Monthly Archives: February 2016

When it’s hot, we make water cakes

It’s definitely summer in Moreton Bay. Some days, it’s hot, just too hot to leave Medina. If we have something scheduled we grin, remind ourselves how lucky we to live on a sailing boat and get on the with the day (lucky our car has air conditioning!). But if we don’t have to be anywhere, it’s nice just to sit, enjoy and be as still as possible … while trying to keep cool.

Orbit's two favourite things - water and cars

Orbit’s two favourite things – water and cars

Living in a marina has its advantages and frustrations. One of the frustrating things, is being surrounded by water but not being able to jump in to keep cool. We could jump in, if we really really wanted too, but the thought of bull sharks, jelly fish, things from boats – mentionable like antifoul paint, diesel, oil etc and unmentionables (which shall remain unmentionable) don’t really encourage us to jump in – no matter how hot it is. A part of me envies the divers who are working on boats in marinas on hot days – but they have wet suits and devices to scare the sharks away …

The Skipper and I choose Medina’s berth because it’s more likely to get the prevailing winds, keeping things cooler in summer. We also have a shade cover over the foredeck and a bimini covering the cockpit (with a waterproof cover over that) to create shade on the decks which in turn helps to keep below decks cooler. We also have fans throughout but, somedays even with the breeze, the shade and the fans, it’s hot.

So how do we keep Orbit cool? It’s simple, we just add water. A bucket full of fresh potable water and toys is all he needs, the the games and entertainment flow from there. 

Making water cakes

Making water cakes

Orbit and I made up the game of making ‘water cakes’ a few weeks ago. We made it up from the things we had at hand on Medina, no purchases required (it was too hot to leave to go to the shops anyway!). I am sure many others have variations to this game as it keeps toddlers entertained for quite a while.

So to make water cakes, we get a bucket full of water, a container to full with water and different size and colour measuring cups. Orbit then says how many cups of water are going in the cake (good for learning how to count) and starts to fill the container. As he fills he container with water, he uses different coloured cups (good for learning colours).  So a recipe might be, 3 blue cups, 4 red cups, 2 yellow cups etc. I have found this to be a great game to also talk about when something is full, empty, etc. Once the container is full, either Orbit or I tip it on his head.

A warning with this game – you may get a few containers of water on your own head too – the temptation to do to me as I do to Orbit is irresistible. But hey, on a hot day – who cares, it keeps us both cool!

The ultimate balancing act

I have been trying to write a post (one that I had planned on publishing two weeks ago) on what is for me, the ultimate parent balancing act. Writing about this topic was a lot harder than I had originally thought – hence the two week delay.

IMG_5898For me, the ultimate balancing act when it comes to parenting (and I am sure it is different for everyone), is balancing my fear of something happening to Orbit (e.g. falling in the water and drowning) versus providing Orbit with the experiences to build his confidence (e.g. walking along the floating pontoons without a life vest).

The words for this post just aren’t flowing, but the emotions sure are. So, given the topic is one that I am sure everyone has an opinion on, I am curious to know about your experiences of balancing building a toddler’s confidence versus managing your fear of something going wrong. It doesn’t have to be sailing or boat related as I am sure this balancing act isn’t reserved to the sailing domain. Please leave a comment on the blog or comment on the my sailing boat Facebook page.

I promise to publish another post soon – maybe a less controversial though …

Looking forward to the discussion


p.s. if you are going to comment, please be respectful of other people’s parenting decisions, as we are never in their situation at the time that they have to make a decision, ta.

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming”

When people find out we live on a sailing boat, one of the most commonly asked questions is “does Orbit know how to swim?”

Orbit's old life jacket

Orbit’s old life jacket

Our answer starts with the explanation that Orbit has been going to swimming lessons since he was about 6 months old. But, if he fell into the water, would we have the confidence that he would be able to swim himself to safety? The answer at this stage is no, we don’t believe he would.

The Skipper and I see Orbit’s ability/skill to swim as only part of the picture of Orbit being water safe. There are also the physical barriers to prevent him from falling in, a life jacket to keep him afloat if he fell in and most importantly, our supervision.

So swimming lessons, tick. Physical barriers to prevent Orbit from falling in, I still have to finish the netting, and jackstays are on (for when Orbit, the Skipper or I have our harnesses on). Our supervision, well that never stops, but it is a lot less when Orbit is safely tucked up in his bed with the lee cloth up (even in the marina). The life jacket to keep Orbit afloat? please keep reading …

New life jacket

New life jacket

Orbit has always loved wearing his life jacket – it has been a sign that he is going in the tinny – that he is going on an adventure. But getting him used to wearing it in the water has been a long journey. We haven’t used his life jacket as a swimming aid, far from it, but we would like him to get used to wearing his jacket in the water, in case he falls in. So, if he falls in, he knows to trust the jacket. That the jacket it will keep him afloat, keep him the right way up and that he can swim in it, until we can get to him.

Since Orbit’s first trip to the beach in the tinny, the Skipper or I would gently coax Orbit into the water for a swim with his jacket on, only to be faced with fierce opposition. Orbit was happy to go swimming, just not with his life jacket on. So we decided to be patient, to give into Orbit’s opposition with the hope that it would work next time. We didn’t want to force Orbit to do it, potentially creating angst with swimming or wearing a the life jacket.


Orbit swimming in his life jacket, Medina is in the background

On our most recent adventure, Orbit was happy to go for a swim with his life jacket on! It was such a relief to see him swimming between the Skipper and I and his grandparents. As I watched Orbit enjoying the freedom of going where ever he wanted to swim, I had Dory (from Finding Nemo) in my head singing “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”.

So what changed? It could have been anything. Orbit was older, he had moved up a lesson in swimming lessons (where the Skipper or I weren’t in the pool with him), he had a new life jacket, he had his grandparents encouraging him, the water temperature was lovely … I can’t say exactly what the change was, but I am sure they all had a contribution.

So will Orbit ever be prepared for falling in the water? I doubt it, just as I doubt if the Skipper or I will ever will be ready for falling in the water. But what we can do, is be water safe, be as prepared as possible, manage the risks and enjoy our adventure along the way!