Year End Reflection: Almost 2 years of full time live aboards with kids

1 year in the Caribbean and almost 2 since we set sail from Poland! (It took 15 minutes to be back in Germany but whatever!😜) And still my throwback shot from 2009 (2008 even?) in Greece on Betty made it in. You can take the motorcycle away from the girl but you can’t take the memories. (Because the bike is gone gone. Like sold in Mongolia gone. ) 🧜‍♀️💜🧜‍♀️ This time last year I was getting ready to join Patrick back in St. Lucia after he crossed the Atlantic with friends.
Now Falkor is for sale and our “maybe to the Caribbean but I’ll only promise to Amsterdam, and no more than 3 years max” has turned into sell Falkor, buy a bigger boat and do this indefinitely.

Not bad considering today as we sat in the cockpit talking about all that we need to do to move onto the new boat I pointed out that our first year sailing I was figuring out if we would stay together or not. #jokingnotjoking

I really don’t regret buying Falkor. He’s too small for a family of 4 but he has given us some amazing adventures, knitted our family back together again and taught me that there is a huge difference between fear and danger. Knowing what I know now I’d still go for a smaller boat that didn’t break the bank but let us figure out if we could do this sailing thing or not. (Not the travel. We did motorcycling and tenting for years. But the ocean? Gah! See fear and danger. I’m a Newfoundlander, we sank the titanic!) But now that I have committed to this lifestyle I can’t freaking wait to have SPACE and a reading corner.

2017 was heartbreak and mending. 2018 was confidence and growth. I’m looking forward to 2019. And it’s wonderful to be able to say that.

Falkor Is For Sale

We are doing it! Falkor is for sale and we have bought a bigger boat!

When we set out on this adventure Patrick wanted to sail around the world and I promised as far as Amsterdam. Then Portugal. Then the Caribbean.

Now I am ready to say let’s keep going for the next 5 -10 years. Falkor was amazing and if it wasn’t for the fact that I felt so safe on him we would never have been able to come this far. However, we bought him thinking he was the boat that would be our home for 2 – 3 years. Or maybe just a couple of months if I completely freaked out and couldn’t handle sailing. Crashing motorcycles was so much less scary than being out on the ocean.

But there is a big difference between fear and danger. And I will always love that Falkor helped teach me that.

But he was never meant for us to live on long-term as a family. And we had a lot of thinking to do this year. I had fallen in love with cruising, but I needed a bigger boat with two small children who were getting bigger and bigger. Given the choice between returning to Europe and keeping Falkor for summer vacations around the Baltics, or selling him and sailing onwards with a bigger boat, Patrick chose the bigger boat.

Which means Falkor is for sale!

If you are looking for a solid, safe and affordable bluewater cruising boat, or know someone who is, contact us! Falkor has his own for sale page now and it is really only the fact he can’t grow with us that we are saying goodbye.

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Sick Baby

It's not always sunshine, turtles and dolphins! My little man is sick. Not sea sick. Proper fever sick. This terrifies me. Ever since he had his first seizure fever in Portugal last year the least elevation of his temperature sends me into a panic spiral. I do 4 hour watches all night to check if his temperature is up, which it has been, so he gets his next round of fever meds (alternating ibuprofen and paracetamol to keep it down). We're both exhausted! But I know if he does have a seizure he will be Ok. That they are almost "normal". But as a mother watching that "normal" thing – please please please never again. (That first time I honestly thought he was dying. I still cry if I talk about it for more than 2 seconds). So this boat is a sleepy one today! Yesterday we had On Guard running all afternoon. And this morning as he woke up with no fever we switched to Citrus to get some energy into our step! Also mermaids in the creative mermaids Facebook group: we pulled all the Thursday mermaid cards for the month together today! So it was very much a family effort today. 😄😄😄

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Moonlight Swim In Dominica

I think swimming under the light of an almost full moon would make any evening feel magical. But there's something even more so about doing it in Dominca (also glad we're not here at the height of season, because I don't think I would want to swim with 300 other boats potentially direct flushing). I'm also so glad right now we listened to direct word of mouth. Just listening to our guidebook I would never have come here. We have the most recent edition but it's still with info from 10 years ago. They talk about getting swamped with requests as soon as you come in and to watch all your stuff ALL the time. OR a very not relaxed and fun spot to visit. But our friend and neigbour in St. Anne and later Pointe Prite said that's from a decade ago and the place has entirely changed. He loves it so much he's building a house there. Everyone we have spoken have said the same thing. They go to Dominica with trepidation from what they have read in guidebooks and come out fully in love with the tiny country. Us too.

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Things That Go Bump In The Night

We have an anchor station! Even faster and less effort than the videos! (Still putting videos up, but it is freaking slooooow with present internet conditions!)

So check out the station! Its a fun and easy to keep everyone up to date!

https://anchor.fm/books-boats-and-babes?at=565337

And some peektures!

