It has been awhile since I have written. Inundated with a ridiculous home school math schedule to keep the last 2 months of our stay in New Zealand was less than fun, but New Zealand over all was amazing. We managed to get on ‘heaps’ of hiking and biking and saw some of the most breathtaking scenery. I truly loved learning NZ vocabulary slang: “Good on you”, “heaps” , “I’m keen” , “sweet as” , “pop on a jug”…. I got a lot of laughs with some of my Kiwi friends I made during my stay in Queenstown as I sometimes just had no idea what they meant! I had the wonderful experience of working in a salon part time while there, and became close with Deborah, the owner, and met some of her incredibly talented co-workers and colleagues. I spent a weekend away with some of them working on a social project that develops sustainable beauty from the inside out with Deborah, Jacks, and Sharon called “Women on the Move”. We also made some great new friends through the Wakatipu Yacht club especially Nikki & Hamish who took us under their wing and made sure we were always included which was incredibly kind. We met ‘heaps’ of others too as the kids participated in a few regattas in the Open Bic fleet. But as the season turned from summer to fall, it quickly got chilly and being that we are “sun-chasers”, well, it was clearly time to leave. We made our way over to the Brisbane coast. Sam, Max & Sara finished their final Math tests, and we took a week off from home school for “spring break” hitting the Gold Coast’s many theme parks, water parks, and beaches while the boat was still getting some work done. The Gold Coast was great, had incredible weather and we encountered very friendly Aussies! The Commonwealth Games (like the Olympics) were on and all the public parks had giant TV screens where you could sit and watch the games all over. I got to run everyday along the “Borobi Trail” a paved walkway that went along the entire beach front that led to the different events. We went to different public performance art events, and saw some concerts on the beach. A really fun fantastic way to get reacquainted with Alyosha before heading back to sea. I write this as we are under sail, currently heading up the Australian coast headed to Tangolooma (see kids blogs about that) and Lady Musgrave Island.
Lady Musgrave island was stunning and it was a fun way to taste the Great Barrier Reef. We walked around the interior of the island that filled with so many different species of birds we have never seen before. So many roosting in the treetops, nesting in the sand, and running around-so many birds everywhere, it smelled of bird poop. Outside the tree line was gorgeous sand and coral and shells that you could walk around the whole island in about 40 minutes. It was a nice sanctuary for a day as we had to change our plans to return to the mainland on AU to pop into this little town of Gladstone to repair the starter of our starboard engine that blew up (we were lucky it was just a small smokey fire and we got it under control quickly) AND the generator went up a few hours later which was incredibly irritating as we had JUST serviced the engines and generator not even a week prior! So we are sitting in this town which we were told was a dump and that description couldn’t be further from the truth as Gladstone is a super cute quaint little town with great little boutiques and restaurants, free wifi in the library square, clean manicured safe parks and trails throughout. We will now have to skip our next island we were planning on going to and head straight up to the Whitsundays Island group as we are pushing the time table to arrive in Darwin so Kids & I can catch our flights home. It is a bummer as this coastline has so much to see.
Life in New Zealand
Well, I have to say The kids are kicking butt- doing amazing with homeschooling— BUT homeschooling sucks. Boat schooling wasn’t all that either, but since we could stay less structured and do things at our pace, it was ok-ish. Trying to maintain an insane pace of keeping up with all the assignments and an online course that must be finished before we leave NZ, the homeschool venture has been trying to say the least. I hate being the teacher, the enforcer, the structure keeper, the grader, editor, and all around bad guy when it comes to school. Steve is much more effective at it than me (thank God) and well, let us just say my future as a homeschool parent is dim. I so miss the Kids’ school (Friends School Baltimore rocks, BTW) and I miss the parental support, the community and the environment of their school. If only I could transplant that here to the most beautiful amazing place in the world. I would relocate here forever…but there are those things like, well, family….friends…. you know—-
Queenstown, NZ is a fabulous place. We arrived here mid-November after landing in Brisbane, Australia. The boat got pulled onto the hard and is sitting at Boat Works getting some minor repairs and a little facelift. Cheers to Bobby Cooper who has been so helpful in looking after Alyosha and facilitating the work getting done! Definitely not how I ever imagined our relationship going when I first met him & his lovely family on their boat, Avanti many moons ago in Moorea!
