Monthly Archives: May 2015

Orbit’s sunglasses go ‘plop’

A few months ago, I was walking to Medina with Orbit in his backpack. Everything was going well, Orbit was happy, sun was shining, it wasn’t too hot or humid, it was high tide so the ramp to the floating pontoons was at a easy angle to walk down, I even had the groceries evenly balanced. If someone was watching, they might have thought I was picture of an organised boat mum!

Orbit with his old sunglasses on

Orbit with his old sunglasses on

We were about halfway to Medina when I heard, ‘plop’, something had fallen in the water. When something falls in the water, I instantly get a feeling of dread, I know I am not going to be able to retrieve it.

The source of the ‘plop’ was Orbit’s sunglasses hitting the water.

As I watched them sinking slowly to the bottom of the marina, a thought passed through my head.

I could drop the shopping, lie on my tummy (with Orbit still in the backpack) and try to reach for the slow descending sunglasses, maybe, just maybe I could retrieve them?

But reality hit a) the sunglasses were probably out of my reach b) Orbit would probably fall out of the backpack as I was reaching for the sunglasses or we would both fall in the water with his weight counterbalancing me forward.  I would rather replace the sunglasses then have us fall in the water! So there I stood, watching the sunglasses descend, no longer feeling like I was the picture of being an organised boat mum.

Living on a sailing boat, and already having had one BCC removed, I am conscious about sun protection. Not only for myself but for Orbit and the Skipper too. Sunglasses are an important part how we protect ourselves from the damage caused by the sun.

This is why I had the feeling of dread watching Orbit’s sunglasses sink to the bottom of the marina. If it was a non essential item, I would not worry about it, but sunglasses are pretty important, so they would need to be quickly replaced.

Orbit modelling his new sunglasses while waiting to get in the tinny

Orbit modelling his new sunglasses while waiting to get in the tinny

Trying to learn from my mistakes, I found a pair of children’s sunglasses that float! A brand called Squids, baby sunglasses are called Mini Squids. I purchased mine from an Australian company, Eyetribe.

I chose the Mini Squids because they are designed for babies and toddlers, aged 0-2, provide 100% UV protection (which meets the relevant Australian Standard), have shatterproof polycarbonate safety lenses, are light weight and are extremely flexible, Orbit hasn’t been able to break his yet. And did I mention that they float?

Now he Orbit is getting older, the sunglasses are staying on longer, and he sometimes asks to put them on, especially if the Skipper has his sunglasses on. 

So I think we maybe winning the sun protection battle, sunscreen – tick; shirt – tick; hat – tick; sunglasses – getting there!

Turning Medina’s deck into a playpen

The life line netting is on and Medina’s deck looks like one big play pen!

It took the Skipper and I about 40 hours over six days to do the bulk of the work. I still have to finish the netting for the life line gates and the tricky sections on the transom, but plan to tackle these over a few days when Orbit is having his afternoon nap.

Some things I learnt while installing life line netting:

  • The Sailrite Youtube video is fantastic, as it gives you the formulas to work out the materials you need. A huge thanks to Kris from Freya IV for the link.
  • If listening to headphones while installing the netting, make sure the cord is inside your shirt, so it doesn’t get tangled with the lines.
  • Zip tie the netting to the life lines first. It makes it easier to get the tension you would like. I found doing at least one panel (the area between two stanchions) ahead of the one your working on was the best.
  • You can get netting in a diamond shape and rhombus shape. I thought I had ordered the diamond but actually ordered the rhombus, I quite like it now that its on.
  • Allow four times as long as you think it is going to take, but once you have your system of getting the netting on, it gets faster.
  • Because your on deck, its a great opportunity to socialise with people walking past.

I captured our work using time lapse photography and then did a major edit to fit it into something that might entertain you for a minute and a half.

Hope you enjoy!


How to spot another ‘kid boat’

Last weekend I went to a Women Who Sail Australia lunch at Manly. I only recently joined the group on Facebook and was amazed by the warmth with which I was welcomed. The lunch was attended by fascinating, capable, resourceful and humble women and their partners.

Some of the things I found interesting about the conversations were:

  • Conversations were focused on the future, where were you going, what was the next adventure?
  • Everyone was genuinely interested in the person they were speaking to – not looking over your shoulder to see if there was someone more interesting to speak with.
  • There was an openness to share ideas and assist in problem solving based on real life experience.
  • Nobody cared about what shoes you were wearing or what handbag you were carrying.
  • There was no judgement on what size or type of boat you had, your level of sailing experience or where you had been.
Medina's life line netting

Medina’s life line netting

I walked away from the lunch feeling like I had just received a big warm hug.

One of the things I learnt from the lunch was how to spot another ‘kid boat’:

  • There is netting on the life lines (am nearly finished putting the netting on Medina).
  • There is washing on the life lines – and it includes kids sized clothes.
  • The tender gets used a lot – at least twice a day.
  • If there is a party on board, its usually over by 7pm.
  • There are kids on deck (the most obvious one) and there is a high likelihood that they have made swings from the halyards (ropes that pull the sails up).

One of my concerns about going cruising was not being able to provide Orbit with the opportunity to regularly play with children his own age. Since hearing the experiences of other cruising mothers and joining the Women Who Sail Australia group, I’m not concerned any more. As one mother explained, ‘kids attract kids’. I know we’ll all make new friends, renew existing friendships and have fantastic adventures together.