It’s my birthday so I’ll max out the photos just because I want too!!! Today has been fantastic. From an amazing phone call to all the wonderful messages and swimming (with ropes attached!) and turning Falkor into a swing. It’s just been an awesome day. And my heart cracked a bit knowing that this year there would be no roar into the phone of “have a great day sis. I love you. ” (I still got my wishes from Sean, but his are not yelled. 😄😄😄 ) And yet today I do feel Michaels energy is here, it’s just different. Thank you again everyone for all the wonderful wishes!!!! It’s been fantastic! #booksboatsandbabes #boatlife #familyafloat #fulltimecruisers #boatswithdogs #tinyhome #mybirthday #atanchor #bayofbiscay #sailing

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How To Convert A Reluctant Sailor To An Enthusiastic One

Part of me says this entire post can be shrunk down to one sentence “Respect the very real fear of the other person.” But too often we do not see the other’s persons fear as rational and therefore we downplay it. NOT a good idea. Because this is the thing:

Fear Is NOT Rational

If fear was rational I could explain keeling away very simply with physics. But sorry, it very much feels like flip over and die and that overrides everything else. I hit the blind panic button and become engulfed in, well er hmm, blind panic.

You can not explain it away. And if you can not explain it away then let me assure you, brushing my fears aside as not worthy will get you a punch in the head. At least once we are safely back on shore that is. Until then I will just alternate between rocking and moaning and screaming at you that you are an idiot for ever taking me out in a boat!

And by you I mean Patrick, and that was a pretty neat summary of our first attempts at sailing.

Patrick is nothing if not persistent. It is the only way he ever got me to step onto Falkor. Because our experience with the Pinguin was mostly of “flip over and die” as we rushed to sail in our limited time off.  Patrick knew we were safe and so he would take us out in conditions that I quickly learned were not suitable for a newbie sailor terrified of the ocean. (We we;re also battling the number one enemy of any enjoyable trip: lack of time and a desire to see all the things rather than let it just unfold. Not good!)

In fairness, both of the above behaviors are not cool. Me yelling abuse at Patrick does not help any more than him ignoring my very real fears . So it matters not salty sailors if you know it is safe. If you want your reluctant sailor to become a more enthusiastic one then take them out only in fantastic conditions at first. Because chances are they will still be freaked out. Don’t let them associate your love of sailing with battling the elements.

The wind was howling and those waves were rocking the boat. Did it matter we were on a man made lake in the Netherlands and Falkor can handle much more? Absolutely not!

In our case, as I said, Patrick just walks through walls. It took him 4 years to get me to fully commit, and even then it was more of “let’s see how goes on the way to Amsterdam and I am pretty sure I can promise to Portugal.”

The big change is that now we almost always only sail in good weather, and since Amsterdam it is our hard and fast rule. (Before then we still had time constraints so we needed to sail even if the weather was less than stellar. Which for the first month it was not!)

The thing is, with time you do learn that the difference between fear and danger is real and you get a much better feel for what is actually worthy of your fear and not. But this takes time. No matter if it is writing and publishing a book, moving to a new country for the first time, or getting used to the movement of a boat. And patience is how you move along your fears.

And eventually, it just becomes nervous laughter.

And the other day we had crazy swell in our anchorage that didn’t bother me at all! Other than to have to sit in the cockpit for a bit.  Watch our neighbour rock:

 

Now if we could just get Mango to feel the same way!

 

 

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Throwback to our cast off

Getting ready to cast off is always nervewrecking. I think a lot of people don’t appreciate that I’m always nervous before I go on any trip. There is always a moment before I step out the door where I can’t help but wonder if I’m crazy.

In the end the desire to go beats the one to stay. After all it’s like jumping off something. Just push through that moment of hesitation and then you are free falling!

Only with sailing its not nearly so cut and dry. You can turn back and it all happens so slowly!

But leave we did. And sorry for the whipping around. It takes more practice than I appreciated at first.

You have to love how even Patrick uses “probably” in reference to how long before we will see the marina again.

It was a beautiful start. And even peaceful. It was a great feeling of starting a new adventure that you had planned for years but were not really sure you wanted to do. At least for me. Patrick never doubted. Even when I was ready to pull the plug before we even began.

This peaceful moment didn’t last terribly long. The motor woke Mr. Man up before the coffee was poured. And yet he was so cute that we didn’t mind. Especially since he knows there are two captains. 😄

Moving Onto The Boat …. But First You Must Sort

Two posts in one day! There is a first for everything! 😉 But given the nature of the last post I wanted to show you how I envision going forward. These videos are from before I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but you get the idea! 😉

And anyway, if you want to move onto a boat you might want to watch these videos anyway. I want to show the good the bad and the ugly. And taking an apartment, even one that you knew was never meant to be a full home and was more a place to sleep until you were ready to go on a trip, is a challenge.

See first you start with full-fledged optimism. Much like any adventure, you think you can handle anything that is tossed at your head.

Then after an initial period of refusing to see the flaws you slowly realize that you need to remove the rose colored glasses and assess the situation. It may cause a little panic but you still have your head up:

And then you realize that like anything, one thing is not better than another, just different. And something to really remember if you are planning to move onto a boat. Or start any adventure. It is not a holiday. It is life.

But as you can tell from that video, I had wanted to try and do some kind of video diary for awhile. I just had no idea how I was going to do it. Well this is it! A mix of short video with stand alone commentary!

And hopefully, with practice, they get less awkward and more integrated. But as I work on Creative Mermaids I realize it is helping me just as much as I want to help others! That is the best kind of karma!

And this is one of my favorite shots from that week, because getting my family to become a family again after the craziness of start up life is also something that I was afraid would not happen and it in fact is. I love these guys so much!