Saturday, August 28, 2010

First day in Paris France

Our flight was very good. Great food, no delays, and lots of fun games and movies. (Air France Rocks)
Our apartment was a very posh place, and next to a huge park. That is the first place we went... had a picnic and a nice rest in the cool green grass. The boys had fun jumping a small creek, and Izzy collecting daisies.

Then we walked to the Arc de Triumph. It was very special to see such a site. It is a cool Arch.
Climbing the spiral stair case I could see how worn the steps were from the many who climb them before us. When we reached the top we were treated to a 360 degree view of the city. After getting our bearings we headed for the Seine river. I felt like I was in a movie. I had seen these places before but now I was touching and smelling them as well. Paris dose smell nice by the way.



The grass was nice and cool, a different feel from sand.


Allan resting after a long flight




The stairs inside the Arc.


The face of a warrior giving his battle cry placed on the outside of the Arc.


Our view from the top.


The river Seine.






A close up of the beautiful details. 




We go to Paris and Odessa goes on the hard

Allan has a job in Paris for the next 4 months so we thought we would all go. The kids and I have never been to France and it will be a new change from life on a boat these past 6 months. It is a very nerve racking experience having you home hauled up with a crane on to dry land.

Getting the boat to the yard is my nail bitter. We have such a deep draft at 9' that we have to be very careful not to run a ground in the shallow lagoon. I would love to say we made it with out a hitch but that is not true. We got stuck on a mud bank on the way out from our dock and were very lucky that friends were close by to help pull us out. After that we made it safe and sound. Odessa came out like a good girl and went into her hurricane hole, was strapped down and left to rest.



We tie the boat to an old barge at the ship yard while we wait to be pulled out.



The straps go on.













It felt strange to be leaving our home and traveling thousands of miles to a place that should be familiar, but we had mentally checked out of normal life and a big city was the last place we were prepared for.


Kids On a Boat

Fear can stop you from doing anything. But, will you allow that fear to take hold and grip you.
Family and friends are sometimes your worst enemy. They can come up with a hundred reasons why not to do it.  I hope that I can be the friend who say,"YA, Do it".

Life on a boat is a lifestyle that you just have to use common sense. You can not be brain dead. You  have to be on you toes. So with that said, do not let your kids out of your sight. ( always a good rule of thumb wherever you are)

There are rules that have to be set and never are broken.
Our children are in their teens and are very good swimmers. But they still have a long list of rules that they do follow. Yes, life jackets, life lines, no leaving cockpit under sail, knowing how to handle radios and how to signal for emergency, and the list goes on... It is all about respecting your surroundings. I find that the kids DO NOT want to fall off the boat and are quite happy to follow the law of the sea.

We have met many children of all ages, from newborns birthed on the boat to 2-5 years all the way up to 16-18 years. You name it we have met a kid that age.


Jessy, 10 (South African) comes aboard to fish with the boys.


                                                  

A young Australian girl  Jordan, 13 with Izzy


                      

Awesome Canadian mother Vicky, with Roggie (3), Nyah (5)


      

Young American Jennifer 13, and her friend Jay
Photo from:  http://www.kaylasopus.com/


Young Swedish guys ages18-20, 
Devina the young lady teaches them how to cook.


You can apply this philosophy to any thing, living in caravans and driving from place to place, living on farms where help is not just down the street, a cabin in the Alaskan frontier were your nearest neighbor is a short plain ride away. The common thread is "common sense", being aware of your surroundings and simply having fun.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Home Schooling 101

Our home schooling expedition is a combination of text books, and real life. Reading about it is only half the lesson.

School is a very important part of our daily adventure. Making changes in our life started years before we began to sail. Teaching our children is a very important job. Not to just teach about book learning but also how to apply it to your life. School can happen anywhere. We can do school in a building, a house, a boat, a field, you name it.

The most asked question is "how did you do it?" I just say just jump in and give it a go, you're stronger then you think. You, your children and your whole family will be so much happier being in control of not just you kids education, but the influences on their lives.

