Hello everyone. Sorry for our reticence over the last month. Between goodbyes, another road trip and then boat preparations, you could say we’ve been a bit busy.
After we left the frozen Northeast we made our way back to San Diego via Washington DC (Inauguration), Kennett Square (more PA cousin love), Charleston, Pensacola, Texarkana, Albuquerque, and the Grand Canyon. The food in Charleston and the spectacular view of the Grand Canyon were highlights of the trip, and we will definitely return to visit both some day. Now that we are back home in San Diego — and yes, Sophie is now definitely ‘home” — we are feeling much more comfortable with our homeschooling efforts. We loved visiting with our families and exploring the country by car, but both of these activities just aren’t that conducive for getting the kids to focus on things like English and math. But we are back and the kids are doing great.
In terms of boat preparation, it seems that we have tackled just about every major item on our to-do list, including servicing all of the major boat systems and fixing our nagging problems with leaks and mold. We’ve conducted multiple scouting missions to Costco and Trader Joes and are developing a sense for what we are going to eat for our first 10 weeks of the trip. I love the photo above … it’s a slightly tanned Jenna at Costco posing with a bag of dried figs.
We used sittercity.com to locate a local babysitter, which has enabled us to get out and see Silver Linings Playbook, Lincoln, Die Hard Another Day, and The Impossible. Lincoln was a bit of disappointment, Bruce Willis was a bit of a mistake, but the food in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood is really good. It’s nice to occasionally get out and enjoy San Diego.
Our marine insurance company has asked us for our cruising itinerary for the next year. Jenna keeps reminding me that the first, second, and third rule of cruising is to never ever ever lay out a strict itinerary and schedule because you want to have the flexibility to learn about new places on the way while avoiding being forced to go through a storm because you feel compelled to reach a particular destination by an exact date. It’s best to be flexible and mellow.
Nevertheless, here is the itinerary I pulled together which I now share with all of you for purely illustrative purposes:
- March 3- March 24 – Passage to the Marquesas
- March 24 – April 15 – Marquesas
- April 15 – May 1 – Tuamotus
- May 1 – June 15 – Society Islands
- June 15 – July 1 – Cook Islands
- July 1 – August 1 – Tonga
- August 1 – September 24 – Fiji
- September 24 – October 1 – Passage to New Zealand
- October 1 – March 1 – New Zealand
This entire list is subject to change, but overall I have to say that it sure beats work.
The best thing about this last month is that we have developed a quiet sense of confidence about the trip. The kids are doing really well; the constant attention from their parents along with the daily visits to the marina’s pool are probably eliminating the need for them to antagonize each other. Hazel is becoming a shark in the water, and Leo is doing graduate school-level Lego designs (without manuals). Best of all, the kids now think it’s normal to live on a boat and to do home schooling pretty much on a daily basis (mostly due to Jenna, she has thrown herself at this whole area with great energy and focus).
Jenna and I are feeling pretty good about the boat. We think the engines, radios, plumbing, watermaker, lights, refrigeration, rigging, electronics and sails will all work. And if they don’t, we will have plenty of spares and repair manuals that we can use to fix them. We think we know where we will store everything. We’ll use a weather router to help guide our way south, avoid storms and make a fast crossing of the ITCZ. Best of all, there are currently 128 other boats heading from the Americas to French Polynesia this season, so we’ll have company along the way along with future friends that we’ll hang out with at all of those places I list above.
The next 11 days will go by quickly. And then we leave.