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I am a girl who spent the majority of her childhood blue ocean sailing! AMA!

Feb 28th 2013 by Pikasaurus • 53 Questions • 806 Points

Hi Reddit! As the title says, I grew up blue ocean sailing! We lived on a forty foot sail boat. I have been traveling with my family since I was five. We left the states and have been up and down the coast of Mexico. After two years of Mexico, we crossed into the South Pacific. While there we visited places such as Nuhu Hiva, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Niue, and Tonga before finally ending up in New Zealand. I lived there for two and a half years, attending school and being there for the filming of Lord of the Rings. No joke. I saw bits and pieces of the sets from the movies everywhere, it was so cool. Anyway, after New Zealand we continued our travels and went to Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. We finally ended up in Australia where we sold the boat after staying three months and came back to the US so I could start High School.

Proof it's me: http://pikapikasaurus.tumblr.com/post/44203703757/my-reddit-proof-for-my-ama

Awful photo but there you have it!

Ask me anything!

Edit Good morning Reddit! Thank you for all the questions and messages while I was asleep! Thee have been lots of questions about pictures. Check out our family website: teamtoucan.com. The site is currently being worked on a bit, but there are a few photos up!

Edit 2 Things are slowing down now so I am going to be up and about. I probably won't answer as quickly as I have been if more questions are left. Please feel free to ask though! You will get answered!

Edit 3 Okay Reddit, I am calling it a day on this one! Thank you to everyone who asked questions. If you ever want to know more, PM me! Thank you again! I had a lot of fun.

Q:

I read your comments in the AskReddit thread tonight and I'm so envious of your life! You seem like a really happy person with wonderful childhood memories.

My question: What was your favorite place to visit, and what was your scariest moments at sea?

Thanks!

A:

I really do have wonderful memories of my life on the boat. It was such an amazing experience.

I have two favorite places that I have visited. Niue being one of them, where there ae more coconuts then people, and New Zealand.

Scariest moment was probably when we were going into an anchorage in the South Pacific and we ran aground on a coral head. Luckily we had a friend following behind us that pulled us off. That was the most terrifying moment in my life.


Q:

Ah yes Niue was fantastic! We stopped there for a week during our Pacific crossing as well, they were kind enough to give me a local driving license after I told them that "I knew how to drive" and showed them my passport. Doesn't get much better in terms of souvenirs!

A:

The locals there are the nicest people I have ever met! When we first arrived and took care of customs, we went for a walk. This little old lady was yelling at us from across the street and my parents didn't know what to do. We eventually crossed to see what she wanted. She ended up giving my mom the last batch of spring onions that were in the market and my brother an me money to get ice cream!


Q:

How did your parents come up with the idea to raise two kids while sailing all over the Pacific?

Also, how did they come by their sailing skills?

A:

I'm not really sure what possessed them to do that, but they couldn't very well leave us with our grandparents or our birth-father. What ever made them decide to do that, I am really thankful for. I have had an amazing life.

When my dad met my mom he had already had the boat so he had some practice. My mom kind of learned from him and then from there out they learned as they went. :)


Q:

Whatever possessed them to do it is probably an amazing story. Sounds like quite an adventurous undertaking to just make a go at it.

Very inspiring.

A:

I should ask them sometime actually. It really was, there are so many things that could have gone wrong, but we all made it to today.

Thank you very much for dropping by!


Q:

My ex cried when I told her I wanted to do this.

A:

Cried because she was jealous or scared of the idea?


Q:

Just cause I can and you can probably too...

Kei te pēhea koe?

A:

Kei te pai au!

My Maori is really rusty.


Q:

So is mine, but great to hear you're good :)

A:

;) This has made me happy.


Q:

Ka pai! Where in NZ did you live? Did you attend school here or were you boat (home) schooled?

A:

When we first got to NZ, we lived in Tauranga for a bit. We moved to Wellington when my dad got a job. I did go to school there actually! I went to Eastern Hutt and Hutt Intermediate! I did home school before NZ and after.


Q:

Ahh Tauranga is a beautiful place! I live in Wellington at the moment...anyways glad to hear you liked NZ :)

A:

I loved NZ. I really can't wait until I can afford to visit. There are so many things I miss from NZ that I can't find here.


