The Drifting Circus comes to town

starting out

The Drifting Circus gets ready to perform at dusk

by Christine Kling

Cruising boats and cruisers certainly do come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve seen tiny little midget boats under 30-feet out here in the Pacific as well as humongous catamarans and retired maxi racers put to new use as cruising boats. However, last evening we got to watch something that was certainly new to me.

humanboatThe Drifting Circus put on a performance at the Boatshed Restaurant here in Vuda Point. This circus troupe is essentially a floating commune of artists, musicians and acrobats. If you click on their link you will see that they call themselves the Alternative Sailing Community. They perform at resorts and on the street and pass the hat for tips. In the outer islands, they also perform in the villages, at hospitals and for children at schools. They are now a group of five boats and over thirty people, mostly twenty and thirty-somethings, and I was impressed by their show last night. While it wasn’t a polished show, it was fun and sweetly earnest. Wayne used the word “authentic” and that works, too. They kept their energy very high and really knew how to play to the crowd. They work at what they do, from acrobatics to tight-rope walking to belly dancing to clowning. The stunts they did with fire added just the right amount of breathless suspense. The instruments varied from guitars to banjo, accordion, flute, tambourine and drums. It was a great fun show, and when they passed the hat afterwards, we were happy to contribute.


Most of us have a difficult time managing life in the small space of our cruising boats no matter what the size. Each one of these boats has 6-10 people on board and they grow lots of food on board, too. It’s not a cruising lifestyle that would suit me, but the smiles and warmth from these folks was truly genuine. Maybe it’s something that works better for the young.

I believe artists should support each other and given that we writers want to be able to float around out here, write our books on the water and get paid for it, I say “Good on you!” to the artists of the Drifting Circus. If they drift your way, I hope you too will pitch a nice donation into their “Magic Hat.”

Fair winds!


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About Christine Kling

I have spent more than thirty years living on and around boats and cruising the waters of the North and South Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Caribbean. I’ve written articles and stories for many boating publications including Sailing, Cruising World, Motor Boating & Sailing, and The Tiller and the Pen. When I was married, I helped my husband build a 55-foot custom sailing yacht. After launching her, we sailed through the Panama Canal to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands where we chartered for over two years. While in the islands, I received my 100-ton Auxiliary Sail Captains license. It was that sailing experience that led me to set my first nautical suspense novel, SURFACE TENSION (2002), on the waterfront in Fort Lauderdale. Featuring Florida female tug and salvage captain, Seychelle Sullivan, the first book was followed by CROSS CURRENT (2004) and BITTER END (2005). The fourth book in the series, WRECKERS’ KEY was released in February 2007. At the end of the 2010-11 academic year, I took the motto of this blog to heart. I quit my day job as an English professor at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale (just when they offered me tenure, I said no thanks and took early retirement). I was living the dream of full-time cruising on board my 33-foot Caliber Talespinner on my very tiny pension and whatever I made from my books having parted ways with the big publishing establishment. I self-published two books on my own: a small collection of four short stories entitled SEA BITCH: Four Tales of Nautical Noir and my first stand-alone sailing thriller set in the Caribbean, CIRCLE OF BONES. In 2012 I was offered a publishing deal with Amazon's mystery/thriller imprint Thomas&Mercer and they reissued CIRCLE OF BONES. The sequel to that book, DRAGON'S TRIANGLE came out in June 2014. And as for me, I'm no longer a singlehander on my little boat. I met Wayne Hodgins in 2013 and after a whirlwind Skype courtship, I flew to meet him in Fiji and we sailed a nearly 2000 mile passage to the Marshall Islands for our "first date." We now sail together aboard LEARNATIVITY, a 52-foot motor sailor with our family including Barney, the Yorkshire Terror and Ruby, the Wonder Dog.
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2 Responses to The Drifting Circus comes to town

  1. Gail Isaacs says:

    I love people who think outside the “box!”

    __/)__Sail On
    Your favorite “Valentine” Clown

  2. Mary Jastrzebski says:

    Wow, looks and sounds like great fun!

Comments are closed.