I huffed and puffed my way up the trail. I had forgotten how little I like walking uphill. I assume this is some sort of self-preservation mechanism, because I get marched up mountains with depressing regularity. Erik and I, sadly, are walking-incompatible. I can walk forever on flat or gently rolling terrain. And I enjoy it. But when things get steep, the fun factor drops dramatically. Erik, on the other hand, hates walking on flat land. This is because he is secretly a mountain goat. The steeper the grade, the happier he is, and he will gladly spend a day (or weekend, or month) skipping from crag to crag, pausing only to land in the odd cow pat.…Read More
Waiting for our visas to Papua New Guinea is taking forever. So, what have we been doing in the meantime?
There comes a time in every person’s life when she must ask herself, “do I want to move to Papua New Guinea?”
It isn’t always “Papua New Guinea.” Sometimes it is “a new town.” Or “take a different job.” Or “go back to school.” It just happens to be Papua New Guinea in my case, because that is the way my life seems to work. Like Belle, I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I’ll just never be the one with the big house, the minivan, the soy latte and the lululemons. I’d rather learn Tok Pisin.
Moving aboard was a big DIWTMTPNG moment for me.…Read More
No one likes hauling out. Mostly because it means you are not sailing, and that is a terrible fate when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Hauling out means fixing things, buying replacement parts, discovering nasty surprises, and living in a boat yard. None of those are my favorites. But what needs to be done needs to be done, and Papillon definitely needs a propeller shaft rejig and some centerboard work.
We got out of the marina on Monday morning, and made the short trip across the bay to the yard. As Erik heroically defied our massive prop-walk and started backing us into the slip, one of the guys from the yard ran over and started waving his arms.…Read More
One of the first rules of cruising is: accept every invitation. (This is also one of the first rules of life, especially for an introvert like me.) So, when a friend invited us to the local military open house, I said yes.
“It’s lots of fun,” said Camille. “They have lots of activities for the kids.”
I nodded, and wondered what that meant. I was a little surprised that Camille, of all people, was suggesting this outing. This is a woman who steadfastly refuses to let her kids watch violence on television, play mock-battles, or otherwise engage in any aggressive activity.…
“You want to go whale watching?” I asked. “On someone else’s boat?”
“Heck, yes!” said Erik, rubbing his hands together. “The season has started; there should be humpbacks in Prony by now. Come on, it’ll be fun.”
Fun Daddy was back in town. We only see Erik for a few days every month, and he is always keen to make the most of his time with us.
I looked over the brochure. With Papillon due to get hauled out and checked over in a couple of weeks, we weren’t going to make it down there under our own steam. It would be kind of fun to be purely a passenger for once. …
It is a strange truth that, the longer you stay in a country, the more irritating their bureaucracy becomes. Maybe the French are just tired of me and want to speed me on my way. Maybe I’m just burnt out on doing taxes and taking ever-more-hideous passport photos for visa applications. Or maybe I just don’t see eye to eye with these upholders of the Napoleonic Code.
A few weeks ago, I found a notice in my mailbox that a registered letter was waiting for me at the post office. I was bound to need some iron-clad identification, so I scooped up my passport and carte de sejour, waited for the designated pick-up time, and wandered over.…
There are many things I love about my boat. It is a comfortable home. It sails beautifully in heavy weather. It is very pretty. But even Papillon has its flaws.
The girls and I were playing a game in the cockpit. Stylish rolled, and the die skittered off the table. All of us shrieked and grabbed for it, but it was too late. It fell through the cockpit floor.
What, you might wonder, is the big deal? Our floor is painted aluminum with a teak grid overlay. It is a good concept: when water gets into the cockpit, it falls through the grate and disappears down the drains in the corners.…Read More