the electrics person.
In future we need to move from security to immunity, we need to have immune platforms and network infrastructure that would be immune to cyberattacks.
Me too, sadly right after my dad was rescued we heard about another family that was missing and the "eperb", a locator beacon that sends a distress signal, was set off. We told the coast guard we would shelter them when they were found, but unfortunately the life raft was found with no people in it. It was a heavy blow, since that could have very easily been us.
I'm nowhere near an airport. I'm in a dark room with radar scopes everywhere. I control way more airspace than them. And way more planes. It's now like an office, with really big screens and really bad lighting.
And no, there are too many pilots, usually. Unless I know them outside work, I'll never recognize them, nor them us.
It’s a long story, but it’s going on and going well. Check for details on my blog
Not really, there was a lot of maintenance to do, we had electronics so we could watch movies, play video games and listen to music. There was also fishing, swimming, and other fun stuff. Also, it was before internet was really popular (at least for us) so I had a much easier time relaxing and not being go go go.
The short-term is to be number one company in cybersecurity. The long-term - to introduce the new immunity standards for everything digital
Oh yeah, usually nothing is around so it's pretty safe, you stay close to the boat and since everything thinks it's a big animal nothing comes close. I did start to get that "i'm being watched" feeling on occasion and would hop out.
How much training and time does it take to enter the field? What are some prerequisites?
How many times could have something gone pretty bad but has been prevented by your job?
Favorite malware and why? When interviewed for the Vice documentary, you commented a bit on Stuxnet, but what else has been of high interest to you.
Have you discussed this point of your childhood with your parents as an adult?
Maybe to see what they were thinking when they decided to up and live on a boat, since I'd guess that wasn't a spur of the moment idea. Did they plan it out with a child in mind? Why not let you in on it beforehand?
Varies. I went to school for it, so that was 3 years (I already had a degree). Then you go to Oklahoma City for 3-4 months and do their academy. Then you train on the job for anywhere between 2-4 years. So quite a bit. As to prerequisites, you have to be healthy, under 31, and have good vision.
And literally every single day. There are over 65,000 flights a day.
Ask the same question to your dentist, does he/she have a favourite cavity?
Yes, I've discussed it, they basically say that they thought it would be an interesting way to raise me and they wanted to live their dreams. With not telling me, I think they figured it would be easier to convince me once it was already in motion. I can't blame them, but sometimes I do feel like I didn't get a chance to really have a solid foundation in my childhood, but I think what I got instead was pretty worth it. I don't really know though, I'll have to talk about it with my mom sometime soon.
Sergey has left the company, but I will say hi to Vartan! From whom?
I loved that show and totally!
I'd imagine your job has the potential to be stressfull and possibly scary. What has been the scariest moment at work?
Remember that comment when some guy thought your parents were running from something?
Had a pilot go NORDO (that's when, for whatever reason, they aren't on my frequency anymore. They didn't get the right one, misheard, or their radios crapped out). It happens fairly often, and there are a number of things we can do to get you back in the right place.
This particular guy, however, went NORDO at precisely the worst time. He was going eastbound, which means he was at an odd altitude. He lost his radio, and his flight plan then had him turn southbound. That means he was supposed to be at an even altitude, which he obviously wasn't.
There were about a dozen different planes going northbound that were at his altitude, so he ended up running one heck of a gauntlet through all these people as I was descending and climbing them to get them out of his way.
Then, apparently in an act of sheer ignorance on the pilot's part, he decided to choose an even altitude all by himself, knowing he should probably be at one.
Remember all those planes I had to move out of his way? He managed to put himself right back into them. When you have closure rates of over 1,000 knots, that's not a lot of time to react to those things. At the end, my asshole was clenched so tight that when I stood up, the seat came with me.
Ha, yeah, it would be hilarious if they were, but I think they were just running from a boring life.
How many people do you work with at a time? How often do you work with other ATCs to solve a problem?
Went to University of Minnesota - started in Biochemistry. Good luck! Let me know if you need help with Gen Chem 1 - it can be brutal
There are 270 controllers where I work. At any time, about 2/3rds are there.
And every five minutes or so, I'm calling another facility to coordinate something. So yeah, a lot.
Why thank you, I might just take you up on that :)
Best of luck with getting into the U! Currently studying biochemistry there and love it. Tons of opportunities to get involved in really cool research.
No, it's annoying as crap. Gets tangled and clogged all the time.
Thanks! I'm super excited to hear back from them, hopefully they aren't full already.
Do you have some stuff you can't talk about due to signing a NDA?
Sorry if it's off-topic, but could you elaborate on the crypto currencies comment?
Did you trade them like other currencies, like Forex? How did you get into that?
Nope! We're federal. I can't talk about certain military operations or where Air Force One is going, but that's about it.