Q:

Which landlubber comforts did you miss the most? The lack of a laundry machine is my frustration above others. Are there any places you would prefer not to have visited?

I'm living on a boat now and leaving for a circumnavigation this July, this has been an interesting read so far.

A:

As a kid, I think I missed TV most. After living in NZ for a bit, I missed hot showers! I would suggest getting a sun shower so you can at least have warm water when you rinse off! I wish you the best of luck and hope you have an amazing time on your journey! Where are you planning to head for first?


Q:

Thanks. We're definitely getting a sun shower; the boat is 32 foot, so conditions are a bit basic and every tiny comfort is valuable. (I'm less concerned about me than the other crew -- having lived aboard in Norway, I expect life to get rather pleasant once the temperatures reach more agreeable levels.) Good thing I've never watched TV even when living on land.

From Norway, we're traveling westward on a pretty standard route. Scotland-Bay of Biscay-Spain-Portugal-Canary Islands-Caribbean-Panama-Patagonia-Antarctica-Pacific-NZ. We'll see what happens from there.

A:

That sounds like an amazing trip! Take lots of pictures. We have tons of pictures from our trip. I hope you have smooth sailing and pleasant waters!


Q:

How do the night watch/day watch work? If there are two people on the boat, does that mean a person is on a watch for 12 hours, sleeping for 8, and has 4 hours a day for everything else? Or is it only the night watch that has to be done and during the day you just hang out on the deck and that works as a watch? What if the weather is bad?

A:

The way my parents had it is that my mom would go to bed right after dinner. My dad would take first watch, which for him was from 7pm to about 2 or 3 am. My mom would take the next shift until my dad woke up. Day shit was easier since we would all just lounge around on deck. Depending on the weather, both of my parents would be out there, specifically in a really bad storm. If it calmed down enough, one of them would get a little sleep until the storm kicked up again. The nex time it calmed down the other would catch some sleep. If the storm died completely, their watch would resume until one of them was tired enough to wake the other.


Q:

Oh... I thought of bad weather as the time when everyone's indoors... I guess it's the other way around for the sailors :) How often did the storms happen? And how long do they usually last? I realize it is probably a range, but give an estimate.

A:

Storms didn't happen to often out at sea for us, from what I remember. We generally knew about squall cells before hand, so we could avoid them. I think we would get a small storm once a month maybe. They could last anywhere from an hour to 24 hours, depending on how big the cell was.


Q:

What was the inspiration for leaving everything behind and living on a sailboat?

A:

I think my parents wanted to do something no one else had done and they wanted to give my brother and I a wonderful experience.


Q:

I've gone sailing before (maybe not that extensive) but at night I got a sense of universal intensity and a feeling of awe. Best part in my opinion. What do you love most and miss least about it?

A:

Sailing at night really is very awe inspiring. What I loved most was meeting new people and going new places. I have so many stories to share because of this! The thing I miss the least is constantly being wet. My parents had reinforcement put up in the v-berth, which is where my brother and I slept in the bow of the boat, and since then, my side of the boat leaked. It was especially bad in nasty weather. I eventually gave up wringing out towels and slept under the table.


Q:

Ooo stories! Would you mind sharing someof your favorites?

A:

Man there are lots! This happened while we were in Mexico I was 6, maybe 7 when this happened. We were sailing down the coast of Mexico heading to Agua Verde. It was the middle of the day and my mom spots something on the horizon. Apparently her initial thought was it was a pelican on a jet ski. My parents decided to investigate. As we got closer, my parents realized that it was three guys floating on some bales of something. They were out in the middle of the ocean. There was no boat or anything. My parents literally fished these guys out of the water. They had been floating for three days. There were two young men and an older guy and they were so dehydrated and hungry. My mom made them chicken broth and got them water. We started to motor away from what they had been floating on. It turns out they were floating on bales of marijuana. My dad suspected they were transporting it to the States. They told us that their panga had taken on too much water when they went after a turtle. We get on the radio to contact Red Cross, the older guy needed medical attention. When we got into Agua Verde, within minutes of putting down the anchor, the guys were picked up by locals and we never saw them again. The very next morning the Federales were banging on the side of our boat. The were in their boat and had their weapons with them. I think my dad said they were AK-47s. They wanted him to come out with them and show them where the bales were. They didn't quite understand ocean currents. My dad went with them though, the only guy wearing a life jacket. He then explained to them that the currents would have moved it by now and that they would need something else. They eventually got a helicopter out looking for it, but I think it was a few days later that they got that. We ended up making friends with the head of the Federales, so customs after that was a breeze for us. When customs would ask for bribes, my dad would ask if Victor Hugo was in town. They would get really suspicious and ask why. After my dad would explain that they were friends, our passports were stamped in a hurry and he would be on his way.