Returning to Medina

After four weeks of house sitting/dog sitting, the time has come to return to our life on Medina.

Working out how the draws work

Working out how the draws work

We have all enjoyed our time living back in a house, it has been a (luxury) adventure in itself. Each of us has our own indulgences, e.g. being able to spread lego out over the floor, long hot showers, being able to walk around a bed when I make it!

Orbit has especially enjoyed his time in the house. Each time we pull up to the driveway, he gives a happy cry and claps his hands. It will be interesting to see his reaction when we pull up to the marina.

There will be a long list of things Orbit will miss, some of them I will be able to replicate (sailing boat style), others … maybe not.

  • Playing ball with the dogs, and being greeted with their kisses. We’ll just have to play more ball with the grandparent’s dogs, lucky they are good a kissing too.
  • Playing with magnets on the fridge. We live on a steel boat, so magnets should not be an issue (I’ll just have to buy some).
  • Space to spread out when playing, Orbit loves ‘dumping’ and spreading out his lego out on the floor. I am not sure how I can create more floor space on Medina, but we can take some lego up to the grassy area at the marina.

    Pushing the laundry trolley in the rain

    Pushing the laundry trolley in the rain

  • Opening and closing draws. Orbit is fascinated with how things work, during our stay he became obsessed with working out how draws work. We have three draws on the boat, so that should keep him busy for a day.
  • Going in and out the doggy door. I’ve got nothing for this one (grandparents don’t doggy doors at their houses).
  • Dancing in front of the television. We don’t have a lot of space and not much in front of the television. We’ll just have to do our dancing to the radio up on deck. Apologies to anyone who will witness my dancing – I am very good at dancing badly!
  • Playing with the buttons on the dishwasher. We had to turn the dishwasher off at the wall because Orbit was kept starting it. We didn’t use it because we’re used to washing up (must remember to turn it back on through). Not sure how to replicate this one, or it I want too (have visions of Orbit playing with buttons on the HF radio etc).
  • Watching the driveway automatic door go up and down. I’ve got nothing here.
  • Flushing the toilet. We have hand pumps for both toilets on Medina, so we may need to incorporate the marina toilets into our afternoon walks. We can also use it as part of our toilet training.
  • Pushing the laundry trolley. Orbit already likes to ‘push’ the marina trolleys, they look a bit different but I think the concept is the same.

Over the past four weeks, I have appreciated how different it is to raise a toddler on a sailing boat rather than in a house. All of the differences can be reduced to two things, space and supervision. On a boat there is less space but you need to have more (a lot more) supervision. In a house, there is more space (especially if there is a fenced back and/or front yard) and require relatively less supervision (compared to a boat).

The centre of our world, lucky she is transportable!


There is more physical effort required to raise a toddler on a sailing boat. We have to leave the boat to find the space we need. This includes finding the space to learn to walk, run, jump, play etc. Orbit doesn’t get the incidental development that comes with having space, so we have to find it. But this can be a blessing, as getting to the space (e.g the local park or beach) just adds to the adventure – its all about having the appropriate head space, which can be hard some days. I try to think of Medina as the centre of our world and the rest of the world is out there just waiting to be explored. We are all explorers and I am blessed to explore with the Skipper and Orbit.

An inheritance of wanderlust

sourced from


Last weekend was dedicated to family history. With ANZAC day on the Saturday, we focused on my great grandfather, William, who fought at Gallipoli. We spoke about his wife, Otilga and their children, one of which was my grandfather. It was interesting sitting and listening the various generations talk about our relatives from their own perspectives.

One of the many things I learnt over the weekend was that although we have chosen very different lives, we have similarities in our personalities. One similarity would be wanderlust (another would be stubbornness, but thats another post!). And I thought it quite serendipitous that wanderlust is a german word, given our german heritage, thanks to Otilga.

Cimba (source:

Cimba (source:

William must have had some form of wanderlust as he became a seaman and joined the merchant service, arriving in Australia, as a crew member aboard the clipper Cimba in 1898. He then became a commercial traveller prior to settling in Wynnum.

After settling, he was active in sailing (an Honorary Secretary of the Wynnum and Manly Sailing Club) and his children learnt how to sail on Moreton Bay.  It was only a few years ago that I learnt (or had the headspace to appreciate) my grandfather and his sisters grew up sailing on Moreton Bay. We are continuing a family tradition and I think of them often when the sails are full and the sun is shining down on my own little family.

William and Otilga

William and Otilga

Unfortunately William died at Gallipoli, but his wanderlust lives on through his children, grand children, great grandchildren and his great great grand children.

We all have a desire to travel, to not sit still for too long. The only difference between us is the geographic scale of the travel and method of travel. For me, the geographical scale is what is around the next corner rather than a destination and the method of travel is sailing boat.

I think going cruising as a true example of wanderlust. Although we only have short term goals (from one anchorage to the next) and our timeframe is set by the weather, we are able to enjoy pottering around places and discovering their history, their beauty and the opportunities they provide.

So, this is my way of thanking William for his ultimate sacrifice and letting him know that he has given us a very special gift. One that is being passed on to the next generation. We won’t take for it for granted and we will make the most of it.