Our life over the last few years has been kind of surreal. Six months working and six months sailing. It’s been a good ride but, and I’m sure this will sound crazy, the transition from being a family living in a house in Sydney to living in the cramped environment of a yacht isn’t straightforward. It takes time to adjust.
Our first month is almost up, but we have had to not just get back into living on a boat, but manage high winds and thunderstorms, good anchorages and bad. Some days have been wonderful and some tough going. It’s a real life, humbling and challenging. If you’re in a tight anchorage and the wind shifts in the night, you are up on deck despite thunder, hail and the pitch black. When its blowing 25 knots and you are in open water it gets bumpy and for the first few days the kids and Heather all feel yucky. We have had the bucket out more than once.
Then there are the technical issues that you just can’t seem to resolve gnawing at your brain as you sleep.
The normal life relationships between family change. Given the close environment, nerves get frayed, some of the crew get claustrophobic, others frustrated. There is little chance to escape and small traits can cause angst. I’ve had a less than perfect week, a bit perplexed by technical issues. School work caused a ” hot and hostile” moment between the skipper and first mate and Ben has had a few melt downs with the skipper resulting in the “your not my dad” and even once the H word! difficult to hear, but he was frustrated. First mate has suggested she needed permanent shore leave on one occasion and to top it all off, I made a hash of coming alongside a quay and bumped into the boat next to me, who happened to be our new friends Claire and Clive. Nothing was damaged apart from my ego, I felt like a right nana…the current caught me out. School boy error.
Through it all though Milly is as cool as a cucumber and offers real insight. “yes dad, you made a mess of that docking manoeuvre…but hey, you’ll just have to do better next time” she’s a gem.
Once you have lived on a boat you really appreciate the simplicity of life on land. It’s taking the time to adjust that is so important; it’s a big part of the experience and the journey. We become different. Our pace is slowing down. We deal with immediate issues, the wind, sea state, anchorages, provisions, energy management and running the boat. The kids relish simple pleasures, less screen time, more out door time, time playing games together and yes times stressing out together.
Its not all cocktails and bikinis, but you know what they say, if its easy its not worth doing.