Two closely related pieces of equipment are emotional lifesavers for living aboard in a coastal anchorage or out at sea, a satellite email transceiver and computer. During a circumnavigation, I often took refuge in therapy sessions with the computer through extensive journal entries and intimate conversations with friends. I would not have done this with paper and pencil. There is something satisfying in shaping and reshaping a thought in a word processor until it feels just perfect.
Being able to transmit the journal to a friend by satellite from the most remote corners of the world completed an important psychological connection. At times, it was an emotional release for a stressful moment. At other times, it was simply a need to share something beautiful or strange.
I feel that satellite communications by telephone or email is revolutionizing cruising. It provides an added measure of safety and the all-important feeling of staying in touch. Offshore passages or simple coastal cruising will feel a lot less intimidating and emotionally disconnected if sailors know they can stay in touch.
Of course, some see this development as the antithesis of getting away from it all. Different strokes for different folks.