Today is Mother’s Day and I feel so blessed to be able to spend so much time with them today, but also every day of this sailing adventure. Just yesterday, I was reflecting on this, while reading about Abaco history with Ella. We discussed topics like colonialism, the British monarchy, democracy, piracy, slavery and economics. Later, I got to sit with her and teach her the foundations of multiplication. It is moments like this when I really appreciate the togetherness of this trip. It isn’t always roses when doing school. It can be really difficult to keep them on task and nudge Ella to work efficiently, but it is also really rewarding. This past month Gavin has shown so much improvement with phonics and writing and I am finally starting to believe that he will be on track for grade 1. Miles, who we really don’t expect anything from school-wise, wants to do whatever his brother and sister are doing and is writing his name, counting to 10 and loves working in his Star Wars workbook. Ella absorbs everything that is said and we really appreciate her inquisitiveness and creativity.
We are together 24-7 and rarely have time apart. We were a tight-knit family before this trip, but this trip has sewn us even tighter. It is wonderful to not feel like I have to maximize every second with the kids as I sometimes did at home. We follow a very gentle, slow, pace of life and I don’t feel guilty to take an hour for myself because I know I will have 23 other hours together. However, it can be difficult to spend so much time together, especially in such tight quarters. Our kids are like any others and can be rambunctious, argumentative, grumpy, uncooperative and intense. Sure, I would love to escape to work or Starbucks at these times, but we get through it. In these moments, sometimes Paul and I just look each other and I think we are both thinking of jumping ship. I am already preparing myself for the change of pace once we return home, although I hope that we can take some of this lifestyle and pace and incorporate it into our life at home. I have decided to work part-time in the fall, which will allow me a good balance between work and home. I am really fortunate to have that opportunity. I have tried many different work-life combinations in order to find that elusive perfect balance. I inevitably always feel guilty that I can’t give 100% to the home front or 100% to work. But why am I thinking of all of this while I am here in paradise!?!
We finally had stable weather to leave Eleuthera and make the 50+ mile sail up to Abaco. We had been watching a developing tropical storm, that was eventually named Tropical Storm Ana and will be hitting South Carolina sometime tonight. Although it wasn’t an exceptionally long passage, it required more preparation than the island hopping we had been doing. We got an early start as soon as the sun rose and there were about 10 other sail boats spread out making the crossing, which is always reassuring. Unfortunately the winds were light and variable from right on our stern, making sailing difficult. We also had enough ocean swells from our beam to keep everyone up in the cockpit to prevent seasickness. Northeast Providence Channel is a fairly busy channel so we encountered quite a few cargo ships and even a cruise ship. They can be quite intimidating when you are on a collision course and we would often change course slightly to give us more room. We were really hoping to have some fishing luck, but we didn’t have any bites. We finally made it into the cut at Little Harbour, Abaco and anchored at 6pm. The passage gave me time to reflect on how we would do making longer multi-day passages and if that is something we might want in the future. The kids did well, although they were bored by the afternoon and asked us a million times when we would be there. After the long wait to get up here to Abaco, it feels good to be here.
We are anchored off Lynyard Cay and visited the infamous Pete’s Pub and Foundry at Little Harbour yesterday. The Johnson family made their home here in the ‘50s and Rudolph Johnson was a world renowned artist, known for his bronze castings. It is always fun to encounter an island bar and really interesting to see the beautiful castings. Today we spent Mother’s Day lounging on our very own beach and had a campfire picnic lunch and an afternoon of skinny dipping snorkeling (I was too lazy to go back to the boat to get my swimsuit and of course the kids were up for naked swimming). Paul took the kids out fishing, which has allowed me this lovely hour to work on the blog and emails. We are excited to explore the Abacos, but we are finding that no place lives up to the Exumas for us. We were spoiled with the best first it seems. Tomorrow we will celebrate Paul’s birthday – head to a new anchorage, snorkel, check out some more cute beach bars and the well-known Tahiti Beach. Life is good.