My momma came to visit us here and we had some fun-filled days with ‘Nay-Nay’! We watched the whole season 2 of Stranger Things with her and she started calling New Zealand “The Upside Down”. We went on tours, drank wine, rode boats, hiked, and basically burned her out, but only had 2 weeks to squeeze everything in. We have been here only 2 months and have 2 1/2 left, but have only gotten to do maybe 1/5 of the things we want to- so much to do and see!! Nays was here for American Thanksgiving and we celebrated a day early with Steve. He had to return to Brisbane for a few days to check on the boat. Anyhow, we had one of our favorite meals, from Pedro’s House of Lamb- roasted lamb & scalloped potatoes. Unbelievably delish! Then the following day took her to our other favorite place, Fergberger. The BEST (NO LIE) Hamburgers in the world.
We had our friends, The Moon Family come visit for Christmas. Repeat Pedro’s House of Lamb for Christmas eve, and of course Fergburgers after a long day of biking. The Moons also got the full Queenstown tour by us, showing off our new hometown away from home. Steve was the official activity planner/itinerary follower/super host/bicycle schlepper/sherpa. We went and did just about everything you can do here in 5 days! Mountain Karting, biking many trails, a quick look at bungee jumping (no one did it) quick wine tasting, hiking, waterfalls, lake trails, pump tracks, biking trails, river treks, jet boating, zip lining, and lots of eating! It was a great whirlwind week of fun with them.
So Happy New Year! 2018 has been quiet so far. We’ve Just checked out a few new hikes, and we went back to the grind of homeschool, to driving 2 1/2 hrs each week one way to the ice rink, a weekly visit to the gondola for downhill mountain biking, and we have some fun adventures on the horizon.
Our niece Catherine will be here for 1 quick day (another whirlwind QT tour by Steve Butz- jet boating, inflatable kayaking & FERGBURGER!!!) Our other friends, Steve & Harriet will be here in early February, and I am hoping to see Cheryl Kerr & Dan Daniels in March!
We are finishing getting the apartment set up to become a rental property, and have a few more bells & whistles to finish that project before we head back to Brisbane late March.
I write this as we motor across the lagoon in New Caledonia headed for Noumea. This morning in New Caledonia was such a thankful feeling. I actually woke up around noon after being on a long night watch, in the rain, and sick. Not sea sick, but sick- low grade fever and body aches. Horrible combination. We pushed to get here and so far as promised from many sailors & travel books this is one of the most beautiful places in the world to go…This wasn’t even on our itinerary, as we had planned to go from Fiji to new Zealand but here we are in a another country that is unexpected and amazing on our plan ‘B” enroute to Australia.
Vanuatu was short stay and will be in my heart forever. I can’t stop thinking about it. We went into a place called Port Resolution on the island of Tanna. Not the big touristy place (Port Vila, which hosts big cruise ships and has an airport and many resorts, restaurants and first world luxuries) but an out of the way anchorage which delivered in beauty not only the landscape, but the people and the village experience we got by chance. The three days we were there was a gift (and the cold I picked up an added bonus???). Let’s just say it was one of the most primitive places we have been but such an amazing experience overall!
After checking in with customs and immigration,we dinghy-ed over to the rocky shore, tied up in low tide to an overhanging tree and walked up the dirt walkway (which I realized later was volcanic ash) that led us to the ‘yacht club’. There were flags hanging up from many boats (we donated Poppy’s Annapolis East Port Yacht Club flag to the mix) in the thatched roof hut.
We met Stanley who was the yacht club contact, and brother of the local village’s chief. He organized our transportation into town to go to the market, get money form the bank (no ATM) and get internet. Little did we know, our transportation would be sitting on an old tire in the back of a pick-up truck. I laughed as I thought to my self how glad I was to have grown up in Harford County at that moment and that this did not even phase me! LOL. The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever especially as we headed across the vast black sanded volcanic plains and canyons. The truck picked up some additional villagers along the way so soon it wasn’t just us in the back of the truck anymore. We shared our packed breakfast with everyone as we left at 7am for this 2 hour very bumpy journey cross island! Funny thing, on the return trip, we ran out of gas and Stanley had to hitch hike & go to the ‘gas station’ , which was a roadside hut that had ‘MAZUT’ in 5 gallon jugs that you hand pour into the tank!
