Author Archives: Rachel Maas

About Rachel Maas

Getting ready to go on a sailing adventure with the Skipper and our baby.

Orbit’s last week at kindy

The Skipper and I have agreed the hardest thing about leaving Hervey Bay was Orbit’s last week of kindy. Orbit loved going to kindy. It is where he made friends, learnt to write his own name, gained confidence in his speech and developed a joy of gardening.

As part of the transition from kindy, Orbit’s teachers suggested for him to do show and tell of what it is like to live on a sailing boat and his adventures. We decided to make a movie of Orbit’s life on Medina as it would be a bit of fun amongst the chaos of provisioning. Orbit chose what he wanted to show in the movie and what music to have in the background. The movie was a ‘hit’ at kindy, with the the children asking Orbit lots of questions.

Given the movie is an extension of my some what amateur drawings of Orbit’s life on Medina when he was one and two; and because it is from Orbit’s perspective, I thought I would share his video.

We hope you enjoy this little insight into his world.

p.s. Orbit will be finishing his kindy year on Magnetic Island as part of his transition to prep year.


Our new adventure

“Wait Mummy, I have to check the tides!”

We are finally on the first day of our new adventure!

Our preparation has taken weeks, with a big rush at the end. And even though the Skipper and I have been ships in the night, it has all worked out (we think!).

4 weeks ago, the Skipper was fitting new electronics (including a new wind vane) and doing general maintenance.

3 weeks ago, while the Skipper was in Brisbane for work, I was provisioning the heavy and bulky items that will be hard to carry when we don’t have a car.

2 weeks ago, while I was in New Zealand for work, the Skipper was servicing the engine, replacing halyards and finishing off his general maintenance list.

1 week ago, while the Skipper was in Egypt for work, I continued to provision, focusing on non-perishable items and cooking back up meals to freeze. It was Orbit’s last week at kindy and swimming lessons. At the end of the week, Orbit and I headed to his Brisbane to spend time with our family and friends.

Goodbye Hervey Bay

It’s hard to believe that 24 hours before we left this morning, we were 250kms away at Orbit’s grandparents house.

Our last day and night in Hervey Bay were quite emotional, saying goodbye and see you soon to family and friends, provisioning our fresh food, packing, organising, reorganising, throwing things out, repacking and reorganising, washing, filling water tanks and a bit of sleep.

We were all up early this morning to do the final preparations so we could catch the high tide. At one point, Orbit said “Wait Mummy, I have to check the tides”! Once he had ‘checked the tides’ in his tide book, he gave the ok for the Skipper to start Medina’s engine … (who is the Skipper? 🙂 ) By 7am we were finally ready to leave, just after the peak of the high tide.

Because of our rushed preparation in the last 24 hours, we haven’t travelled far, just to Fraser Island. There was any wind to push Medina along, so we just motored and enjoyed the scenery as we’re not sure when we’ll be seeing it again.

Orbit was so excited to be out of the marina. He was more involved this time and enjoyed helping the Skipper navigate by pointing out beacons, other boats and a lighthouse. He even ‘organised morning tea’, which involved finding the lamingtons, bringing them into the cockpit and saying “Mummy, are you hungry?”

Orbit pointing out the lighthouse on Big Woody Island

After a bit of rest and relaxation we’ll be ready for our journey north. Over the coming weeks I hope to post about our Hervey Bay adventures and our adventures sailing north. But for now, I’m off for a nana nap …

The fun of ad-lib (i.e. making it up as we go along)

Hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and New Year break. The Skipper, Orbit and I had a great time catching up with family and friends. I was reflecting on our time over Christmas and New Years (as you do when downloading photos), and I noticed a similarity between some of out adventures … there was a fair bit of ad-lib or making it up as we went along. Nothing major, just the little things we did to fill in time waiting for significant events to occur, e.g. waiting for our coffee to arrive, waiting for dinner to cook – filling in the space Dr Seuss calls “The Waiting Place”.

