Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Game Called On Account Of Rain

When the kids and I arrived in Canada last month, we were greeted by unseasonably cold, rainy weather.  Things improved to t-shirt weather by the time we left, but, when we stepped off the plane in Auckland on Saturday, the cold, rainy weather found us again.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Don't Hide From The Problem

This is a piece of our hull.  Looks a little on the thin side, wouldn't you say?  Not quite as much meat as you might like between you and the deep blue sea?  Well, you're right.  And that is why that delicate piece of Aluminum is in Erik's hand instead of on the port side of the hull.

One of the first things you learn as a boatowner is not to wait.  This is funny, because most of cruising is about waiting: for weather, for customs officials, for provisions, for Godot.  Patience is a virtue.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Putting the Foul in Antifouling

By my reckoning, the Dad-Kid Humour Index peaks when the kids are about ages 3-6.  Dad specializes in Kindergarten funny.  Puns, bodily functions, and even the odd dubious word are used to hilarious effect.  When I opened this photo of Erik yesterday, Indy laughed until she almost cried.  Dad with a blue head?  Comedy genius.

I, on the other hand, closed my eyed and pursed my lips.  I know that shade of blue all too well.  Even without the subject line, I could see that Erik had been sanding the hull in preparation for fresh antifouling paint.  Which means he is covered in old antifouling paint.  And what is the purpose of said paint?  Oh, that's right.  It is biotoxic.  It exists solely to keep creatures from growing on the hull.

"Well," said Stylish, turning back to her book, "I guess Dad won't have any barnacles growing on his head."  Indy broke out in fresh peals of laughter.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Memo to All Crewmembers

To:      All residents of s/v Papillon
From:  Amy Schaefer
CC:     Any interested parties
Date:   May 10, 2013
Re:      Land-Visit Policies and Procedures
It has come to my attention that we are experiencing compliance issues with Boat SOP 57: Completing a Visit To Your Land-based Home.  It is essential that all crewmembers master this procedure.  This memo is intended to review the skills we need to make our land adventures as successful as our sea ones.

Monday, May 6, 2013

What Do You Do All Day?

This is one of the most common questions I get from land folks.  It is usually accompanied by a wide-eyed look and a shake of the head, as though we wake up every morning in our floating prison cell, wondering how to fill the dark and heavy hours until lights-out.

Never.  Erik and I wake up every day, roll over, say good morning, and wonder, "What is going to break today?"  There are few things you can count on in this world, my friends, but I can promise you this: on a boat, there is always something advancing along the 'breaking' continuum.  And usually more than one thing.  Owning a boat is much like what I imagine being an assistant for a very demanding and unstable celebrity must be like.  You fulfill strange and unreasonable requests at all hours of the day and night, working yourself to exhaustion trying to please someone who will never, ever be satisfied.  But, sometimes, you get to do something incredibly cool and amazing as a result of working for this crazy person, and it all becomes worthwhile.  So you stay, living for those moments.  And the rest of the time you live head down in the bilge, dreaming.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Leaving It All Behind

As a parent, there is precious little upside to being right.  Saying, "I told you so," is cold comfort as young Jimmy is writhing on the ground at your feet, suffering from a broken arm after climbing too high in the tree out back.  Most of the time, you wish your dire predictions were wrong.  That darting out in the street without looking first would always turn out okay.  That eating food found on the dirty ground wouldn't give you worms.  And that taking your most special toys out for the day didn't carry a certain amount of risk of losing them.

One of the difficulties of cruising is that, if you leave something behind, you'd better figure it out before you sail away.  Because Erik and I, hard-hearted as we are, are not turning back unless we are related to the item in question.