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One of our goals for this trip was to slow down and spend lots of quality family time together. There is no doubt that we have achieved both of those goals. We rarely know what we will be doing the next day and our plans revolve around flexibility. For Paul and I, both being Type A personalities, this can be a challenge as we are both used to maximizing our hours during the day. However, it really hasn’t been that hard of an adjustment. Weather seems to be the #1 controlling factor in our schedule – making sure we are in a secure and protected anchorage when the weather turns. Nowadays with the amazing weather forecasts to be had by email, SSB, and online, there really are no excused to be caught unprepared. After the kids go to bed, we spend at least 30 minutes looking over the weather forecasts, charts and anchorages near us and loosely planning our route for the next week. If we enjoyed an anchorage one day, we figure we may as all stay another day. If there are other boats with kids nearby, we may end up extending our time at an anchorage.
In terms of spending lots of good quality time together, it is really inevitable because we live together in such a small space and are rarely apart. I relish all the moments I have with the kids, even if many of them can be trying. At home when I was working full time, I felt like most of my time with the kids revolved around transitions (preparing dinner, getting ready for bed, getting them ready for school). Here in addition to those times, I have time to really enjoy their interesting observations and really take note of their smiles. I want to be careful not to paint too rosy of a picture because it can be challenging living in such a small space without the conveniences we are used to at home. For example, Miles regularly (at least every other day!) wets the bed (through his multiple pullups), which results in washing the sheets in a bucket and hanging them from our stantions to dry (and hopefully not blow away). The kids can get whiney and unfortunately there is nowhere to escape. And the regimented chore schedule we worked so hard to establish at home is really hard to adapt to the boat. Our kids are really messy eaters and although the square footage we have to clean is small, there are numerous tiny crevices and cracks that sand, food and everything else seems to gravitate to.
But as I reflect back on our 7 weeks that we have been on the boat I can see how well we have adjusted to this life. While in the beginning the kids were restless on the boat, they now are able to play together for long extended periods of time. We have hardly any toys aboard and I am continually amazed at what they can turn into toys (garbage on the beach gets transformed into a restaurant or house, our kids never tire of swimming off the boat, old ropes can be used for hours). On days we are sailing, we get asked the typical, “When are we going to be there?” a lot and we are still adjusting to finding activities to occupy them while we are sailing (while also not bringing on sea-sickness).
We have slowed down and are enjoying lots of time together and feeling pretty happy and thankful about this great opportunity and journey.
|River floating, near Georgetown|
|Sponge Warehouse, Long Island|
|Learning about sea sponges|
|Long Island – kids headed to the Ocean side|
|Amazing natural pool, Stella Maris, Long Island|
|A playground! Long Island|
|The suckerfish (remora) that lived under our boat in Georgetown – creepy!|
|Paul’s survivor man beard before a much needed trim|