My next favorite is the first time I went snorkeling with sharks. We were in Roratonga and we were going snorkeling with some friends by a reef. I happened to be the first in the water and I spotted 4 sharks, 2 black tip and 2 white tip. I was pretty young, so I was excited and freaked out. I was scream shark through my snorkel.


Q:

Oh wow! That is one heck of a story! It honestly sounds like a movie. Did you keep a journal? It would be interesting to read about your adventures, you should write a book! Even if just for the future generations to read about =]

Hah, it's funny/humbling, I usually see myself as well traveled and someone who knows of quite a few places, but most of the names you've mentioned I've never even heard of! Amazing and inspiring. Still so much to discover. Thank you for sharing!

A:

Thank you! It does sound kind of unbelievable doesn't it. I didn't keep a journal but we have a website. It is currently undergoing some work so not everything is there. My parents are a pretty good source of information, though I remember so much of it.

That is the second suggestion I have gotten about a book! I guess that means I really should write one!

If you want to check out the site teamtoucan.com


Q:

I definitely think you should write a book, and it sounds more daunting than it really is, my dad wrote one a couple years ago and let me tell you, writing it isn't the hard part, editing and getting it just right is! Good luck if you do decide to write one! I'll definitely check out the website =]

A:

That is pretty encouraging to hear actually. I will see if I can get my thoughts in order to do that! Thank you very much for dropping by!


Q:

When customs would ask for bribes, my dad would ask if Victor Hugo was in town.

No one else seems to question this, so I guess I am out of the loop and there is a well known official by that name. That said, my brain stopped here. I was like... you are threatening them with a dead French writer? Though I guess a zombie Jean Valjean might be terrifying!

A:

A lot of people don't believe us when we tell them that was his name, but yeah, I think a threat of any zombie would be frightening!


Q:

What items would you want to have with you if you were stranded out at sea, for an extended period of time, in order to survive?

A:

I would want a water catcher and a watermaker, life jacket, fishing rod with all necessary equipment, a knife, and sun glasses. The glare of the sun on the water can be pretty bad. The water catcher would provide shade and water when it rained. The watermaker if it didn't rain. Fishing rod to catch food. A knife to gut fish that I caught.


Q:

Question #2 do you see yourself sailing for long periods of time again? Like by yourself?

A:

At this point in time, I don't see myself doing any open water sailing. I couldn't afford a boat on my own. I also don't think I would be willing to do it by myself. It takes a lot of energy and focus to be out there by yourself. You don't have anyone keeping watch for other boats if you are by yourself. I would rather have someone with me to look out for me. All it takes is one stupid, tired mistake and I could be dead.


Q:

How difficult is it to communicate with people on the islands? Does everyone speak English/Spanish or are local dialects spoken in the Pacific? (Sorry, I'm not familiar with the geography of the Pacific.)

A:

I didn't have too much trouble honestly. There wasn't much my brother and I as kids asked for. Kids on the islands were pretty ready to play with us when we were on shore. My parents learned bits and pieces to get what they needed. Sometimes there would be someone who spoke the language that would help us out. As I got older I picked up bits and pieces to communicate what I wanted.


Q:

this is the coolest shit ever!! I envy you

A:

Thank you! It was a pretty awesome life. Thank you for dropping by too!


Q:

Hi, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

I have a few myself.

