Before Steve and I started sailing, we had nice homes with room for just about whatever hobby we wanted to do. We'll call this time period 'BS', for Before Sailing. I used to be a machine knitter. Machine knitting takes up lots of space, needs lots of storage space for supplies, needs a room with a door to shut out the noise, good lighting, etc. It doesn't transition well to boat life. And since I can't hand knit at all, knitting is no longer a hobby of mine.
Also BS, Steve was a beer brewer. He'd spend all his time in the garage, cooking up batches of the stuff and doing a lot of sampling. Now that we're on board, he's become a rum connoisseur. We've visited most of the distilleries in the east Caribbean and have evaluated them all. He's currently working on spicing our rum, trying to get the Captain Morgan flavor. This also involves a lot of sampling. Is this a hobby?
I also have an extremely green thumb and love to have a house full of beautiful plants and trees. Alas, another hobby that doesn't transition to boat life. I have one plant on board, a ficus benjamin that I bonsai'd back in '96 and can't part with. It's still tiny, but finding a safe place for it is a challenge.
Finding hobbies to do on board has been harder to do than I thought. I'm actually sitting here trying to think of what I do now that I would consider a hobby. Watching the sunset? I guess photography would qualify. It's one thing I'm constantly trying to improve and learn more about. But, nice cameras and salt water can be a bad mix, so it's also a challenge to carry stuff around and not damage it in the dinghy or climbing in and out of the boat and up and down docks.
I'm also a voracious reader. I'll literally read about anything if it's written well enough. One of the great things about all the little marinas with book swap shelves is that I never know what I'll find to read next. I like Sci-fi and there's usually some really old stuff collecting dust on the back of the shelf that I'll bring home. But, books and boat life don't always mix, either. They weigh a lot and take up a lot of space. They always seem to be under the one leak we have, where ever it is. E-readers seem to be the way to go, but I just don't really like mine. It's just not the same.
So as far as hobbies on board go, I'd have to say they have more to do with location and opportunity than anything else. For example: when we're in the Caribbean I love to snorkel and swim and do it whenever I can. Not so much when we're on the east coast. I love to cook and when we were in Trinidad we had a great time shopping at the local market and trying to reproduce some of the Indian dishes we had there. When we spent a lot of time in Martinique, I worked hard at learning french and reading the dictionary (yes, I will read anything) to find the right words. I think we have to be very flexible as cruisers, be willing to put the interests we have on the back burner and try something new, that just might fit into this lifestyle a little better.
If you're interested in more on the subject, here are some more blogs to check.
June 1: svnorthfork.blogspot.com
June 2: ploddinginparadise.blogspot.com
June 3: morejoyeverywhere.blogspot.com
June 4: sailcelebration.blogspot.com