When we arrived at the town of Lenekel, it was a 4 building strip with an internet place (dial up no wifi) and a town marketplace and a few small makeshift stores with dirt floors. Very scarce but busy with people. The little kids found my kids fascinating. They did not get many visitors especially with white skin. They wanted to touch them and give them food. One little kiddo in particular took a shining to us and kept offering us a homemade donut of sorts (fried sour dough) which we ate & shared with some other sailors which were also on this journey with us. Pretty sure this is where I picked up my sickness as this little one was coughing & had quite a runny nose! We picked up a few things at the market, then waited in a long line to get Vatu (money) but to no avail it was a wasted effort. Stanley had to drive us further north to a resort (there were two small ones on the other side of the island) to get money and two resorts later we had enough to pay him for our morning market run and to take us up the mountain to hike the volcano that night.
Read the kids blog for more details about the volcano. It was absolutely amazing.
The following day, we went back ashore and got the privilege to see Stanley’s village. We took the village children Uno, a deck of cards, a rubiks cube and books and coloring books and crayons. The little kids loved these treats, but we suddenly realized some of them didn’t even have clothes***. They don’t have electricity or running water. No beds. Thatched roof huts and bamboo flooring that sat up above the ground about 2 feet to keep the water, bugs and dirt off them. Compared to the village we saw in Fiji, this village was so poor. But I have to say, the people were so rich in so many other ways- the local kids smiled the entire time– so happy and kind and open to us. We walked a bit further up the road and saw more of the village. There were so many hungry dogs, and a makeshift soccer field (the goals were made of wood and vines- but worked nonetheless. There were traces of gifts from the sailors who make their way to the village, like a swing made from sailing line and a boat fender!
We made our way over to the beach where we were told most kids in the village were.
The older kids (‘tweens and young teens) were over at the beach and so we went over to swim with them. The older teens were hunting with the men so I talked to the local moms, met Stanley’s wife & sister. They were waiting for the chief’s wife to have a baby that day! The ladies were under the trees in the shade with the babies and these two precious little 2-3 year olds held my hand and walked along the beach with me. Sara was soon building sandcastles with them.
The boys and Steve played American football with all the boys. There was 10 or 12 boys about Max & Sam’s age. They shared their boogie boards with them. They all swam & laughed & had a great time- Steve busted out the drone and they kids were just mesmerized by it. He flew it up so they could see their village. It was awesome.
Soon another boat, Unanita Nova with 2 boys, 11 & 15yr came over with their boards and the boys went out to the reef to boogie board with Max & Sam. I of course of all days did not have my camera with me! UGH! But Valerie, the mom from that sailboat took some amazing photos of the kids, and I’m hopeful she will email them to me! It was quite beautiful & awesome watching these kids play- the locals spoke English, and Lucas the older of the 2 French boys from Unanita Nova spoke some English, and Sam & Sara know a touch of French, so they worked it out!
***(I later learned that we could offer a gift to the village for the birth, so I packed up some of the kids clothes to give them. )
I am sitting here after being in Fiji for 9 days- my hair is dry, my feet are dry (which a rare thing) and I am cool as the air conditioner is cranked up. Steve is playing a game with the kids. It is HOT HOT HOT here- very humid and it is the ‘winter’ here! I can’t imagine summer in Fiji. The people are aggressively friendly- shouting with a smile on their face “BULA-BULA!” which is a super friendly hello and good day and comes in from all as you walk around and explore this beautiful island.
We got here on a public holiday and had to wait on a mooring until the next day, which was a huge smile turned upside down when we realized we had to wait it out until we got notified by customs/immigration/health department that we could check into the country. We had just spent 8 days on the boat and had expected to only spend 5-6. We left Niue with an added crew member, Glenn (from Vagabond, another boat who stayed back in Niue waiting for our friends from Avanti to arrive (Click Here for their story- it is pretty tragic).
After leaving Niue, we sailed (well, carefully motored only having 1 rudder) with Glenn who came aboard in case we had to sail using a drogue.