  1. If you had kids would you offer them the same experience you had? Would you recommend another family do the same?
  2. Do you feel growing up on the sea has caused any side effects? Socially awkward at all?
  3. Would you guys ever use the bathroom in the ocean? Like to bathe?
  4. Would you guys carry scuba gear? Random I know, but I would imagine I would carry several tanks for recreational and safety uses.
A:

My pleasure! Thank you for dropping by! 1. If I had kids and my partner was up for it, I would totally offer them the same experience. I would recommend this to other families. I mean it really is a once in a life time experience. I do suggest though that they research it and see if they are willing to give every comfort they have known for a new experience. 2. I was a very socially awkward person when I lived in NZ and when I first got back to the States. There were very few kids my age that I knew out on boats so the majority of my friends were adults. As a kid, when I finally got into public school, I saw people my age as immature. Luckily I found a great group of friends here in the States that have brought me out of my shell. I am much more social now. 3. We would bathe in the sea. When we were anchored, we would jump in and soap up and rinse off in the salt water before getting on deck and rinsing off in fresh water. While sailing though, we would drop a bucket over the side and dump it over ourselves, scrub up, rinse in salt water then rinse in fresh. 4. We never had scuba gear. We did have snorkeling gear though! Most coral reefs you are only a few feet from the surface of the water.


Q:

Wow, I would love to be able to do all of that. The hard part would be finding a wife willing to live that lifestyle.

After reading your response I have even more questions lol sorry.

  1. You mention bathing in the sea and then rinsing off in the cabin with fresh water shower. This made me question personal space and privacy on board. There was four of you correct on a 40ft boat? How did you manage to respect each others personal space for such long periods of time? Everyone needs personal time to relax; be alone to their thoughts. Was everyone in your shiznazz all the time? That would drive me nuts.
  2. What types of technology were aboard? Besides the obvious ones, what devices made sea living more comfortable? You mention a wind generator? What is that? Did you have access to Internet, television, phone? Please explain the irrigation system aboard (shower, sink, toilet, and water recycling)
  3. How long could you stay seaboard without refueling and restocking supplies?
  4. How many rooms were on the boat? Please describe the layout.
  5. How much money was saved up prior to the starting of the journey?

Sorry for asking so much. I didn't realize how fascinating this actually sounds.

A:

Please don't apologize! I am more then happy to answer any and all questions the best I can! 1. There were 4 of us on the boat. My brother and I slept up in the v-berth and my parents had the aft cabin. There weren't many options regarding privacy. My parents would close the doors to their aft cabin when they wanted privacy. My brother and I could do the same with our door as well. We could go up on deck away from the others, but like I said there weren't many options. 40ft is incredibly small for 4 people to live in with complete privacy. 2. Technology wise, we had our HAM and VHF radio, a couple hand held walkie-talkies, a TV and the wind generator (which looks like this http://www.semarine.com/store/image.php?productid=279). We didn't have internet connection on the boat and it wasn't until after NZ that my dad had a navigation station set up with a computer that he could plot his course on with maps he had previously loaded on there. As far as irrigation goes, we got all of our fresh water from a tank in the boat. We had extra water stored in tanks on the deck of the boat, and my mom made a water catcher to collect rain water which we could put in the tank and the containers. Our showers and faucets would draw from it. We had a foot pump in the kitchen sink that would pull salt water into it. This was how we washed dishes. They would get a salt wash then fresh rinse. As far as the toilet goes, it was hand pump to flush and would pull salt water from outside to rinse things into the holding tank. When the holding tank got full, it would be emptied into the sea. 3. Lets see, with all the canned food we had, and we limited our water supply carefully, I estimate we could go about a month or two without restocking. 4. There were only two rooms. The aft cabin, which was the back of the boat, and the v-berth, which was the front of the boat. In between going from the aft forward were a tiny kitchen on onside, a tiny bathroom on the other. That was followed by a navigation station and stairs to the deck/cockpit up top. Following that was our "living room/dining room." This was set up with a couch on either side, the mast in the middle of the area and a collapsible table. Both sides folded down. After that was a tiny bathroom on one side and a small closet on the other. Then was the v-berth! Nothing after that. 5. As far as money goes, that was not something that was ever discussed with my brother and myself. I'll ask my mom if I see her tomorrow and get back to you!


