A big thank you to Mike and Carissa from Ditching Suburbia for publishing my guest post!
You can read it by clicking the link
A big thank you to Mike and Carissa from Ditching Suburbia for publishing my guest post!
You can read it by clicking the link
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
Most people are surprised when they find out I work from Medina. Maybe it’s because they don’t see me ‘going to work’ or as one previous colleague put it “you don’t look like you live on a boat”. I wasn’t sure whether this was a insult or a compliment!
Since living on Medina, I have been very fortunate to be employed by companies that not only talk about having policies of flexible working environments, but actually put them into practice. In my current job, I work a set number of hours per week, when I work these hours is flexible, as long as I meet my deadlines. It doesn’t matter if I am in an office or on Medina.
When Medina is in the marina, working is pretty easy from a logistics perspective. 240 volt electricity is on tap, we have a strong internet connection and are close the airport for when I have to travel. We are also close to grandparents and family daycare, which provides Orbit with an opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends (without me cramping his style), and playing in houses with backyards two days a week.
Working at anchor is similar to working in the marina, the only things I need to be conscious of is the battery life on my laptop and connection to the internet. I try to manage the battery life to match the engine running schedule, charging it using the inverter (with the other 240 volt appliances that have batteries). So far so good with internet connection in anchorages, we haven’t had to hoist the wifi modem up the mast … yet! The Skipper looks after Orbit if I have to work outside his sleeping routine, which usually involves a fishing lesson of some description.
I have had to learn to read from a screen because we just don’t have the space to have loads of printing laying around the boat. We do have a printer, but I deliberately have it tucked away in an awkward space, so I only get it out when I have too. My work does rely on using reference books, which have presented a storage problem that I am yet to solve. At the moment I store them in bags and stash the bags around the boat, with the most used books in the bag that is most accessible. I did contemplate scanning them into my computer, but that has just seemed to daunting, given the number of books and number of pages in the books.
From a parenting perspective, working from Medina has been an evolving experience based on Orbit’s routine. When Orbit was a baby, I worked while he slept. But if I had an urgent deadline, he was happy to sit and supervise me (for short periods of time). Once he started being more interested in what I was doing, he wanted to ‘work’ too, which meant he wanted to type on the computer or read the report for me. I got nothing done, so I could only work while he was sleeping.
Now he’s a bit older, Orbit is happy to ‘work’ along side with me, either playing with his cars, doing puzzles, drawing or working on ‘his computer’. Things can get a bit cramped with us both sharing the same space, but we usually come to a compromise, i.e. I slowly get moved off the table, relocating to a chair and/or the floor. I do enjoy working together though, it means I often get more hugs!
But it’s not all about work, it’s all about Orbit. We spend mornings together, going on adventures (when we are anchored) or scheduled activities like swimming lessons or playgroup (when we are in the marina). In the afternoon I focus on work while Orbit is asleep, but how much I get done is dependant on how long Orbit sleeps for and his mood when he wakes up. So depending Orbit, on the type and how much work I need to do, there can be some early mornings, late nights and very busy afternoons.
At the moment deadlines, meetings and travel commitments are a consideration when and where we go sailing and this will be the same when we are cruising. When we are cruising, we won’t have as easy access grandparents (unless they come to visit or we visit them), there will be no family day care, access to the internet won’t be as reliable (I’ll be relying on local knowledge about anchorages that are a bit remote) and getting to an airport won’t be as easy. But all this can be managed with a good planning and adjusting our schedule to suit. It means we’ll be travelling slowly, but this will also have its advantages. But most importantly, Orbit and I will have the Skipper full time. It is going to be hard staying behind on Medina to work while the boys are out having adventures without me!
So raising a toddler and working from a sailing boat can be done, it just requires organisation and coordination. A big thank you to my employer and my support network for allowing it to happen for me!
I can hear you guys knocking on Medina’s hull or deck, asking “Medina, are you there?”
Yep, well sort of. It’s been a big few weeks. In the last three weeks, we’ve only spent 5 nights on Medina. I will explain all in the coming weeks, but in summary, it’s been a tad hectic. And I haven’t had the opportunity to update the blog as I would have liked.
The biggest thing is that Medina is nearly ready to spread her sails. Yep, Medina is nearly ready to go sailing!
We’ve also got a few big weeks coming up, so have lots to share about living on a sailing boat with a toddler.
I’ll also be attempting to overhaul the site to make it more user friendly. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas to improve the site.
Thanks for your patience and may your adventure continue too!