Fiji is huge! We are on Viti Levu and have lots to explore. Our boat got hauled out of the water on Wednesday and is now “on the hard.” We lost a rudder, and the other rudder needs to be replaced, along with a huge list of minor repairs and cosmetics and our dinghy got wrecked, so that needs to be fixed as well. Make lemonade out of lemons as they say, so we found a hotel/resort a mile away from the boatyard. It is nice-ish… not completed yet, so there is no landscaping and the bells and whistles are sometimes not there, but all in all a nice spot to take a break from boat life. Hot showers….clean towels….There is a pool….
However- the boat is going to take 3 weeks to fix completely and get back onto the water which is well, not so good. BUT, we rented a car and are exploring land by car all the exciting things we can find to do when we are not doing home school. We have taken mud baths in hot springs, gone to a village and learned all about life inside one. We have gone into 3 major cities here, seen the markets and explored the Sigatoka river and sand dunes. We went ziplining, hiked a few trails and even found the waterpark for the kids. The food has been incredibly delicious. Really nothing to complain about, but we had a great vibe going, such a simple life of living onboard, reading, learning, teaching, exploring. Its just a major bummer as we stare out on the horizon and look at the many islands we could be cruising around in…clear lagoons, beaches, and meeting new families also out here doing the same thing. That is one of the best things in my opinion about doing this trip. All the great people we have met along the way!
Niue is the most interesting island we have been on so far. Culturally not the most interesting, as it is very New Zealand/English/Christian meaning compared to some of the other islands that were much more rich in culture in clothing, food, & speaking other languages (Tahitian or Maori), however, Nuians are the most friendly, simple, and honest people we have come across so far! There is no need to lock anything up, as it will not get stolen. For example, the bike rental place does not even give out locks. They say it won’t get ‘clipped’! We had the man who did our laundry, upon pick up, give us a coconut crab to eat. Then the following day, we saw him in church. He and his wife proceeded to bring us a feast of roasted chicken, fresh baked bread and salted beef. Delicious! And he insisted on taking nothing in return.
We hiked around some amazing caves, swam in the clearest waters in the world, and the kids did their first SCUBA dive. We have had a really fun time as a bunch of other shadow/buddy boats we have made friends with are all here. We all went as a huge group to the “Wash a Way Cafe” open only Sunday nights. You go in, write down what you want from the menu, write down what you drink (self serve/honor system) then settle up when you leave- again- another example of how honest the culture is. We all went mini golfing together- imagine 17 people playing on a course built into the side of the hill over looking the pacific- quite an amazing feat (sort of like a bunch of clowns piled into a small car!).
Unfortunately all our fun was overshadowed when we found out the news that our friends, a family w/ a 13 yr old & 10 yr old on Avanti had hit a reef (Beveridge Reef) on their way here. By the grace of God there was a whale research ship anchored out on this reef and were luckily rescued by them. Everyone is ok, however, their boat is trashed and they lost everything except some personal items they were able to retrieve. It has been a very sad feeling knowing this has happened to them. Out here sailing around, you become very close very quickly to other families and people on boats. When it is just you out here, bonding with other boats is so important. A tight community is formed and you help each other out, you have others to talk to, others to have fun with. I can’t tell you how devastating it is to us to have learned this news. We have to leave tomorrow and won’t get to see them before we set sail. We have to catch a weather window in order to push on and get to a more major island (as we have a broken rudder and need to get it fixed). Headed to Tonga (just a quick 2 day sail).
The Cooks (unfinished…)
So 16 days we have been here and 8 were delightful, 8 were borderline miserable. First of all, the Island of Rarotonga is fantastic! The small harbor (the ONLY anchorage) is absolutely the pits! ***see Steve’s blog for the good, the bad & the ugly
I have to give a shoutout to the “guardian angel” of the harbor- a local guy named Keith who absolutely saved some of our yachts during a 4 day weather pattern of gail force winds and 3 -4 foot choppy swells in the anchorage that beat the crap out of us and many others boats. This guy helped re-tie lines, gave boat bumpers out to us, used his local knowledge of this harbor and of things he has seen to creatively and securely help boats tie up and/or anchor and secure the boats during this crazy weather system. He would come out in the middle of the night and check on the boats- come back in the morning and was there at sunset. Truly our hero during these days! I’ll shamelessly give him some blog press- his website is www.Rarotongagamefishing.com but he also has property near by where smaller boats can be hauled out & put literally in his yard in a hole to ride out hurricane season or get repairs done. Jack of all boat trades & all around good fella!
