Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Back on the Water

We are cruisers again. We arrived back from the US in the middle of August and just didn’t know what we were going to do. Everything was up in the air. But the Lady Fortune has a way of working her magic and handed us a little road trip down the Whitsundays. We had been hanging out with friends for a week when I had the brainwave that Bryce should go back up to Maggie and get Batty and bring her back down to the Whitsundays.  

It is by no means hard sailing (assuming the weather cooperates) to get from Magnetic Island to the Whitsundays but they are long days (assuming you stop to sleep at night) and it’s not how I wanted our introduction to sailing with two little kids to be. What we needed was nice, easy breezy, 3-4 hour sails, at least until we worked up to anything bigger. This is, funnily enough, exactly the type of sailing you find around the Whitsundays. 

Assuming there were no surprises, Bryce could easily single hand Batty (and to be honest, does most of the time). But being a long passage, he wanted to get some company and help. His departure coincided with the end of Magnetic Island Race Week and fortunately, he was able to find some willing crew. They had an uneventful, and dare I say, relaxing, trip down and just like that, Batty was in the Whitsundays.
White Sand!
So we have been out sailing, enjoying the magic that is these islands. If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you will have seen some of the amazing places we’ve been. Our first trip out was for about three weeks. We met up with different friends on two occasions and they were able to bring us fresh supplies, which we gratefully accepted and exchanged for our rubbish for them to take back in. Fair, right?! We could have survived on the food we had but the infusion of fresh produce was greatly appreciated. We buddy-boated with another kid boat for awhile and then joined up with a rendezvous of 4 kid boats ( 8 kids under 6 = insanity but fun)! Water was always our limiting factor. We carry about 700 L of water in our tanks and up until we knew we were heading back into Airlie to resupply, we were very conservative and did not run out.
The Boat-moms (and a baby) escape!

We have just a quick 48 hours back in Airlie Beach where we saw some friends, picked up an outboard, re-provisioned and filled up our gas and water tanks and then we escaped Airlie Beach as it became unbearable in the northerly winds and headed back out to the islands. The sail out was unpleasant but very fast and short and we are now sitting comfortably in the flat waters of Beach 25 opposite the bustle of Hamilton Island. We aren’t sure where we are headed next, we are just recovering from a whirlwind few days and will then move on. There are lots of anchorages that are only safe and comfortable in Northerly winds that we don’t normally have access to so we are hoping to check them out. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fear vs. Danger

I wrote this post several weeks ago and while it’s still very relevant, in light of the two shark attacks in our backyard in the last 48 hours, there is definitely some processing I need to do about that (see below where I mention my fear of sharks)! I touch on that soon but for now, enjoy!

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First, stop everything and go and watch this video.

Go ahead. I’ll wait!




Back?

What did you think? Pretty inspiring, right? 

Now… confession time! I, by nature, tend to be a pretty fearful person. I’m afraid of flying, crocodiles, sharks, and open water (cringe) to name a few. So you may wonder how it is that I ended up living on a sailboat? Well I don’t like to miss out on anything, I’m generally up for trying something at least once. I like adventure and I love to travel but I’m also a homebody, so sign me up for being able to take my home with me! For the most part, we have had an amazing experience on this particular adventure. My rose-tinted contacts definitely help!

But more than once recently, I’ve felt over this crazy life we lead. Can we please just get a house, settle down and be normal? Please!?!? I could do that… SOOO easily! This life is hard sometimes. We lack the conveniences of land life, everything takes longer (Grocery shopping can be a full day event), and it really is a lesson in slowing down. Water restrictions, internet restrictions and even power restrictions are everyday. We live on top of each other. Every aspect of life requires thought. When you are out at anchor experiencing all of the amazingness that come with this lifestyle, it’s easier to slow down and disconnect but when trying to merge the two (land and sea) life becomes a bit tricky. Earmuffs for Batty but my mind goes all: I don’t want to live boat life on land. I want to live land life on land! Screw the boat. Let’s get a house!

And what are those amazing aspects of cruising that I mentioned? The ones that make it all worth while!

         Sunrises and Sunsets. The amazing friends we’ve made on our journey. The cruising  community that has our back both virtually and in real life. Being the only boat in an  anchorage and the first footsteps on the beach in the morning. Seeing humpback  whales surface right next to your boat. Having a pod of dolphins swim around your boat  as you are sailing along. Hiking to the top of mountains only accessible by water and  staring down at the world. Being off-grid and (for the most part, self-   
         sufficient). Carrying all food for a month with you, making it last and keeping it  interesting (Yes, a blessing and a curse but a challenge that is right up my alley!).  Walking everywhere. Experiencing the kindness of strangers. Viewing the Milky Way in  the pitch blackness. Learning about the stars, and plumbing and electricity. The ever-    
         changing backyard.
Perfection.
We haven’t even left Australia yet so I can’t even include experiencing different cultures, languages and food! Oh, the food! And the education our girls, but really we all, are going to get! Don’t even get me started how much that excites me! I can’t wait!

Another confession. I’m also pretty stubborn. So when there are people that tell me “You can’t be on the boat with two small children,” my automatic reflex is to rebel. The quickest way to get me to do something is to tell me that I can’t! If you are interested, Behan from Sailing Totem keeps a running list of all of the kid boat blogs out there. We are not alone. If fact, we may even be tame compared to some!

So where does the video come in? I like to watch Chris Hadfield’s TED talk whenever I need some help putting things in perspective. A reminder that what we are doing, actually isn’t so scary. So can I get over my fears? Sure! They’re always going to be there in the back of my mind, as they should. Some fear is healthy, it keeps you on your toes and helps garner respect for the things you are afraid of. The fear is in my head. Dangers are real but we can mitigate them by taking precautions as needed.

Now we just need to get and stay out of crocodile territory and I’ll be fine! (Seriously though!)

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Those of you who are cruisers, what would you add to the above list of AMAZING things about the cruising lifestyle?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

One Year On

My, how our lives have changed! It’s been one year since we last updated you on our whereabouts so here’s the recap!

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We spent the 2017 season buddy boating with another kidboat, Madam Wong and capped off the season with a trip out to the reef! An adrenaline-filled experience that falls in our Top 3 amazing cruising moments. We will fill you in, I promise! We finished off our winter in the Whitsundays and headed back north to Magnetic Island for the summer.

We had arranged to housesit over the summer and enjoyed the luxury of doing boat jobs while not living on the boat and luxuriated in the extra space and ease that land life provides. We took everything off the boat and gave her a good clean. We sorted through all of the random things that had been hidden under beds and in deep cupboards for 5 years and got rid of a lot of junk. Sound advice from the legendary Lin and Larry Pardey. The engine got a complete service and the exhaust elbow replaced. We replaced the autopilot remote and had several other electrical jobs done.

 In March, we gained another little lady crew member. Bryce is really outnumbered now! With two under two on the boat, we toyed with the idea of giving boat life a break for awhile. While we briefly contemplated moving to Papua New Guinea, we went to the US for a couple of months to figure it out and ultimately, completed our circle by returning back to Magnetic Island!

 So that’s where we are and at this point we still aren’t sure what we are going to do. Being on the boat in a marina is a compromise for now but we aren’t sure whether we are ultimately going to be pulled one way or the other. We have lots to figure out and will keep you posted as it develops!