|What is this woman talking about?
I hope everyone has read Michael Robertson’s The Complete Guide to Caring for a Cruiser in this month’s Sail. If not, go on; I’ll wait. Back? Okay. Michael’s article is a timely reminder that cruisers are, to put it kindly, a little different. But I feel compelled to add on to his fine work. Communicating with cruisers can be a challenge, whether you are a friend, relative, cruising spouse or simply a normal person. Below you will find some common points of misunderstanding. I hope this translation guide helps you to talk to the cruisers in your life.…
I think I smell bad. After spending three hours in the park then hiking over the hills of Noumea in 30 C heat, how could I be anything but sweaty? I lean away from the woman sitting beside me in French class, hoping that the cool air in our basement room will mitigate my stink before it reaches her. But I know the real answer to my problem: I need a shower. Again. The very thought fills me with despair.
You may have noticed that cruisers are somewhat preoccupied with resource consumption. Obsessed is a better word. But when you carry around all of life’s necessities in what amounts to an oversized backpack, you want to be sure you have absolutely everything you need. …
Stylish was hard at work on her math when the light mist turned into a pelting rainstorm. She dropped her pencil and looked out of the cockpit. “Mom, it’s raining. Can I go outside and have recess?”
“Sure. Put on a bathing suit first.”
It is a pleasure to say those words again. The bathing suit part, of course. I’ve never been a don’t-get-wet kind of person. But, for so long, going out in the rain meant a pile of gear, drippy wool socks, and demands for hot chocolate at the end of it. Sending the kids out to play in the rain is much more fun when they don’t come back hypothermic.…
“So, what did you do at school today?”
I know better than to ask this question. There isn’t a child alive who has ever replied with actual facts when their mother asks about school. But it was Indy’s first day at her new école in Noumea, and I was hoping that she would throw me a crumb. After all, she is a boat kid; she might not realize that it is her duty as a child is to withhold school-related news at all costs.
“Nothing,” she said.
Darn. Someone must have tipped her off.
“Le poisson, le poisson, le poisson,” sang Indy as she skipped along the path.…
Over the past few months, I have sent a lot of emails with a line that looked like this: “Our current and almost definite plan is to head to Tasmania for cyclone season. We’ll check in at Newcastle or Sydney, and wait for the weather to be right early in January to make the last hop to Hobart.”
Now, because you have been paying attention, you know that cruisers are totally unreliable when it comes to reporting their own plans. And so it was with us. Erik and I were 98% sure we were going to Tas. We were keen on Tas.…
“Hello. This is Boat French. Would you like to go with us to Le parc provincial de la Rivière Bleue for a picnic on Sunday?
“Bon. See you at 0900 on Sunday.”
“Hello. This is Boat Swiss-German. Would you like to go with us to Le parc provincial de la Rivière Bleue for a picnic on Sunday?
“We’d love to, but Boat French just asked us. How about Tuesday?”
“Toll. See you at 0900 on Tuesday.”
Sunday: French picnic
0530 Get up. Roast a chicken.
0700 Pack a picnic bag with heaps of cheese, baguette, olives, chicken, cookies, drinks, apples, etc.…
Q: Do you have a planned end to your cruise? When you get to a particular place? After a set number of years? When you (or the girls) get to be a particular age?
A: It is barely mid-November, and already I am getting reports from home about snow. I sit in the cockpit reading my email, and when a chill wind blows and the temperature plummets to 24 C, I put on a fleece. I can’t even handle the suggestion of snow anymore, much less the reality. Perhaps these notes are my family’s passive-aggressive way of keeping us out at sea. …
There are days I think that we moved onto Papillon not to sail the seven seas, not to give Erik endless tinkering projects, not to spend family time – but to visit every coral reef on Earth. We are reef peekers. I feel no shame in that.
Erik and I used to do a lot of diving back in the day, but now we are snorkelers because it lets the kids get involved, and there is so much to see in those first twenty feet, anyway. Now that Indy has joined the ranks of strong swimmers, it is all the easier. …
We woke up on Monday to discover the boat was sinking. On my way to the bathroom, I heard an unwelcome drip drip sound coming from beneath the companionway. We pulled up the floorboards, and, sure enough, the centerboard trunk was leaking. The bilge was full. We were going down.
“Ugh,” I said, slapping the bilge pump switch. “Does it have to be now? I haven’t even made tea yet.”
Erik stared at the spitting centerboard and sighed. “Well. Let’s get ‘er fixed.”
|Those are little darts of water jetting out of the centerboard trunk. Not happy morning news.
Where, you might ask, was our natural panic and discomfort as our home slowly slipped into The Big Blue? …
I’ll admit it – I’m a sucker for Hallowe’en. Oh, Christmas has its charms – lots of family, lots of presents. Easter is a chocolate-lover’s dream. But nothing celebrates a combination of excess and rule-breaking like the 31stof October. “Wear whatever you want!” “Sure, you can go for a walk in the dark and take candy from strangers!” “Imagination is a good thing! Believe in ghosts and fairies all you like!” Hallowe’en is ironically, for all of its scary trappings, a day when members of the community agree to trust each other and take a one-day break from fear.…