Blog Post #4
We checked out of Bora Bora with the Gendarmerie and set sail in what was supposed to be a great weather window. And it was. Sort of. Winds from the SE with a shift two days later from the north. Low swells. Thats what we got. Sort of. I can’t seem to get my “sea legs” as they say. I’m calling myself the “cursed sailor”- Normally I get queasy for a day then seem to level out. But every time we have sailed this supposed “calm” Pacific, the seas somehow get “confused” as Steve likes to say. I’m now calling it just udder BS because I’m totally sick of it- literally ‘sick’ of it, as I can’t seem to shake the sea sickness. Overall we had a fine, safe passage, but Gosh Darn-it, am I tired of being sea sick, queasy, nauseas and or drugged because of the Bonine/Dramamine. Anyhow… vent session over. ALL GOOD HERE! I’m good. Kids good. Steve good. In fact, we as a family are doing great! The family moments we have had have made Steve and I actually take notice & talk about what a great experience something was, or how chatty the kids were with us and have really enjoyed some of their interactions. It is so much togetherness, relishing the ups (we’ve had our lows too) have really become a time for Steve and I to smile & say YES! THIS is WHY we are out here! We have become a bit lackadaisical at times with their home schooling (and for Steve and I, two type A, go-go-go people, that means 1 hour instead of the normal 3, or just having them read instead of producing written papers) and have been embracing the learning, and not just embracing it, but learning ourselves about what can actually be learned by really doing nothing other than getting from point A to B or by helping another boat out docking. Critical thinking skills that happen here in boat life everyday. The way of thinking of how to address what you do in daily in situations because everyday is a different scenario. To quote a wildlife first responder instructor I had, Bourne, who joined Steve on leg or two earlier on, your always thinking in a critical (or not so critical) situation, address whats “gonna kill you first”, and then go from there. So whether it is first cleating up a line, or getting a bumper to keep the boat from crunching the cement pier, what do you do first?
My feet are STILL wet- and I hate the sea sickness, the humidity, the condensation and damp bed sheets. But, I will continue to endure sleeping soggy for awesome family moments.
Blog Post #3
Its taken 7 weeks, but I am finally relaxing. I’m not as “triggered” as the kids say- I guess being on the water has soothed my nerve endings…Somewhat-LOL They still are calling me “worry-pants” but I feel like I have lightened up a bit!
I’m still serving as ship’s doctor/nurse. A glass broke on the outside deck (yes, it was a wine glass) and although we really thought we cleaned it up thoroughly, Steve managed to find the 4 small shards with the bottom of his foot! Needless to say, I spent an hour doing “home surgery” puling the pieces out of his foot. Sam got a nice deep cut on his finger playing foosball at the yacht club in Huahine so he is bandaged up, and Max & Sara have both been stung by a bee! Luckily, besides a bruised foot & a summer head cold, I’ve been good this trip- knock on wood!
We met up with a family on a catamaran similar to ours called Avanti. Bob, Cheryl, Robbie & Lauren have been a great at sea “framily” to hang with along the way! The kids get along great & Bob & Cheryl are very interesting & fun to hang with. We met another boat Voyager, a monorail.. Dan, the captain is in the film industry and is circumnavigating, making documentary along his way. He hosts different friends to crew and we had the pleasure of meeting two gals from Canada who went snorkeling with us one day. We’re going to separate from these two boats as of tomorrow, and will hopefully meet up with them again in either the Cook islands or Fiji.
