John Dunaway

Captain. Sailor. Waterman. Maritime photographer. Adventurer.


How many countries have you traveled to? Any favorites?
35. Argentina offered my favorite cultural experience and Sierra Leone altered my perspective on what it means to truly be happy in life.
What is it about the sea that draws you to it?
At times it is an invisible force much like a magnet to iron. Knowing that your survival depends upon the skill sets and determination within drives my ambition. Once out there, a serenity overcomes me that can be as simple as the motion of a calm Ocean to a fleck of salt spray from the hull. The sea is not forgiving, nor does she care, the individual must weather the storm.
Who do you most admire, and why?
My wife. She keeps the operation moving 24/7/365. While I'm at sea, my mind can remain focused on the task at hand because I know she has everything else squared away at home. This can be a terrible burden for seafarers. Once on vacation, she's onboard for my shenanigans, but offers up some restraint that I need for balance in life.

John Dunaway and his wife, Kim Dunaway, on vacation seeking epic surf breaks (and icy cold beverages) in Nicaragua.

If you were asked to give advice to someone who wanted to do what you do, what would you tell them are the three most important things to focus on?
This is not a life of leisure. There is a lot of work to be done everyday and we don't always have time to run around in port.
Work hard.
Your attitude will heavily dictate your experience.
Share a quote or mantra you try to live by.
"No matter how important a man at sea may consider himself, unless he is fundamentally worthy the sea will some day find him out."
-Felix Riesenberg
This applies to everything I do, not just life at sea. Make yourself worthy.

John and his father have matching tattoos on their feet, and matching tattooed boat shoes to match. The Sailor Jerry style tattoos, a rooster and a pig, are symbolic to many sailors because the animals were historically kept in wooden crates on ships during transport, and urban legend says that these crates would float if a ship were to capsize or sink. Sailors get tattoos of these animals on their feet because legends say that they will keep sailors afloat, just like the animals, if lost at sea during a shipwreck.

What’s your connection to Sperry?
I love the sea. Sperry loves the sea. I was packing for my first voyage at sea when my dad took me to get a pair of Sperrys. He said that I'd be spending many hours on my feet, climbing ladders and on wet decks, so my usual tennis shoes weren't going to cut it. This is what he wore to work on ships, so would I.
You just won the lottery. What’s the first thing you do?
Hire an accountant and financial planner! I want this to be a prolonged life of exploration.

"No matter how important a man at sea may consider himself, unless he is fundamentally worthy the sea will some day find him out." -Felix Riesenberg


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