So I first heard about Bitcoin years ago, and it interested me. I kept an eye on it but never really explored it fully, until a few months back I really got into it. You trade it on several exchanges, like poloneix, kraken, or bitstamp, and it's sort of like Forex I believe. I'm still in the learning stages of it but with how much crypto currencies have grown recently I've done quite well, I got my mom into it as well and she's done amazingly. I would suggest the bitcoin subreddit for more info if you are interested.
How accurate was Pushing Tin? Totally accurate, right? Like in every detail? Thanks, thought so.
Did you notice a difference on school level when you returned to normal school aged 9? Were you homeschooled all the time?
Actually, I was a bit more advanced when I got back, I eventually was able to finish school a year early. My schooling was very...odd, so it's hard to say exactly. I moved a lot even after I got back and did all types of school, online, normal high school, college classes in the start of my junior year. So it's a little messy to say the least.
From an aspiring air traffic controller, Any tips for taking the air traffic controller test?
Where do you dream location to work?
What'd you get a degree in? What do you do for a living now?
If St. Thomas paid the same as where I work, I'd transfer in a heartbeat. lol
As to tips... There are versions of the test online, I recommend them. Otherwise, just know the 7110.65, get tons of sleep, and be prepared for a long ass test!
Have my associates in science, working towards my BS in biochem. Right now I do the "wait for school to accept me" gig, but usually I'm a caretaker for disabled adults.
My pops is a mechanic and taxis planes on a regular basis. With a runway closed at his airport there was a traffic jam and he was stuck getting the plane to a gate that was waiting. Controller told him to "expedite." So naturally never getting a chance to, he guns the bird fast enough to set the alarms off on the plane that was about to land that another might be going fast enough to take off. When was the last time you had an alarm go off like this?
If a V-Birth is the little cabin up front, where is the C-Section on the boat?
I don't control at an airport, I'm a center controller. But I can assure you, when we use the word "expedite" or "immediately", we're really not kidding. I fully expect you to put passengers against the wall or their seats right now.
More towards the middle ;)
Yeah you're a child but your parents are adults....in a presumably sexually active relationship.....trapped on a boat for months with a small kid and no bedroom...
Loud music and a curtain, I would go to bed... They didn't... Now I need to take a shower, I feel dirty.
Another one just so this doesn't potentially get lost in the other comment I made.
What are some of the funniest/most memorable radio transmissions you've had?
My dream is to do exactly what your parents did (minus the sinking part). Any advice/warnings?
Almost no way I can list them... Sometimes, there won't be many planes in my airspace, and they'll get worried they haven't heard from me in a while. So a pilot will say "You still there?"
I'll say "Man, I have 18 years still to go..."
Take good lessons for a long time before you do it, plan it out well in advance. Find a boat that's stable, not to damaged, and comfortable. Make sure to bring plenty of entertainment. One warning, everyone is sick for a while first going out, keep garbage bags nearby. Keep a life jacket on, always, you never know what might happen. Don't go alone, solo sailing is difficult to say the least and really lonely regardless.
Would I be able to bring a dog?
I hated my previous career, and the guy that built my dad's house was a retired controller that took up contracting. He became a friend of the family, and told me about this job. I went back to school, and here I am.
Actually, we had a german shepard named max that we tried to bring but he hated it so much we had to give him away. It was really sad since I had him since I was little, but the poor guy wouldn't eat or drink. I wouldn't recommend it, but some dogs do ok. Depends on the dog I guess.
Hey! I'm trying to get into a similar job up here in Canada, do you get a lot of interaction with the folks doing the same job across the border up here?
Shit sorry to hear that man. We had to give away a dog when I was about 8 too, hard times. Thanks for the info, I'm guna start sailing lessons so early days yet but I've got a boat savings fund and I'm 100% guna do it. Might possibly have to drop you a message further down the line : )
Please do! Good luck on the journey, I'm sure you will love it :)
Hi, and thanks for doing this IAMA for us.
Maybe too late to ask another question, but here goes...
1) Your opinion on Regan's air traffic controller Union busting? **
2) Do you see need for a Union? And, who now represents A.T.C.'s in bargaining for heath benefits, wages, etc, if there even is any?
Edit: ** I'll can see how the Union handled their strike wrongly, though what they were fighting for was valid.
Honest question - where do you get your mail?
They put Reagan in an impossible spot. He really had no choice but to fire them. I agree, they were fighting for good things, but that wasn't smart.
I do see the need in my industry. It's funny, I mainly work with very conservative Republicans, and they typically hate unions. Virtually all of them in my job are in the Union. The FAA can be tough on controllers, and we've seen bad stuff happen to our pay, time off, and benefits before. It's the Union that keeps them honest.
I think we had a family friend hold it for us and then we would get it when we came back after the 6-8 months, but i'll have to get back to you on that one since i'm not sure.
Thanks mate, just general curiosity, that's all.
Of course! It's a good question, I never really thought about it.
Do you have multiple chances when you make a negligent error, or it's one chance and that's it?