Lisa’s mundane notes: bickering and buggering and rerouting back to Pape’ete
We have been here in French Polynesia for almost month, and are finally figuring things out. The language barrier has been challenging, although many folks do speak some English. We have managed to figure out where to buy just about anything in Pape’ete, Tahiti. When we first arrived we were on foot and were limited to the few stores we could find in the tourist district. Once we rented a car, we were able to get to further spots (like a mall) and a place called Carrefour (basically a small Target). We had to replace our shoes that got stolen, find a new counter height chair, get our generator fixed, repair the cold box (cooler/fridge), and un-bug the boat (*see below). We landed in the city marina and stayed a week. We got a lot accomplished, and are taking off to sail back to Mo’orea to anchor in Cook’s Bay for a week or so. We found by car, some amazing beaches where we could boogie board & surf. Long rolling waves, no shore break. Water sports (surfing, boogie boarding, SUP boarding) are king here- also paddling these long sleek canoes. We stumbled upon a RedBull sponsored canoe race (and I’m calling them canoes, probably incorrectly but I don’t have another word), which is a huge sport here.
I can still get text messages, and with just about everyone I can individually text. For some reason with my mom, our Iphones will only talk to each other is an android is involved with a group text- weird! The WIFI here absolutely SUCKS! we got a local track phone for local call. since the WIFI is so bad, we don’t have the access to websites & emails.
The novelty of being out here for the kids has worn off and the bickering has begun: who got more Cheetos, who is in their space, who burped at dinner, etc… anything and everything has become fair game for the sibling fighting, and there have been days where I’ve been ready to catch a flight home! Steve has rated this time so far and has predicted a 51% “this is the most awesome thing we are doing for our family/ great experience rate” to 49% “this sucks rate”. I agree.
The “great” has been the sky at night (I can now identify the Sagittarius, Scorpio, and Cancer constellations), the amazing food (surprisingly good), the fun family games (Munchkin rules!), and seeing these islands. Figuring out about the culture, taking awesome bike rides through the country sides, hiking, going to museums, having good weather and great temperatures, taking the kids on dinghy rides, seeing beautiful fish and coral while snorkeling, swimming in crystal clear waters, shopping local merchants and discovering stores, finding great surfing beaches, SUP boarding while at anchor, and even the home schooling have been great experiences and things are going very, very well. Steve has done some major improvements on the boat- adding new fans to our cabins, getting me a great chair to sit in, and rigging up the rainwater collection system!
As for the “this sucks” well, the aforementioned bickering, the language barrier, lack of wifi, the generator broke, the cold box broke, hot sticky weather, days of rain, constant wet feet, condensation on our beds at night (wet sheets are the worst!), many, many, many mosquito bites, a wasps nest in the sail, but mainly the infestation of roaches we discovered week 2 that derailed our plans! *We had to un-bug the boat w/ bombing it with roach spray, pulling everything out of cabinets, cleaning them all out, bleaching, setting roach traps (my hair is standing up on my arms even typing this, I’m sure you can imagine how absolutely creeped out we were dealing with this). ewwwww-yuck….. but all unwelcome bugs be gone!
Life in French Polynesia….
It has been quite a while since I have posted a blog entry. Hello from hot & sticky yet unbelievably beautiful French Polynesia. We are 2 weeks in to this amazing journey and it has already been an adventure! This kids have written about the fun things, so I’ll keep you abreast of the mundane. We are getting in the groove of boat life again. Water (for showering) rations, eating some unusual concoctions of food and missing just going into the pantry & grabbing snacks. We are back to and hand washing the dishes and scrubbing clothes in a bucket and line drying our clothing.
Our exercise consists mainly of swimming and jumping off the boat, and on some days, a dinghy into land to walk, bike or take a run, which I did this morning. I struggle to keep in shape as I sit around a lot- I’m not used to that- I have personally lost some major muscle & fitness tone and that makes me really bummed out, as I had worked so hard to get in great shape for this trip- but the these are trade offs for the gift we have of being a family together. The kids have already really improved their swimming fitness- as “Daddy’s Olympic training sessions” have been swimming laps around the boat or swimming to shore and back. Oh! And how could I forget SUP boarding? Doing lots of that for sure!
We also have learned that here, even though we had not read anything on sailing blogs before arrival, that your stuff will get stolen right off your boat! One night we had 5 pairs of shoes taken- right off the back deck! Such a bummer too- as we will not be able to buy shoes until we sail back to Pape’ete, which is on the main island of Tahiti. We are making our way back there now. In the mean time, hiking has been out of the equation as Sara & Sam, lost their athletic (running) shoes & Teva sandals in the robbery- and flip flops just won’t cut it!