Waiting for breakfast to arrive

One of the things we like to do as a family is go out for breakfast. The time between ordering breakfast and waiting for it to arrive can be a bit time consuming for a small child. So to keep Orbit occupied we made up a game to keep him sitting in his seat. This technique involves a few pre-requisites, disposable serviettes, a pen and a toy car. Once or breakfast is ordered, we draw a map on a serviette. Myself or the Skipper draw the roads and Orbit quite happily fills in the details. Orbit then has a map on which he can play with his cars. This is a bit of a variation to the roads-scape I described last year (I still have to finish the nautical version). We can usually drag this game out to about 15 minutes which is usually enough time for our breakfast to arrive and if we’re really lucky it can be dragged out after breakfast too.

Waiting for the Skipper and I to stop talking

One of the joys of being on Medina and cruising is being able to stop in picturesque anchorages. Where there is a good beach, we take the tinny into the beach to have a swim and  explore. One of Orbit’s “waiting places” in this situation is when the Skipper and I are having a chat with other people on the beach. Orbit usually wants us to play with him and doesn’t necessarily appreciate the joy of meeting new people. So what we do? It’s usually a case of looking around and finding something for him to do, luckily one of Orbit’s favourite things isn’t too far away – sticks! Once he’s found a stick to his liking, its just a case of  giving him a list of things to draw, it can be anything shapes, pictures or letters. Even finding the ‘right’ stick can occupy a significant  portion in time!

Waiting for me to cook dinner

We have been very spoilt this summer, the Skipper installed air conditioning on Medina! It has been absolute heaven to be able to have a good sleep at night and be able to get things done during the day without sweating. What to do while waiting for the Skipper to install the air conditioning? Simple, make a game out of the left over core flute the Skipper was using to make a temporary cover (similar to what we do when out for breakfast). And being back on Medina, Orbit had some extra toys to incorporate into the game. Over the last few days, while waiting for me to cook dinner, Orbit has been adding extra bits of core flute to his original piece, making extra roads, bridges, tunnels and turning the whole thing into a cubby house! However, unfortunately it all came to a very abrupt end when the cubby house was used as a very slippery slide.

I am learning that the “waiting place” is not a bad place to be, in fact, it’s the place where our imaginations can really thrive!

We’re going on a stick hunt

On our stick hunt

As you may know, we have started a little tradition of making Christmas decorations for family and friends. But this year due to everything that has been going on (travel, work etc) Orbit and I haven’t had the lead up time we’ve had in previous years. It was already December and I had no idea what to Christmas decorations make and we had very little time left to make them.

I was searching the internet for ideas when an answer arrived in my inbox. I was saved by Picklebums, a fantastic parenting/activities website for kids of all ages. That week’s newsletter had a list of Christmas decorations to make at home – woo hoo! Scrolling through the list, the stick reindeer stood out as the perfect decoration for this year.

For the last six months or so (maybe longer), Orbit has been obsessed with sticks. You can imagine my disgust when he would walk around with a stick in his mouth like a dog. I have lost count of the number of sticks I have found on Medina or in the car. But on the positive side, Orbit does draw some pretty cool sand pictures with the sticks when we are at the beach.

One of Orbit’s sand drawings

Orbit’s grandparents made the connection with the sticks – he was copying the character Spot from the movie, The Good Dinosaur! With the connection made, I have been able to manage Orbit’s behaviour beyond just saying (also read yelling) “take the stick out of your mouth!”. Thank goodness for grand parents!

So embracing Orbit’s obsession with sticks (he no longer puts them in his mouth), the decision to make stick reindeer was pretty easy.

The next day was gorgeous and wan’t meant to be too hot, so I decided to turn collecting the sticks for the reindeer into an adventure. We packed our bag (including a picnic) and went on an a stick hunt.

