June 18, 2013

Changing Seasons = boat chores

Saying goodbye happens more in this life than most--but at least we know we'll see these wonderful people again someday
The other day, as I made dinner, our boat rang out with giggles and a familiar French/English conversation. A few hours later Maia cried herself to sleep after yet another goodbye—her sweet friends Cami and Rose (and their fab parents JF and Melanie) are on their way back to Quebec. The family that we first met in Nuku Hiva has sold Dorénavant and after four years they’re headed home.

I feel like I write endlessly about how the currents of this lifestyle carry people in and out of our lives. Part of coming to Australia was to take a break from the goodbyes—but of course just because we might stay in one place doesn’t mean the people around us will.

If anything staying here has made the goodbyes even more poignant: we don’t have the lure of the new and next to take the sting out of the final hugs. Instead we are rediscovering what it means to be in one place while life swirls past. We’re becoming reacquainted with seasonal rhythms (as much as Australia has seasonal rhythms, or seasons…). Though I’m not sure we call them summer or winter yet.
Ev's in the locker scrubbing while Maia and Charlie sort the stuff. See our nice new anchor in there? It's to replace the one that bent in 80 knots of wind...
Instead as the rainy season has eased to the dry season, it’s time to clean out lockers, wash away mildew and replace our sun/rain awning.
moss, rust and rips--I think the awning was done

Yes that is moss, or maybe it’s some sort of weird mildew. And yes, the stainless grommets we paid extra for have dissolved into rust. And oh, yes the last big squall kind of did it in. And it leaks. So using some fabric we bought (I think) in Mexico (for something??) and some snazzy vinyl glue we’ve tried a new method to build the awning. We’ll let you know how it works out. The plus is it only took a couple of hours to make.

While other boats finish up their chores and head off for their next adventure, it’s time for us to install new halyards, paint the bottom and re-bed leaking stanchions.
mildew and rust--sure signs of a leak

This one had a few bad things happen to it—note the bend… Initially snugging it up was enough to keep it from leaking, but the pile of mildewed books I found at its base confirms it was time for a more thorough repair. And as the winter days grow shorter, it’s also time to re-evaluate our solar panels and battery bank and make sure we have enough wattage to get through each day.

It’s also been time to say goodbye to the last of transient cruisers, and those who were selling their boats. And it’s been time to dig into the life we’ve been building here while also pondering the ‘what’s next’? We’re not actively cruising but we haven’t shrugged off that entire lifestyle either. Instead we live in a strange hybrid world where our boat is our insistent home but each day when we wake up in the same place, to the same routine, it still feels novel and new.

June 2, 2013

Sydney Siding

Cartwheeling around the World
Sydney is roughly a 1000 km from Brisbane. I mention this because one of the questions we’re frequently asked is whether or not we’ve been there. Or to Melbourne (1700 km), Adelaide (2100 km), Perth (4500 km) or Alice Springs (2600 km). The expectation is maybe we took a weekend jaunt by boat when no one was paying attention (well maybe not to Alice Springs). But at our typical cruising speed (if we could cut a few capes and sail as the crow flies) it would take us three weeks of non-stop sailing (provided we don’t get hung up on a mountain range) to reach Perth—the same length of time it took us to sail across the Pacific to the Marquesas.
Bondi Beach
Strolling through the Botanical Garden
Australia is big. Which means we probably won’t be seeing much of it by boat…

But our hope, thanks to a crazy invention called an aeroplane, is we’ll still get see as much of the country as our budget will allow. Which is how we ended up in Sydney. Evan was there to check out Vivid for work. Maia and I were lucky to tag along.

The city was lit up with images and lights for Vivid

Arriving in the midst of a view that you’ve seen a million times is one of the things I love about travel. No matter how many times I’d seen it in postcards, movies or on TV climbing the Opera House steps and looking out at the Bridge was enough to take my breath away. Actually, it was enough to make me trip and slice open my toe. And after I sorted out that I hadn’t broken the camera while a kind local thrust Dora bandaids at me and whispered I was missing part of my toe and might need a doctor, I quickly got Maia to move in front of the bridge so I could get her picture. Just in case I had to spend the rest of our trip in the ER…

Happily I think I cut through my toe’s nerves—so once it was taped up I never really felt it and decided to skip stitches and save worrying about it for a more convenient time. We spent the next two days hobbling through the city—admiring the mix of old sandstone, modern glass, gorgeous green spaces and cool creatures.
Fun with cockatoos

Maia fell in love with the museums—or one museum in particular. We made two visits to the Powerhouse Museum, a museum which defies description and categorization but still managed to bring together the Wiggles and the International Space Station in a cohesive way.

Maia and Sirena fulfill a dream and drive the Big Red Car

The last two days of our visit were spent with our wonderful US/Mexico cruising friends from Orca in their home on a river that looked (and felt!) more like the Pacific North West than I could have imagined. Then it was back on a plane, back to Brizzie and back to dreaming about the ‘where next’ in our life.