Homeschooling (or boat school) has been going well! Steve and I have been alternating days of doing chores or teaching. We had to get a lot of cleaning done these first 2 weeks and fixing lots of things or improving our living quarters. The kids for the summer months are focusing on foreign language, reading and writing (and some ukulele) and then when we get to New Zealand, math and foreign language will be predominantly what they focus on. We have done some awesome “field trips”- a trip to a vanilla farm and coconut plant where they manufactured coconut oil, and also a pearl farm where we learned how they graft an irritant into the muscle inside oyster shells and then keep them for 18 months while a pearl is developed.
We have struggled getting fast internet, so uploading photos & videos to go with these words has been an impossible thing! More pictures coming soon, hopefully will get faster internet access to upload them in Tahiti!
Last Summer Stuff…
A reflection on the sail & the summer so far
800 nautical miles, which was to be done in 4 days, turned into 5 1/2.
Yes, we checked the weather.
Yes, we sailed in a favorable window.
At first the winds were light and we motored quite a bit on very flat seas. We left the Azores and saw more dolphins and sea birds. We kept wishing we had more wind! Well, wind we got! The predicted 20 knots turned into 30+ and the predicted wave size of 10 feet turned into 15, sometimes up to 20 foot waves. Needless to say, you must be careful what you wish for!
The experience has changed my mind about doing anymore than a day or two sail with the kids… especially just with Steve & I at the helm. God & I got quite close needless to say! I won’t go on and on about it and complain. I can’t be more thankful than I have had the opportunity to do such an amazing trip! But lets just say: “been there, done that!” The future of our trips will be modified for less blue water sailing & more coastal cruising. (Gotta keep momma happy!) The kids did fantastic- at times everyone got a bit queasy, but fortunately no one was sea sick! It’s hard to sit & lay around that much, and when you are in rough seas, it becomes impossible to do much of anything- just grin & bear it! Oh yeah, and did I mention pray???? Me- petrified- especially in the dark at night- the moon waned away by the last two nights at sea- surprising, the kids were not scared! Steve did an amazing job of keeping me calm so I could relieve him for watches and of course, kudos to him for being a super captain!!
But all in all, living on the boat and doing a day or two sail from island to island is quite enjoyable! I love the simplicity of it. Really we don’t have a care in the world except what were going to do that day & where and what we are going to eat- (and that is a topic for a whole other blog entry, as I have eaten my way through the Azores, Lisbon, Madrid and Barcelona- and still have two weeks to go on this venture, and that probably equals another 4 pounds! ) Right now the boat is at a pier in a very nice neighborhood in Lisbon. The kids can run around the promenade, bicycle for blocks and blocks, go across the street to the grassy park & play soccer (which usually includes a ‘work out by Sis’. I have experienced the local dentist- my tooth broke and I had to get it repaired (which ended up in a triple root canal, still to be completed over the next two weeks-UGH!) But a nice experience as far as root canals go…
We definitely miss our typical summer living in Ocean City, the routine of beaching it all day, and hanging with our beach ‘framily’ through out the evening and seeing our friends and family when they come down for their vacations. And Ocean City is still one of the best beaches we’ve ever been to!- hard to believe, but true, in my opinion!) But the experience of this is definitely worth while! Besides experiencing another culture (or cultures- but mainly Portugal) the kids have tried all kinds of new foods (yes back to that topic!), learned how to navigate subways, and have seen some famous pieces of art! From Picasso to Dali, contemporary pieces and Gaudi’s famous Park Guell & Sagrada Familia. We’ve seen nature at sea- even whales! And nature in museums- Lisbon has an amazing Oceanarium (equal if not better than the national aquarium in Baltimore) and we’ve seen so many different kinds of fish & wildlife. Been to mass in different Catholic churches. Been on sleeper-car Euro trains overnight and high speed trains which go up to 300km/hr. All in all a great adventure!
Bermuda, early June
The arrival of Nays & Coach kicked off some Bermuda museum exploration- we found an awesome place, BUEI http://www.buei.bm which was a museum of shipwrecks, underwater exploration and an awesome interactive Americas Cup exhibit. We then headed over to the zoo & aquarium. Its a rainy rainy day here today… moving the boat over to St George for the rest of our stay.