Category Archives: Sailing adventures

We did it!

Our little family

Our little family

In the infamous words of Dora the Explorer “we did it!” (sorry for the ear worm).

Yesterday was an exhausting day but extremely rewarding, one that I will never forget.

After Father’s Day breakfast with Orbit’s grandparents, we were back on Medina doing the final organising and spending time with the grandparents and our marina family. As soon as the wind had turned easterly, it was time to go (we are finally watching the weather instead of a clock).

We had planned to wave ‘see you soon’ to Orbit’s grandparents as we motored past the breakwater out of the marina. So with with the final preparations completed, we left our marina berth and I got Orbit up on deck so he could wave too.

As we went past the breakwater, we realised Orbit’s grandparents were not there. After a few phone calls (thank goodness for mobile phones) we found out they had been delayed trying to find a carpark. So a U-turn it was, we were not missing out on waving to them!

Leaving the marina

Leaving the marina

Heading back into the marina, Orbit got quite upset and said ‘No mummy, no home, stay here’. Bless his little cotton socks. The second time out of the marina, his grandparents were there. We waved as if no one was watching and once they were out of site, some tears and some deep breaths it was time to focus on the adventure ahead.

Remember my plans of having everything sorted, organised, put away … well that did not happen! Everything until yesterday morning had been put away, but our final loads of washing, our permanent mooring lines and last minute bits and pieces just thrown down below, into a spot where they could to do the least amount of damage in the worst case scenario.

I was thankful that the Skipper had decided to motor to our first anchorage – to give the newly serviced engine a good run in. It meant that Medina was relatively ‘flat’ and I could put things away as we went along.

Orbit living his dream - he's finally at 'the beach'!

Orbit living his dream – he’s finally at ‘the beach’!

Orbit feel into a deep sleep after his lunch, he thought he was something pretty special sitting in the cockpit with his dad, munching away on his sandwich. He didn’t even wake up once we had anchored and turned the engine off. A few hours later he was up, the first thing he said was ‘beach’ so it was into the tinnie and off to the beach.

So for the next few days, we are just going to be taking it all in, doing some final provisioning and plan the detail of our next few weeks.

As I sit here with my coffee, watching the sun rise I feel so blessed and thankful. Thank you to everyone for your warm wishes and thank you for coming on the adventure with us.

Draw mummy, draw please (but don’t sing … please!)

Three jelly fish

Three jelly fish

One of the activities Orbit and I discovered while having a break from the blog was drawing songs. I am quite keen to develop his love of music whether its listening to it, playing it or in this case, drawing it.

Whether on Medina, in the car or in a house, we usually have some type of music playing in the background, anything from classic through to modern, by Australian and international artists. It could be a CD, the radio or playlist on our ipods/iphones. We have given Orbit the Skipper’s old iPod. It has his own music, so he can listen to what he wants to by either plugging it into Medina’s stereo, listening on his headphones or straight out of the iPod.

I am slowly building a playlist of age appropriate songs that Orbit can listen to, sing along to and dance to; but don’t annoy the Skipper and I (not an easy balance). Let’s be honest, children songs are great but after an hour or so they can get a bit annoying (particularly if its the same song on repeat)!

Our recipe for Orbit’s playlist was to start with some modern children songs (there are some great songwriters, producers etc out there producing some fantastic children’s music), throw in some of the old classics (can’t go past Play School and Anne Murray) then round it out with some everyday songs (i.e. songs that don’t have naughty words in them). If only I could describe how proud I was when Orbit started to sing along to Sunsets by Powderfinger and Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap.

Singing a Cowboy Song

Singing a Cowboy Song

We also try to use music in everyday learning. For toilet training we used to sing Shake Your Booty by KC and the Sunshine Band (more relevant for boys than girls). Doing the actions to Open, Shut Them has been a fantastic way to build the strength back in Orbit’s hand after the splint was taken off.

Back to the discovery. It was a rainy day and we were stuck inside Medina, busy doing our own thing with Orbit’s playlist in the background. Orbit was playing with his cars on a ‘roadscape’ drawn in his scrap book. After a while, he looked up and said “draw mummy, draw please”. After a few questions and failed attempts at drawing what I thought he wanted me to draw (i.e. more roads, trees, stop signs etc), I realised, Orbit wanted me to draw the song.

