Saturday, 17 September 2016

How to convince your parents your dream is worth their hassle!

We have just passed the one year mark having returned from our boating lifestyle in the Caribbean to a land lubber life back in New Zealand.
Local arboretum. 
As I have mentioned in previous posts, it has been an emotional roller coaster, weighing up lifestyles, good use of money, constant sacrifices in order to save and settling/ being content with what we've got right now: a very simple and generally easy lifestyle.
Salem getting some surf tips from Dave. 
While going through all this, my parents have very patiently put up with us taking over and messing up their house, property and lives!
Eden the punk!
With their financial backing in materials, Dave built an extra room so our living arrangements can now be separate from their one bedroom cottage  ( we still invade their bathroom).
Our living space with kitchen bench and one burner cooker.
Room with a view.
When the craziness was at its worst, our family's next step for purpose and direction was up for grabs, like a cork tossed by the waves.  I found myself praying for one main thing: if we are to go back to our boat, let there be peace.
Sunrise Wainui beach, Gisborne.
Our car had died.  We were spending all spare time trawling the net for a vehicle suitable for a family of five, reliable, cheap running costs and wasn't going to drain our savings.  A surprisingly difficult task and not nearly as much fun as trawling for boats (or fish for that matter!)
It had been a good couple of weeks relying again on parents and others for transporting kids to and from school, work, groceries etc. Unfortunately what little public transport we do have, doesn't operate 7 minutes into the countryside.
Salem enjoying friend's horses. 
I  was feeling desperate, late one night we considered flying to Auckland and somehow trapsing around to view various possibilities.  No flights available.  That was when I caught a glimpse of airfares to the U.S.A $300 less than normal!  My heart kicked into nitro as I excitedly raced through possible dates, availabilities, terms and conditions.  Dave was not impressed with my major tangent and trudged off to bed.  I managed to reserve the tickets and necessary accommodation between flights (yay, no sleeping on airport floors like last time! ).
I woke with some apprehension the next day as to what would unfold.  This was essentially the go, or not to go mother of all decisions.
Dave enjoying some bigger swell days.
To my surprise and relief, Dave was very chilled about the whole thing, so long as I could organize all the details of the one way trip.
The next challenge was for Eli, whether he wanted to return with us or stay back in N.Z.  We hoped he would choose to come, because it's not every day you get the chance to aim for the Panama Canal. The decision not to come with us may be regretted later in life.
Motoring into boatyard jetty and ramp, tractor and trailer waiting for us.
We knew he felt anxious about certain aspects of sailing, also, the lack of comfort on our project boat, as opposed to the other more glitzy, costly and comfortable boats we had experienced visiting. However,  we didn't want to add any further pressure, the decision was his to make.  To our delight (perhaps in a moment of weakness), he agreed to come!  Yay, so pleased and proud of him.
Crystal clear water at boatyard jetty. 

We have booked our return for the 3rd February 2017.  Everyone is much more at peace about the decision (with the odd sprinkling of a few nerves once in a while).  The younger two especially are getting increasingly more excited the closer we get, often exclaiming they "can't wait till we get back to the boat!" Lots of reminiscing various aspects going on, mainly of the warmth, swimming and snorkeling every day.  We are trying to prepare them as best we can with YouTube clips of sailing and every day conversations.

Partial view: 2 of the 5 batteries.
The current, loose plan is to get the boat operational and floating. We are praying our 5 massive, super expensive, deep cycle gel 8d batteries have not died on us.  We have standing rigging, sails and safety and many other technical issues to deal with, but I won't bore you with the details.  Where we go from there, apart from localized sailing, largely depends on what's left of the budget - a decent chunk of this disappears just through currency conversion.
Lots of planning, preparation and research going on. 
Ideally, we'd love to do the Panama Canal and from there, we'd love to get to the Pacific Islands  (via the dreaded 38+ days of non-stop ocean).
Plans will have to be under constant review, money dependant.  In the meantime, research overload continues.
So, what is the magic ingredient in convincing your parents/in-laws to have rowdy boarders invade their once peaceful lives, in order for you to save money and realize your dreams, you may be wondering?  Perhaps delusional denial that it can't be all that bad, or be that long helps!
Yay for pumping surf days!
In all honesty, sorry to disappoint, but there is no magic solution. They just happen to be exceptionally encouraging, accepting, hospitable, generous, and tolerant people who I feel very humble and proud to call them my parents.
Mum and Dad's latest backyard project.
Thanks Mum and Dad, we couldn't have done this without you.  Xx

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Of decisions, destinations, fun times and feijoas!

A number of friends voiced some concern from my last post, so thought I better reassure readers that we are A.O.K!!

dress up party: Spanish pirate and Shogun from the 
NZ movie "Boy"
We quite often get comments about “how lucky” we are, so I wanted to show that things aren’t always palm tree lined beaches, sunbathing and sun-downers (drinks on sun-down).

As in every lifestyle, there are always hurdles and challenges to overcome.  One of the great things Dave and I noticed about our year on the boat is how well (generally speaking), we do work together, we make a pretty good team.
Christmas day: family surf

It’s been 7 months since we returned to NZ and through much discussion, deliberation and time passing on land, we feel more resolved and determined to continue on with our boat plan/lifestyle. 

The apprehension is still there but we will continue on anyway, God willing, with the aim of returning to the boat in February 2017.  

There we will be making the necessary preparations for the big sail: from the Netherland Antilles, up, over the Colombia head, down to Panama (10-12 days sail approx.). Waiting to cross the Panama Canal can take a week or two, but the crossing is only a couple of days.  The Galapagos islands, about 5-6 days out from Panama is not affordable for us to stop so, from Panama, the Pacific crossing to the Marquesas, will be for us approximately 30+ days.

(click on the red balloons for a bit more info or zoom in to find the actual islands!).

In the meantime, saving continues and so does life.  Here's a few snapshots of what we've been up to:

Visiting the home I grew up in, Coromandel Peninsula...
View from my old house

Whitianga estuary

Salem and Eli in the water digging for pipis
Pipi hunters return with a hefty load each
Hot Water Beach: trying to find the sweet, hot spot

Hot water beach, ocean side

family reunion at cousin's farm by the river, homemade bbq consisting of cow's feeding trough and river stones
 Tologa Bay, NZ's longest wharf of 600m

Surf search up the coast: Tologa Bay or Uawa

Our place: Gisborne

Gisborne harbour and city

Pohutukawa tree in blossum: NZ's Christmas tree.  Young Nick's head in background, Gisborne

Eden gets third in two day go kart club champs!

Eden catching waves by himself!

Great shot of Eli surfing, thanks to Derek

And when there's no surf, "tarp surfing" it is!

This next picture is especially for our non-New Zealand readers: the fruit we missed the most last autumn...

the glorious tangy, sweet "feijoa". You can eat the skin and flesh. If you're going to visit NZ, I highly recommend our autumn- April/May.

Until next time, may you enjoy the ride that is life.