Saturday, April 26, 2014


Someone robbed my boat last night.

I woke up at about 1:30am because I heard noises.  Someone was approaching the V-berth.  I thought one of the girls must be coming to see me - nighttime visits are not unheard of around here.  I registered that whoever it was had a flashlight, which was odd, but not impossible.
"Honey?  Are you okay out there?" I called.
Scuffle, scuffle.
As the intruder turned and started pounding up the companionway, I came fully awake and realized what was happening.  And I started screaming my head off.
"Help!  Help!  There is someone on my boat!  Please help me!"  I jumped out of my hatch and kept screaming as the man raced away down the dock.  The otherwise silent, still dock.

Nobody came.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sickness & Travel: How to Deal

My ultimate low in travel-related illness came when Stylish was three years old.  The two of us were on our way back to Canada from Spain, and we both had rotavirus.  Every ounce of liquid I forced into her came right back out.  Waiting for a connecting flight in Philadelphia, Stylish went Exorcist on our last clean clothes.  As I stood in the airport bathroom in my underwear, washing my preschooler in the sink and wondering what shirt I could rinse well enough to wear home, I knew I had hit bottom.  Parenthood is a humbling reminder that even the most elegant and cool among us will smell of baby vomit from time to time.

We are on our way home from holidays, and, once again, we are one man down.  When we booked, I was annoyed that our flight schedule would force us to stay an extra night in Cairns.  Now, I am grateful that we have an extra day to chase the bugs away before getting back on a plane.

Illness happens.  Anyone with a school-age child or a family member who travels understands that viruses invade with depressing regularity.  And cruisers, moving from place to place, joining one community after another, understand this as well as anyone.  Sometimes there is a clinic nearby - sometimes not.  So, what do you do to stay healthy on the water, and to fight sickness when it comes?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lullaby and Good Night

I haven’t slept in nine days.  I don’t mean that in a cool, James Bond,  I’m-in-a-tiny-room-with-a-bright-light-being-tortured-for-the-location-of-the-secret-files kind of way.  No rescue missions required.  No, I’m just on vacation with Erik and the kids.  And I’ll tell you something: sleeping on land is the worst.

Friday, April 11, 2014


One of the much-vaunted benefits of travel is that it makes you open to new things.  It is supposed to be a growth experience.  Spending time with new people, living life in different ways, seeing the beautiful places of the world as well as the desperately sad ones - all of these things are supposed to make me into a wise old crone.  By the time I move home, I should be so full of the Wisdom of the Earth that people will run from my smug face at a hundred paces.  But today, I have learned a different lesson.  Hold on - let me adjust my flowing robes, put on a mysterious smile and gaze into the distance.  Ready?  I have learned... that I can longer tolerate the cold.  Not even a little bit.  I know this because I am sitting bundled up in a long-sleeved shirt, blowing on my fingers in Brisbane, Australia.  A place that will climb to 30 C today.  But, compared to Noumea?  I feel like someone has set me out to drift on an ice floe.

I've never been a cold weather fan.  This is no secret.  But this new development does worry me just a little.  It is not a good idea for my body to turn tropical.  For one thing, my home is back at 43 N.  I remember the scritch-scritch of snowpants and wearing two layers of grandma's knitted mitts.  I dread and respect black ice.  I know that when half a meter of snow falls overnight, you don't call in the army - you just trade head-shakes with your neighbours, send someone to Tim Horton's for a round of double-doubles, and get shovelling.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Wanted: Ride to 1985

I received a package today that contained three mysterious items called "cassettes".  As I understand it, these are audio recording units from the paleolithic.  I need a quick ride back to the mid-1980s to pick up a boom-box, Sony Walkman, or similar.  Anyone with a time machine who can help me out, please leave a note in the comments.  I can pay in hilarious tales of life aboard or in cupcakes - your choice.