Lucky the next song was something easy, Three Jelly Fish, so as I drew I sang along to the song. Which Orbit promptly stated, “no mummy, no singing, please!.” Those of you who have heard me sing will know, if there is something I do really well, it’s sing very very badly! The next song was the Singing a Cowboy Song, a bit harder to draw, but then relief when the third was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star

Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star

The trick to the activity is being able to draw the song, before the song ends, which can be quite a challenge when a song is only about 60 seconds long and the playlist is on random, so have the crayons out of the pencil case and ready to go!

I was meaning to get photos of the drawing the songs on Medina, but got distracted by other events, and I forgotten that we have discovered the activity until during the week when Orbit was going through his scrap book and was singing the songs as he got to the pictures. This activity will be great for when we are cruising, as we’ll be able to do it on angle of sail. And am so looking forward to when Orbit does the drawing and not just the singing!

Mud crabs and tinny shoes

The Skipper, Orbit and I were heading to our tinny after a lovely afternoon on the beach. All three of us were barefoot, walking through sand and sea grass exposed by the falling tide.  We weaved a wriggly path, trying to avoiding the ‘swams’ of soldier crabs, so we wouldn’t be nipped or step on them. We were almost at the tinny when we heard a child scream followed by a ‘controlled yell’, ” [insert name of child’s father] do you have a pair of pliers on you?, quick hurry, please hurry!”.

Orbit in his new tinny shoes

Orbit in his new tinny shoes

The three of us spun around to see a family trying to do the best for their toddler. A mud crab (luckily it was only a small one) had latched onto the toddler’s big toe, causing a great deal of pain.

We were focused on solider crabs, we never expected a mud crab on the exposed beach. So, the Skipper and I promptly picked Orbit up and put him in the tinny (hoping the mud crab didn’t have a brother or sister interested in taking one of his toes). We rummaged around to see if we had anything in the tinny to help – had the Skipper left his fishing bag there? There was a pair of pliers in the fishing bag. Nope.

The only thing we had to offer the family, was a box of sultanas (which I had bought with us in case Orbit wanted a snack). As I carefully walked over to the family, the mud crab had let go of little boy’s toe and he was ok. The grandmother was grateful for our small gesture of the sultanas and used them to distract the little boy from his predicament. I offered to go back to Medina and get some ice, first aid kit or anything else she needed, but she explained they were going to head to the local medical centre to get the little boy check out there. Luckily it was only a short drive away.

It was a very good wake up call for the Skipper and I. If this sort of thing could happen on the beach of one of favourite anchorages (where there is a medical centre close by), what would it be like if we were more remote? Even within Moreton Bay, medical help can be a few hours away.

So I took a three-fold approach:

  1. How to prevent the incident – Tinny shoes
  2. If something did happen, what would we do – Create a ‘just in case’ bag
  3. Review our first aid kit on Medina.
Orbit loves wearing our new Musto backpack - it also doubles as our grocery bag when it rains

Orbit loves wearing our new Musto backpack – it also doubles as our grocery bag when it rains

I headed off to the shops to buy tinny shoes. We had briefly discussed getting tinny shoes, but had not thought it was too urgent as we had previously carried our thongs (also known as flip flops and jandles) in the tinny. Thongs are great but aren’t good for walking through water, so we did this barefoot. I was after shoes that could be worn in water and out, would protect our toes but could also breathe, essentially so we could walk from the water into a coffee shop, do the shopping or go on a hike.

It was easy finding shoes for the Skipper and I, but I had trouble finding shoes for Orbit. As luck would have it, the son of a friend had recently grown out of his, and my wonderful friend offered them to us, without even knowing I was in the process of looking for the shoes. How lucky were we!

I have also started the process of putting together a ‘just in case’ bag with a basic first aid kit etc to take with us when were go on our adventures. Nothing too over the top, but a realistic collection of items that may come in handy if something does go wrong. My plan is to update the ‘just in case bag’ depending on where we are, e.g. focusing on stingers as we head up north.

IMG_6994I have to admit, I did lash out and by a rather flash Musto waterproof backpack for the purpose. My logic being that we can use the bag for shopping (especially on a rainy days in the marina), it’s big enough to fit Orbit’s life jacket in and it will be great for transporting our laptops etc in ‘relative safety’ (when in the tinny). We preferred the backpack (as opposed to a carry bag) because it would be easier to hop in and out of the tinny, easier to carry if we decide to go on longer walks and leaves it two hands free. So we’ll see how it goes, I’ll let you know. 