Orbit and I had lots of fun wondering around the bush looking for appropriate sticks, we even made up a song based on, “We’re going on a bear hunt” …

The stick reindeer production line

We’re going on a stick hunt , We’re going to find a forked one, What a beautiful day, We’re not scared!

Yeah, Bush! Brown scrubby bush, We can’t go over it, We can’t go under it, We’ll have to go through it

Look crunch, Look crunch, Look crunch

What’s that?

One small close fork, Two rough breakable ends, Two matching friends

It’s our stick!

Quick, put it in the bag

Orbit and a stick reindeer

With sticks collected and bellies full of morning tea, we headed off to the local haberdashery to cool down the air conditioning and buy some buttons, glue and eyes. Back on Medina, after some lunch and a nap (stick hunts are very exhausting), Orbit and I got the stick reindeer production into operation. I snapped the sticks to the right size and Orbit decided which buttons to go on each. They were really quick to make and all I had to do was use the hot glue gun. Once the glue was dry, Orbit then decided who was getting each reindeer and we packaged them up ready for their delivery.

The next day our reindeers stared to slowly make their way to loved ones houses and boats, just in time for Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you and your family from the Skipper, Orbit and myself. We hope you have lots of amazing adventures over the holidays, no matter how big or small they are. Oh, and apologies for the ear worm!

Once it’s in the water …

If I had a dollar for overtime I said to Orbit “be careful, once it’s in the water it’s gone” I would be financially rich.

Orbit likes any type of car, but racing ones are pretty cool

Orbit likes any type of car, but racing ones are pretty cool

Orbit usually has a toy car in his hand so, the ‘it’ is usually a car. Orbit loves playing with cars, its doesn’t matter what type or where it is, in his bed, the Skipper’s and my bed, the v-berth, at the table, in the cockpit or on deck.

I have learnt never to leave Medina without at least one in my bag. I’ve even popped a few in our tinny bag (just in case). If ever we are caught out and have to wait for something (e.g. the doctor is running late at the medical centre), we can always make a game out of cars. Any line can be a road and it’s amazing what we can make bridges and tunnels out of (e.g. serviettes at a coffee shop).

Back on Medina, there are many places for Orbit to lose his cars into the water. A car being thrown overboard or rolling through the scuppers is obvious and he is pretty careful about this. But less obvious and easier to forget is loosing a car in the water from within the cockpit.

Starboard cockpit drain hole with stubby cooler

Starboard cockpit drain hole with stubby cooler

Medina has a centre cockpit and this means she has drain holes to allow any water that may come in, to drain out. Drain holes for water is a good thing, but for other things, not so good. Once something falls in a drain hole, it’s gone for good – to the bottom of the marina or the ocean. I usually loose pegs and Orbit has lost a car or two. So how do we stop things going down the drain holes?

Simple, stubby coolers.

We place an upside down stubby cooler on each drain hole and just like magic they prevent things falling into them. The best bit about using stubby coolers is that if water does get into the cockpit, they float, allowing the water to escape. I discovered this one day when I was giving the cockpit a good scrub and forgot to remove the stubby coolers before hosing out the cockpit.

Port side cockpit drain

Port side cockpit drain

Orbit was playing in the cockpit the other day and he wanted me to get something for him. For the life of me I could not work out what he wanted. After about 5 minutes of both of us struggling, Orbit trying to explain what he wanted and me trying to understand, I worked out he wanted some stubby coolers.

Once he’d put the stubby holders over the drain holes, Orbit proceeded to make a cubby house. After he was finished I asked what each of the pieces of the cubby house were for, he said the steps we use to hop on and off Medina were to hold the umbrella, his umbrella and gum boots were because it was raining, his sand toys were to play with on the the beach after it stopped raining and his cars, were to play with “of course”.

I then asked Orbit if he could fit in his cubby house. He just looked at me, said “no” and continued to play. I guess the fact that he couldn’t fit in his cubby house was ok. He had made his cubby house, he could play with his cars next to the cubby house and he was happy with that. Geez I love this kid.