It was tough to choose the first photo for this post. On the one hand, most of our time in Noumea looked like this:
|Not a holiday.|
But on the other, returning to Noumea felt strangely like going home. Exciting, but bittersweet. The girls and I lived there for almost a year. In that time they went to school, we made friends, and began to integrate ourselves into the community. The moment we landed, the girls wanted to visit everywhere and see everyone – our favourite bakery, their old schools, the best spot on the beach. And, of course, their friends.
I spent the day confirming plane tickets and stuffing underwear into a bag. Why? Because it is time, people. Time to return to Papillon. Our good old Papioni-pepperoni.
Not permanently. No, that would be too much to ask. Erik is still firmly in the grip of his work addiction, so we’ll have to ride out the land life for a few months longer. However, the good people of Nouvelle-Calédonie are ready to be rid of our fine vessel, so it is time to jump aboard and sail the boat to Brisbane.
But what kind of a boat are we returning to?…
Hello, everyone! Sorry for the prolonged absence. My lungs and I had a serious disagreement. They decided they would be happier outside my body, and attempted to cough their way to freedom. I was of the firm opinion that we would both be better off if they stayed inside my chest. That is just the kind of hard-line organ traditionalist that I am. Eventually they saw things my way, but it took three weeks and a lot of coaxing.
By Sunday, I was well enough for an outing. Erik saw his chance. He has been determined to try out the sailing dinghies we found, and mounted a campaign of persuasion.…Read More
“Do you feel like checking out some sailing dinghies this weekend?” asked Erik.
“Sure,” I said. “Sounds fun.”
“Great. They’re in an old container down at the dock; someone abandoned them years ago.”
I looked up. “Abandoned” is usually a deadly adjective for a boat.
“It’s all supposed to be in pretty bad shape.” he continued. “The sails are probably going to be full of rat poop, and who knows if anything will still float.”
“Boy, Erik, why didn’t you lead with that? You know I can’t resist a rusty old container full of broken boat parts.”
“And rat poop,” he added.…
When I was eleven years old, a friend invited me up to her cottage one summer weekend. We had a great time – swimming in the lake, riding around in her dad´s motorboat, running around in the sunshine. And fishing. I´d never been fishing before, but I understood the basics: add worm to hook, drop in water, wait for bite then reel in. Pretty easy.
So my friend and I took our bait and our rods and plonked ourselves down at the end of the dock. The wooden boards were pleasantly warm beneath us. We dangled our feet over the edge, wormed up and threw in our lines.…Read More
As you know, the fine crew of Papillon is currently living ashore. Yes, we’re still firmly tropical on a tiny island in Papua New Guinea, but still. We are temporarily parted from our beloved yawl – and this on our fourth anniversary aboard. Sniffles all around.
For the duration of our sabbatical-from-our-sabbatical, the blog will not be syndicated on SAILfeed. This makes sense, because we are not sailing. So, dear SAILfeed readers, you will have to bookmark the original Sailing Papillon if you would like to keep up with our adventures. Otherwise, I’ll be back on SAILfeed circa April with cruising stories galore.…Read More
Imagine a desert island. Ocean breezes blowing, palm trees swaying, perhaps some decorative coconuts strewn about the place. Just you, your beach chair, the waves lapping your toes, and the gentle clink of plastic bottles washing up on shore.
Not quite what you pictured? After four years aboard, I am sorry to say that this is reality. Every windward beach has plastic. Unless someone works every day to clean it, flip flops and plastic bottles are the order of the day. Everywhere. And I am sick of it.
The girls and I went on a beach walk with some on their friends last week.…
I´ve unpacked the bags and stowed the suitcases. No more waiting around for visas, no more airplane rides – we´re home now, and I plan to be sessile for the foreseeable future. The island is beautiful, our neighbours are friendly, and I have no reason to move off my porch.
Except, a troop of kids are marching up my driveway. And we´ve been invited to the pool. And a barbecue. Disco in the park. Movies, neighborhood-wide hide-and-seek… complete fun overload. I think I need another cup of tea.
Needless to say, the girls have settled in like they have been here for years.…
I am the proud possessor of a big yellow sticker in my passport that declares I am allowed to live in Papua New Guinea. Our flights are booked. Tomorrow is Moving Day. So why am I writing instead of prepping? Because, dear reader, I am avoiding packing. I know, I know – it should be an easy process. There are no choices to be made; if it is in this apartment and belongs to us, I have to pack it. And we only have four bags, after all. No, I mainly don’t want to pack because a) it means a morning of rejigging heavy bags such that all of them kiss but do not exceed the airline’s weight limit, and b) I have to do it on my own.…Read More