A few weekends ago we set off for a mini adventure to the Sandhills, Moreton Island. Our mini adventure started with the usual early morning flurry of getting Medina ready to go sailing. After breakfast, we topped up the water tanks, checked all the relevant components (e.g. navigation equipment, radio checks, fuel levels etc), packed up the shade sail, 240 volt appliances (such as the kettle, toaster and washing machine) and put away anything that could be turn into a missile. Then there was the last trip to the rubbish bin and the Skipper was ready to start the engine.
We follow the same routine each time we leave the marina, the Skipper starts the engine, Orbit goes into bed to look after ‘his friends’ – Yamba and Pirate, I ‘throw the lines’ and the Skipper reverses Medina out of her berth and into the channel, out into Moreton Bay. Once we’re in safe water and Medina has been sorted (e.g. fenders and lines stowed, sails up and checking were on the correct course), Orbit comes up into the cockpit. When Orbit was little he would relax in the baby carrier with me, now he is bigger he sits with either the Skipper or myself. He has always been fascinated by the helm (steering wheel), particularly when the auto pilot is on and it ‘moves by itself’.
It was a gorgeous day but very little wind, so fantastic conditions for having Orbit in the cockpit. Orbit was determined to helm (or steer the boat), so the Skipper gave him a lesson that was appropriate for a 17 month old. The lesson consisted of sitting on the Skipper’s lap and and turning the wheel (which wasn’t very much because the auto pilot was on) and trying to stop him from playing with the auto pilot (which makes a beeping noise each time one of the buttons are pressed). Apart from trying to stop him from playing with the autopilot, we had a lovely time pointing out the local wildlife, reading books, singing silly songs and having a wonderful time all round.
After floating around Moreton Bay for a few hours (and not getting very far) we decided to motor over to the Sandhills so we could catch the high tide, allowing us to take the tinny all the way to the beach. One of Orbit’s favourite things to do is go for a ride in the tinny. He knows when ever we pop him into his life jacket it’s time for a ride in the tinny and he gets really excited. However, this time, by the time we got to the Sandhills, Orbit was sound asleep so we decided to postpone the trip to the beach till the next day and the Skipper went fishing in the tinny instead. Orbit got his trip on the beach the next day at high tide and spent most of the time playing in the sand, building and knocking down sandcastles with the Skipper.
Our mini adventure was also memorable because it was the first time we were able to go to a friend’s boat for sundowners (drinks at sunset). Quite early on we discovered that sundowners are not well timed with a baby – its usually dinner or bath time and don’t forget to throw in the ‘witching hour’. But now Orbit is older, we have more flexibility with the timing of dinner (cheese and biscuits are much nicer than vegetables) and baths (he still gets a bath at anchor) and the tinny cures any potential witching hour. We have the process of getting Orbit on and off Medina to and from tinny sorted, but going through this process with another boat (of completely different shape) was an initially worrying but successful process.
Another new experience for me was on the cooking side of things. It was my first time cooking pikelets on Medina (I am starting with recipes that don’t need electric appliances). Each time we have a mini adventure I try to cook something new to see what it is like either at anchor or while we are motoring or sailing – so learning to cook with the world moving around you. I am very lucky because the Skipper and Orbit are happy taste testers. Its all part of getting ready to go cruising – feeding the crew is one of the most important things, it helps prevent fatigue and boosts morale (particularly when the weather isn’t so good).
It was a fantastic mini adventure, we each learnt new things and had a lot of fun in the process, we’re one step closer to going on our ‘big adventure’!