Monday, May 30, 2016

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Like all good moms, my screensaver scrolls through my photo folder. And since I've taken a thousandfold more pictures on this trip than I did in all the years that preceded it, most of the pictures that flicker past are boat-related.

It would be easy to slide down into the caramel-coated Pit of Nostalgia every time I see how utterly adorable the girls were when we started out. I mean, look at this:
Smashing the squee-meter

But, lately, those early-day photos remind me of what a huge mental adjustment we had to make to succeed as cruisers. Erik was coming off years of constant travel and round-the-clock work. Stylish was in school full-time. Indy and I darted between swimming lessons, music group, library storytime, and all of the other activities that fill a city toddler's days. In short, we were people with a schedule, and we knew how to keep it.

And it wasn't easy to let go. When you have always bent the world to your will, it's tough to really internalize that the weather has no interest in your plans. Your boat doesn't care that you wanted to leave today; if it's time for that pump to break, then break it shall. But slowly, slowly, we got the hang of it. We stopped getting stressed out about internal deadlines, we refused to race to meet people. We learned that if it worked, it worked; if we had to wait, we had to wait. Hakuna matata. And we all started having more fun.

As we toodled around the Caribbean, we met other families on the water. Some were full-timers like us, but many were on-again, off-again cruisers who spent half the year back home and the other half aboard. Erik and I agreed that, while that approach might work for some people, it wasn't for us. Having to recalibrate our expectations every few months would be too hard. All or nothing, that's our way.

Of course, saying that guaranteed we would plop a huge sabbatical into the middle of our sabbatical. And so we did, and I don't regret it for a moment - PNG was a hill of fun. But it pushed us back into the scheduled way of life, and left us rusty on our rolling-with-it skillz.

We finally got out of Brisbane last week. We weren't perfectly ready, the weather was uncooperative, but we wanted to go, damn it, and go we did.
Somebody is excited.
Part of the push came because, not only is the season wearing on, but my brother is going to be in Cairns for a couple of days this weekend. And so our lives have revolved around How Are We Going To See C3?

We knew there was no way we could get to Cairns in time. But could we make the Whitsundays? That would be an easy flight for C3, and we wanted to go there anyway. But time was shrinking, winds were poor, and even if we did make it, would we be dead exhausted?

So Erik and I began to spend our evenings with our good friend Cruising the Coral Coast, which, I was delighted to find, not only discusses the many dangerous animals of Queensland, but also has information about decent anchorages. Who knew?

"What about Pancake Creek?" I asked. "People say it's beautiful."
"Bad access," said Erik. "Bundaberg?"
"No, he'd have to fly through Brisbane. Gladstone?"
"Same problem."

By now we were in Noosa Heads. But were Erik and I following the fine examples the girls set and enjoying a little swimming, a little rowing, or visits from a neighbourly dolphin? Not a chance.

"Well how far north can we push and still meet him? We can't just hang around here all week."
We looked at each other. Why not? Why couldn't we? Sure, Noosa Heads isn't chock-a-block with five star restaurants and tourist sights, but so? It has a lovely beach, a safe anchorage, some hiking trails... and what more do we want from this year on the water? We're cruisers: we hang out when we can, and head out when the timing works. Our desperation to push north was totally self-imposed, and, as such, deserved to be ignored in favour of more important things.

And so, instead, this is how our week is shaping up as we wait for our visitor:
A little school
A lot of swimming.

Giving the rowboat a workout.
Dolphin watching.

Erik up the mast to fix the anchor light.
Amy keeping a sharp lookout.
We're adjusting our mindset. It's good to be cruising again.


Anonymous said...

It looks like fun

Anonymous said...

Even 20 years ago, Noosa struck me as an international,cosmopolitan place.
It's not your average Aussie beach town. Lord knows I could never afford to live there.

The anchorage is fine, well, unless the wind swings to the north. That's more likely going into summer than now.

Karen Morris said...

So excited for you to be cruising again. Enjoy your visitor.