Q:

Since you're asking your mom...

This is something I've dreamed of doing once the kids are in college but haven't done a lot of research on it. I do have some questions:

1-you need money to buy food, fuel, docking fees, etc. Did your parents keep their money in a bank and had access to it? If so, how? Or did they carry a lot of cash?

2-other than the money used to buy the boat, how much money did your parents have to fund this journey? Feel free to PM if you feel uncomfortable putting up numbers publicly...

Thanks!

A:

As soon as I can talk to her I will ask her and let you know!


Q:

Do you tan easily? How does your skin react to sunlight? Do you even get burned?

A:

I burn easily. Very easily. I actually got a 2nd degree burn while snorkeling once. It was not fun. I try to put on sun screen as much as I can now. As a kid, I didn't bother with it much unless we were going to be out on the beach for a few hours.


Q:

How long we're y'all usually at sea between ports?

A:

It varied actually. Sometimes it would be as few as three days, sometimes a week, maybe even two weeks . It really depended on the weather condition. We tried to use the motor as little as possible. Our longest trip was thirty days from Mazatlán Mexico to Nuku Hiva in the South Pacific.


Q:

How did your parents get money?

A:

Before we left the States, both my parents worked. They saved up and then when we were ready to leave, they sold everything. There was a point in Mexico where my dad came back to the States to work. The next time he had a job was when we were in New Zealand.


Q:

What did he do in New Zealand?

A:

He worked for a computer company! I can't remember the name of it for the life of me now.


Q:

Do you ever feel like you missed out on a "normal" childhood?

A:

Sometimes I do. My friends will start talking about things from their childhood, I get a bit envious. They also have had friends since they were little, so I feel a little jealous of that too. That being said, I wouldn't trade my experience for anything!


Q:

Do you have a map on your back?

A:

Haha, no, and sadly none of my family have gills on their necks.

Yay Waterworld ;)


Q:

What is your favorite quote about the ocean? The one that means the most to you.

A:

Never turn your back on the sea.

My parents always used to tell my brother and I this while we were on the beach. You would never know when a wave would knock you off your feet, or if a rip tide was developing. It carries to being out on the boat as well. Watch where the waves are coming from.


Q:

Ever encounter any pirates?

A:

Thankfully no. At the time we were traveling, we were not in any areas that had pirates. That didn't mean that we didn't have protection on the boat though ;)


Q:

Ohh okay good! Wouldn't wanna start a battleship :-P

A:

Haha yeah. It was pretty safe out there.


Q:

Curious: what sort of protection? Arms?

A:

Shot gun and I think a hand gun.


Q:

How wealthy are you?

A:

My family is average. We are by no means rich. The boat we lived on was a used boat.


Q:

What was a normal day at sea like for you? I guess I mean more when you were a teenager than when you were say, five.

A:

As a teenager, and as a kid, it was pretty easy. Get up and eat breakfast then get in some home schooling. I particularly liked the days where my parents didn't make me do school work. After doing school work I pretty much had free reign. I would read or play with my brother. We had lots of stuffed toys and a pillow case of legos. I did a lot of reading on the boat. After I got a gameboy color for my birthday, I would play that sometimes. There was a lot of time spent out on deck, helping my parents with the sails. When we weren't doing that, I would lounge around in the sun. Mom would usually make soup or sandwiches for lunch and then we would eat dinner quickly. As I got older, my dad allowed to to stay up with him and do night watches.


Q:

I really don't know anything about boating or sailling so I'm just curious,, what entails night watches on a sailboat with (what i'm guessing) was just one family? Is it like looking out to make sure there's no debris or..?

A:

It is looking out for other boats, things that we could hit or that could hit us that could cause serious damage and potentially sink our boat. My parents would swap off shifts. My dad took night which for him was about 7pm to 2 or 3 am then my mom would take over. Sometimes she would take over earlier if she woke up earlier. My dad would then sleep until he had enough rest.


Q:

You ever happen to travel up towards Washignton state and the Puget Sound? I met a girl up at Friday Harbor waay waay long ago when I was about 10 who also lived on a 40 footer and said she traveled the world with her family on their sailboat. The story sounded oddly familiar, and it brought back good childhood memories.

