Category Archives: Sailing adventures

Dr Seuss to the rescue

Our first sunrise over the Pacific Ocean

Our first sunrise over the Pacific Ocean

It was 5am and soon we would be having our first adventure out of Moreton Bay and into the coastal waters of Queensland on Medina. Medina’s previous owners had sailed her from the Whitsundays to Tasmania a number of times so I am sure she was looking forward to giving her sails and halyards a good stretch.

I hadn’t done any coastal sailing in a long time, nearly 10 years, and I was excited to get out there again, out into the elements where you feel a little on edge but truely alive.

After a final check that everything was in it’s place; we raised the anchor and were off, out of the lee of Moreton Island and into the ocean swell, motoring through the channel that would take us out into the relative safety of the Pacific Ocean. Oh how I had missed the ocean, I will never forget that sun rise, over first on Medina with no land impeding our view.

Medina heading north

Medina heading north

We were heading north, but the swell and waves were heading east which meant Medina was rolling from side to site with every wave we went up and down on. So I was down below, looking for the stash of extra tea towels and stubbie coolers to pack into the nooks and crannies to stop all the noise of our things rattling or rolling.

The Skipper and I are lucky enough not to get seasick so don’t mind these conditions, however, we were soon to find out that Orbit does get sea sick.

He woke up at about 6am to the unfamiliar sensation of his home rolling from one side to the other. I explained to him that we were ok but he would have to stay in bed for a while, at least until the rolling had decreased. Luckily he was happy to stay in bed, so I went back up on deck to help the Skipper set our headsail to try and reduce some of the rolling.

Tea towels stopping the rattling noise

Tea towels stopping the rattling noise

After the sail was set, I went back down below to check on Orbit. He was not well. He said his tummy felt funny and I started to look for something for him to throw up in. I wasn’t prepared for Orbit to be sea sick, he had never been sick sailing around Moreton Bay. But then again, he had never been in conditions like this before.

Unfortunately I didn’t find a suitable container in time and he vomited all over his pyjamas and bedding. The poor little guy had never thrown up before so the whole experience was quite upsetting for him.

After consoling him, I cleaned him up, changed his pyjamas and replaced the soiled bedding – all while he was still in his bed. After that I found a suitable container, just in case he was sick again.

Thankfully we were out of the channel by this point and the severity of the rolling had decreased – enough for me to make the Skipper a coffee at least. My focus then returned to caring for Orbit, who had thrown up again. He was managing the technique of throwing up in the container so there wasn’t too much mess to clean up. He was quite distressed and although I wanted to get Orbit up into the cockpit and into the fresh air, I couldn’t until it was safe enough to do so. So the only thing I could do was distract him.

Heading into Mooloolaba

Heading into Mooloolaba

I crammed into Orbit’s bed with him (which he thought was quite funny) and we read Dr Seuss books over and over again. As we were reading Cat in the Hat for the umpteenth time I asked him if he was feeling better, and he said he was but wanted Green Eggs and Ham again. So I took this as a sign that his sea sickness was abating.

Once the rolling had subsided enough for Orbit to be safely in the cockpit, I got him up. He almost instantly perked up and enjoyed the roller coaster ride of going up and down and side to side with the waves. He spent ages naming the wave as either ‘big’ or ‘baby’. Was fascinated by the large ships which were anchored just off the shipping channel, enjoyed watching the birds dive for their breakfast and spotting the high rise buildings along the coast.

Orbit recovering from sea sickness

Orbit recovering from sea sickness

After about an hour, he started to fall asleep in my arms, and I popped him back into bed. Thankfully he wasn ‘t sick again and he slept soundly till well after we were tied up in the marina at Mooloolaba. Once he was awake, we got lots of water into him to rehydrate and a jam sandwich for lunch to give him some energy. By mid afternoon he was back to his cheeky self.

We’ll be continuing our journey north tomorrow which will mean heading back out into the ocean. I am hoping Orbit won’t get sea sick again as the conditions will be different (southerly swell and lighter winds), so crossing fingers he should be alright.

But just in case, I will be prepared. I’ll have his container ready, multiple layers of bedding ready to go (so I can just strip off the soiled sheets if need be), and have his Dr Seuss ‘library’ on hand.

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!