Medina’s first aid kit seems to be a constant work in progress. We tend to add and update things on a regular basis. It reflects our learnings and our experiences such as the one described and advice from other families (sailing and land based). I am sure it shall continue to do so.

Hope you have an amazing adventure this week – no matter how big or small it may be 🙂

The freedom

I think we are addicted to sailing … or at least the feeling you get when you start the engine, throw the lines, leave the marina, set the sails and turn the engine off. Or maybe its the feeling of being closer to the elements, of being away from suburbia and the rat race, I am not sure, but what ever it is, we need our ‘fix’!

When we were setting the sails yesterday, I said to the Skipper “I can’t believe it’s been five weeks since we last took Medina out”. His response was that he didn’t know how we managed to survive eight months of Medina not leaving the marina.

We had a good excuse for Medina not leaving the marina for eight months. The Skipper was rebuilding the engine and refurbishing the anchor well while working full time. With hindsight I now know how much we relied on the hope, expectation and believing in our dream that one day we would become a long term cruising family.

But enough about the past, we are out here now (if only for a few days) and life could not be any better. We have the basics to go long term cruising and we’ll just do what we can and what we can afford to do in the time we have left. We’ll tackle the residual items as we go, we accept that it will never be complete, there will always be something to do.

I managed to snap a candid shot of Orbit running to the Skipper on the beach this morning (Medina is in the background), I thought it summarised my feelings extremely well – after all a picture says 1,000 words. So on that note, I shall leave you with the photo and hope you all have a top week!

Freedom!

Freedom!

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming”

When people find out we live on a sailing boat, one of the most commonly asked questions is “does Orbit know how to swim?”

Orbit's old life jacket

Orbit’s old life jacket

Our answer starts with the explanation that Orbit has been going to swimming lessons since he was about 6 months old. But, if he fell into the water, would we have the confidence that he would be able to swim himself to safety? The answer at this stage is no, we don’t believe he would.

The Skipper and I see Orbit’s ability/skill to swim as only part of the picture of Orbit being water safe. There are also the physical barriers to prevent him from falling in, a life jacket to keep him afloat if he fell in and most importantly, our supervision.

So swimming lessons, tick. Physical barriers to prevent Orbit from falling in, I still have to finish the netting, and jackstays are on (for when Orbit, the Skipper or I have our harnesses on). Our supervision, well that never stops, but it is a lot less when Orbit is safely tucked up in his bed with the lee cloth up (even in the marina). The life jacket to keep Orbit afloat? please keep reading …

New life jacket

New life jacket

Orbit has always loved wearing his life jacket – it has been a sign that he is going in the tinny – that he is going on an adventure. But getting him used to wearing it in the water has been a long journey. We haven’t used his life jacket as a swimming aid, far from it, but we would like him to get used to wearing his jacket in the water, in case he falls in. So, if he falls in, he knows to trust the jacket. That the jacket it will keep him afloat, keep him the right way up and that he can swim in it, until we can get to him.

Since Orbit’s first trip to the beach in the tinny, the Skipper or I would gently coax Orbit into the water for a swim with his jacket on, only to be faced with fierce opposition. Orbit was happy to go swimming, just not with his life jacket on. So we decided to be patient, to give into Orbit’s opposition with the hope that it would work next time. We didn’t want to force Orbit to do it, potentially creating angst with swimming or wearing a the life jacket.

IMG_5987

Orbit swimming in his life jacket, Medina is in the background

On our most recent adventure, Orbit was happy to go for a swim with his life jacket on! It was such a relief to see him swimming between the Skipper and I and his grandparents. As I watched Orbit enjoying the freedom of going where ever he wanted to swim, I had Dory (from Finding Nemo) in my head singing “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”.

So what changed? It could have been anything. Orbit was older, he had moved up a lesson in swimming lessons (where the Skipper or I weren’t in the pool with him), he had a new life jacket, he had his grandparents encouraging him, the water temperature was lovely … I can’t say exactly what the change was, but I am sure they all had a contribution.

So will Orbit ever be prepared for falling in the water? I doubt it, just as I doubt if the Skipper or I will ever will be ready for falling in the water. But what we can do, is be water safe, be as prepared as possible, manage the risks and enjoy our adventure along the way!