Communication was probably tough but I'm sure you learned the languages, right?
We are taught to always have multiple back up plans, because plan A usually doesn't work.
An error for us is anything inside 5 miles, with a few exceptions. Of course I can still fix the problem if two planes get inside that before they hit, but I'll definitely be panicked if that happens.
Yep! Learned Spanish when we lived in Mexico, I got pretty decent at it too, although after we left I didn't really have any way to practice it so I lost it until years later when I took school classes in it. It came back pretty easily though.
What are some of the most creepiest/chilling experiences you've faced in the open sea?
It's getting larger, but at current, I'd say about 5 percent are female. It's been make dominated for a while.
I would say storms on the open sea are the hands down, most terrifying thing ever. Huge, macker waves, just such raw power it makes you feel tiny.
Is your nickname the Nard Dog?
Why did y'all stop sailing? What did your parents move on to?
Boat sank when Dad tried to foolishly solo sail from Cali to Hawaii, he was rescued but we were stuck in Hawaii for nearly a year and it wrecked my parents marriage. When we got back to Oregon they split and life got a little shitty for a while.
Do you sail on your own now? If not, do you think you'll go back to it? I'm curious what changes you might have noticed in the past ten years regarding new systems and technology for sailors. Also, were you part of any communities of sailors on the west coast? My parents live aboard a 42' Tayana and are going through the Bahamas currently, seems like a lot of work but a really nice way to live.
I don't sadly, I did a little bit of day sailing a dew years ago with my mom but it hasn't really been my thing oddly enough. I got my fill those years growing up, plus I get motion sick really bad now and school got in the way. I'd imagine the technology is just incredible now, I would love to see what a modern boat has under the hood so to speak. That's awesome that your parents are living the boat life, it is an amazing way to live and I hope one day i can do more day cruising in nice warm places like that.
I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was about 10 or so lol
No, nothing like that. Massive storms, but no rogue waves.
A mix of both, we would stock up on non-perishables before heading out and then supplement with tuna that we would catch. You get sick of tuna though pretty fast, so one time we happened to pass another boat out in the middle of nowhere and we radio'd them to see if they wanted to trade anything. They were out of movies, and we wanted meat which they had! So we put the movies in a waterproof bag and tossed it to them as we passed each other, and they threw us the meat. It was an amazing moment and so funny.
Did you ever come across any sharks? They're my favorite animal, but I've only been able to see/swim with them once in the wild. If so, what types?
We accidentally swam near great whites in Guadalupe, didn't see them but the locals we're screaming at us when we swam in. It was terrifying once we realized what they were saying.
In those years, were you introduced to the internet and did you have access? If not, how was turning back to shore on a world filled with it?
No internet, didn't really have it until we stopped sailing and even then it was dial up so I never really used it. I got my first real taste of it around age 11 or 12, and by then I had very much readjusted to land life so it wasn't much different then other kids my age.
You should write a book. What did you do daily if you were offshore for months on end? I'm guessing there was no internet so what was daily life like?
I'm actually writing one! I have a lot of other stories to tell, some amazing and some terrible, but I've always wanted to write a book so I figured why not? Daily life depended on things like the weather and where we were, if it was calm or stormy. Usually it would just be taking turns steering, setting lines to catch fish, plotting the course for the day. I had school work to do, as I was homeschooled, and then we would make dinner and my dad or mom would read to me before bed. We also had wind generator and electronics, so I could watch movies, listen to music or even play video games! I had a PS1 at the time, it was awesome.
Are you me? My parents did the same thing but from age 9 to 12 for me. We have a 49' ketch that we sailed down the west coast to Panama from Seattle. I wonder if we met/crossed paths.. The cruising community is pretty small and it seems like the same time range. 2000-2003.
Quite possibly! That would be amazing if we had, I do remember meeting a lot of boat kids while sailing, but we all went along our ways. Literal passing ships in the night.
Two questions: First, Did you guys live of massive cases of bottled water or figure out a filtering system? Second, how did you (or I guess more so your parents) stay up to date on news or culture related stuff? Did you ever feel like when you got to Hawaii you maybe were smarter but not "down with the times"?
You know, it's a little hard to remember if we stayed current or not. We would talk to other boaters we met, we never went more then a week or two without seeing someone so we weren't fully out of touch. For the water, we had big tanks and we had to ratio, we also had emergency filters in case something happened.
With all that time spent at sea, did you or your parents ever experience anything unexplained?
Hmm... Not that I can remember, I guess the one thing that was kind of weird was this one night, we were sleeping when all of a sudden my mom got up because she felt weird. We were anchored off this island, next to another boat, and she said when she got up she decided to go above deck and make sure they were ok. Sure enough, there was smoke coming out of their boat because an electrical fire had started and they didn't notice since they were asleep. She rushed over on our little dingy, and was able to put it out after waking them up. It was amazing, they would have probably died if she hadn't seen it happen. Still can't explain how she knew.