An unbreakable bond will form.
Yes, with anything there will be bad days and good days. But would you rather invest in you children or in you job?



Under a boat in the yard.



On a hammock as the sun rises.



Extra curricular activities kids love.




Biology class


Physical Ed.




Science of tides, moon, set and drift, navigation, etc.




How to be self reliant and fix your own pluming and more.
Allan not to happy about this class.



How to love our family and neighbor in a selfless way.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I am left to be the Captain

Allan has a job that comes up and he has to leave and fly to Paris. It is a scary thing for me to be left as the Captain. Thoughts run through my mind and fear wells up. But, Allan calms me by his confidence and trust to leave me in charge of what we jokingly call his mistress, "Odessa". Will the other woman and I get along on our own?

As soon as Allan gets on his flight the weather changes and the white caps are visible in the lagoon. Odessa moans and groans as she pulls on her lines. Late that night the wind still increase and I am forced to go out on the decks in the dark and pull down the awnings.

The next morning the wind was still howling and I had to go out in the rain and fend off a 32 foot sail boat that was drifting to close to Odessa. The captain came out and readjusted his lines. Few, one near miss.

Then a 50 footer, steel hull comes right next to us and glides in like an ice skater doing figure eights. The captain a Brobdingnagian man called Frank with a booming voice shows his expertise by coming with in inches of our hull and turning on a dime. I met Kat his wife as we both fended off from each others bows. My wide eyes telling the story of my inexperience.

The children and I wanted to surprise Allan so we washed and waxed the hull and polished all of the stainless steel rails, winches, pulleys, And never ending life lines. Odessa was a gleaming site to see.










In the end Odessa and I are very good friends.

Heineken Sailing Regatta

The St. Maarten Regatta starts this week. The whole island is a buzz. People rushing from here to there, Parties, fire works lighting up the night sky, and the waters are jammed pack with sail boats of every kind. With all of the fuss we took a brake from the list to enjoy a day at the races.

The wind was favorable and a perfect blue sky, help to make race day memorable. We went to a small beach in Margot on the French side of the island that is only reachable by boat. What a place to see the race. Blue ocean and round ocean weathered turquoise rocks littered the beach.





















Taking a Dip in the Cobalt Ocean

We awoken with a beautiful sunrise and decided to go to the beach on the west side of the island. But, if you know Allan, walking or taking the dollar bus is not an option. So out came the charts and plans were in the works. Soon the dingy was packed with snorkel gear lunch cooler full of icy cold drinks and kids. We had a blast driving the dingy around the island, the wind in our hair and the spray of the sea to cool us down from the hot sun.

When we stopped at a rocky cliff with weathered caves in the side of the shore we thought it was a perfect place to snorkel and have a picnic lunch. We were lulled into one of the most relaxing days so far, not a care in the world, just dinner on our minds.






                                      

Looking in the caves for treasure.


Isabel finds a nice spot to keep out of the sun.

                                      
Devon on the hunt for fish.


I love this photo. It seems like a dream.


Allan and Doreen 


I was told that star fish are lucky.
And we are.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Found the spot

We found an amazing dock close to the yard... so not far to go and an easy approach... well everyone said we'd never get into the dock due to our 9' draft. It was fun and we had to weave our way through sandbars making it look easy... the onlookers didn't know that we had been out the day before in the dingy with an old lump of iron and string. There's nothing more accurate than an old plumb line and I'm really glad that I didn't drop the $150 for a digital hand depth sounder thingy.






Simon immediately set about finding new modes of transportation, his bike was coming along but not finished yet.




The kids settled in right away... not as much space as back home, but at least everything is at arms length. Functional comfort is the way to go... easy to keep clean and no room to collect junk. NOTE: Don't allow Playdough on your boat... it get's everywhere.








But the best part about living on a boat is that you live outside.






Now... where did we put that second list?