Monthly Archives: March 2015

Buzzy Bee to the rescue – Part 2

A quick follow up to last week’s post on Orbit’s buzzy bee.

We did go for a sail on the weekend and Orbit was keen to get out on deck once we were anchored. Keen to take his buzzy bee with him, I found myself searching for something to make a harness and tether for Orbit’s little friend. A bit of nylon rope, a clip and a few knots and buzzy bee had his harness and tether!



Buzzy bee to the rescue!

Orbit is going through a phase (or I would like to think it is a phase) of not doing anything that I would like or need him to do. He doesn’t want to sit on the potty, doesn’t want to have lunch, doesn’t want to wear a nappy, doesn’t want to hop in the backpack so we can get between Medina and the car, the list goes on and on.

I am not sure when our days started to be filled with little battles, it seems to have crept up on us. First there was the odd one or two tantrums but now there is sheer defiance. I have been reassured that this is typical behaviour of a nearly two year old, he is just asserting his independence and working out boundaries, that it will pass. Or maybe we’ll work out a way for our stubborn personalities to get along.

Orbit with his buzzy bee

Orbit with his buzzy bee

There are few things Orbit is happy to do amongst all this angst. One of these is taking his buzzy bee for a walk. I think Orbit likes taking his buzzy bee for a walk because I generally let him go where he would like, he is outside and he has a ‘friend’ with him.

Orbit’s little bee has travelled some ground, along the floating marina, through car parks and muddy puddles, across grassy areas, up and down ‘hills’ and back home to Medina. On one hand Orbit is so gentle when unraveling the string when it gets caught around a wheel or a wing but then on the other, he is so rough as he runs with the little bee following behind, its clicks getting faster as Orbit’s little legs start to run.

When walking along the floating marina, Orbit is conscious of where his bee is in relation to the water, watching it as he gets closer to the edge. Orbit is also fascinated as the little bee sometimes (at low tide) overtakes him as they descend down the ramp onto the floating marina.

I found this photo on 

I found this photo on

While Orbit has been taking his buzzy bee on mini-adventures (I am just there to make sure neither of them fall in the water), we have had some wonderful conversations with people about how they grew up with a buzzy bee or their children/grandchildren have. This prompted me to google the buzzy bee and did you know that it has a sailing connection? According to wikipedia, the “iconic New Zealand symbol, the Buzzy Bee caricature was used on the keel of NZL84, one of Emirates Team New Zealand’s entrant yachts for the America’s Cup held in Valencia, Spain, in 2007.”

As we are going out for a sail this weekend, I might need to quickly make a tether for Orbit’s buzzy bee so he can take it for a walk around the deck. I think I should invest in a backup bee (just in case)!

“The Sea Wife’s Handbook”

IMG_3204The Skipper gave me an interesting present for our first Christmas on Medina. A book titled “The Sea Wife’s Handbook” (new edition) written by Joyce Sheightholme and published by Angus and Robertson, in 1976 (but first published in 1970).

After getting over my laughter, I asked the Skipper how he had come across the book. He explained that he found it while swapping some of our old books (from our house) at the local book swap store.

I considered the book a bit of a novelty and proudly popped on our book case, waiting for other people to find as they investigated what books we have on board.

This week, I actually read the book. I was expecting some sort of outdated advice which would give me a laugh. Instead of laughing or giggling, I found myself nodding, saying ‘mmmm’ out loud and I even grabbed my post it notes to mark some pages of fantastic ideas.


The book is written for an audience where the husband is the Skipper and the wife is new or relatively new to sailing. The book explains the basic of sailing with the attempt to make it less of a mystery, as it is based on harnessing something we can not see – the wind. But also provides practical tips on how to make life on a sailing boat more comfortable and enjoyable. There are chapters on the basics of sailing through to recipes, marina etiquette, beauty care and clothes. There is even a chapter titled “Children Afloat” and in the preface to the book, Joyce states that for children, sailing is formative.

Through out the book, Joyce also offers tip bits of relationship advice, which did give me a bit of a giggle. There is a section titled “Humouring them” which is interestingly placed in the chapter that covers the basics of sailing.

Although the book reflects the English culture and boats of the 1970’s, its advice is wonderfully practical and still relevant for this decade. So thank you Joyce for writing this book and thank you to the Skipper for buying it for me. I will be adopting some of the fantastic ideas from the book, but don’t worry, we won’t be wearing the matching his and her’s outfits any time soon!

Learning to drive the tinny

As part of our preparation for going cruising, I have developed a list of new skills I need to learn. One of the easiest should be driving the tinny. For some reason, and I am not sure why (but could come up with some very good excuses), the Skipper has always driven our tenders (a tinny for Medina and an inflatable for our trailer sailer).

Heading into the beach (trying not to look nervous)

Heading into the beach (trying not to look nervous)

The tinny is our main access to land while cruising (unless we are in a floating marina) and how we visit people on other boats. I don’t want to be reliant on the Skipper if I would like to go somewhere, I like to have my independence.

As you may have read in my previous post about the tinny, we have a pretty set process of how we get in and out of the tinny with Orbit. So one of the first points of discussion was if I was driving would our tried and tested process still work? It does, accept the Skipper sits where I normally would, with Orbit sitting next to him. Orbit is not longer content sitting on either of our laps, he wants to sit on his own (but we still hold on to life jacket).

The Skipper (trying not to look nervous) and Orbit as we head into the beach

The Skipper (trying not to look nervous) and Orbit as we head into the beach

One the weekend I had my first lessons. I think you could summarise the whole experience as being ‘interesting’. Luckily there were no accidents. If we did, it would have been in slow motion because I was going so slow at times! But as I write this, we each have ten fingers and ten toes and there were no tears shed in fear or frustration.

When we were on one of our morning exploring expeditions, Orbit wanted to ride in the tinny as we walked over the sand flats back to the deeper water. After the Skipper lifted him into the tinny, Orbit settled himself in the ‘driving’ position next to the outboard and proceeded to go through the process of starting the outboard, just like the Skipper had taught me! It was a timely reminder of how he is always watching, always learning.

Heading back to Medina with an increased level of confidence

Heading back to Medina with an increased level of confidence

I have the starting sequence down pat. My steering is ok, its a bit rough at the start of the journey as I get used to it, but am ok by the time we get to our destination. Am still a bit rusty on coming back to Medina, trying not to hit her as we come along side the transom (back of the boat). I am wary because our tinny is aluminium and we don’t have the flexibility that inflatable provides when bumping into the boat.

Am still trying to come up with an easy way to remember which way to turn the throttle to speed up or slow down. But that is something that will come with practice. The Skipper informed me that rowing the tinny will be part of my next set of lessons – another opportunity for an ‘interesting experience’!

Exploring the sand flats – thanks to the tinny!