A:

We have family out there, so we traveled to Washington state via car when we got back to the States. We might have met!


Q:

What was it like being at sea during a storm? Have you learned any other languages? what was your favorite place? also what were your favorite Gameboy color Games?

A:

When we first started sailing, storms were really frightening for me. As I grew older and became used to them. It got to the point where we would take down the sails, have the wind generator on and watch a movie. While traveling, I picked up bits and pieces of other langues such as Spanish, French and Maori. I am awful at langues to be honest with you. My all time favorite Game Boy color game was Tetrix DX. I could not put that thing down! When I got into high school (graduated 6 years ago) I was put in Honors classes. I think I was about average honestly.


Q:

What is the age difference of your brother and your parents to you?

A:

My brother and I are 3 years difference, with me being the older. My parents are about 30 years older then me.


Q:

Thanks for doing the AMA. How long were you travelling total?

A:

My pleasure! Thank you for dropping by! My family and I were traveling for almost 9 years :)


Q:

You're awesome thanks from me

A:

You are awesome sir/ma'am :) Thank you again for dropping by. I appreciate it.


Q:

HEY! great to hear! its definitely a lifestyle unlike mine.. (i hope you didnt answer it) but. i must ask. STORMS?????!!! being out on the sea that long, though a large decent sized vessel. have you ever been caught in anything really scary or threatening, so to say?

A:

There was a really bad storm that we were in while we were going into Mazatlán. I think it was our first really big storm. There was lightning, which is kind of bad when you have a huge metal rod as part of your home. My dad had to wear a pith helmet because the rain was coming down so hard. My brother and I were shifted from the v-berth to the aft cabin because waves had been hitting the porthole above our bed hard enough that some of the seals busted and we were getting wet. That is the worst storm. Scariest situation though was when we ran aground on a coral reef. My brother and I were terrified. This was really the only home we had ever known and we knew what a reef could do to the hull of a boat. Luckily we had some friends following behind us. They towed us off before anything really bad happened. We were stuck on that coral all of 10 minutes. Those were the scariest 10 minutes of my life.


Q:

How did you went about your education? Did you home school? Or should I say 'boat school'?

Also, I figure since you moved all over the place all the time you probably had a hard time having relationships, both romantic and friendly. Whats your take on that?

A:

I did home schooling while out on the boat. It wasn't until NZ that I went to public school. After NZ I went back to home schooling until I came back to the States. I started high school here.

Relationship wise, it was hard friend wise. All the kids I met on atolls I only ever met once and then when we left, I never saw or spoke to them again. There were a few other kids out on other boats. I'm still good friends with all of them. I am also still in contact with my friends from NZ.

I didn't have my first romantic relationship until I got back to the States actually. Looking back on it, I'm glad that I didn't have any romantic relationships with people that I knew. It would have been very hard to leave them when the time came.


Q:

Where do you live and do now? Do you still go out to sea often?

A:

I live in Southern California about 15 minutes away from Laguna Beach actually. I haven't been out to sea in about four months. I went to Catalina with my boyfriend and parents and we sailed back. It was fun.


Q:

Nice. Any tips for a landlubber who would really like to go to sea after extensively reading a certain AskReddit thread?

A:

I would suggest taking sailing lessons before jumping right into it and first aid courses. Look into boat brands. I'm a Hunter fan and will always be a Hunter fan. Get your HAM license! :)


Q:

Did living around so many different places affect your accent?

A:

A little! I know that while I was in New Zealand, I picked up a bit of a Kiwi accent that I carried back to the States. Even now I say certain words with a Kiwi accent.


Q:

Did you ever get seasick? If so how did you cope? On my sail down the east coast I learned very quickly that after 24 hours on a boat I begin too vomit an absurd amount.

A:

Actually no! My mom was the only one to ever get seasick actually. She would take dramamine for it actually. Now I just get vertigo due to labyrinthitis, but I get over it quickly when I am outside or I take my motion sickness pill.


Q:

That sound's amazing. Sailing would have been heaps more fun if I could function properly on the boat, most the time I tried too sit on the front of the boat and dangle my feet of the edge.

A:

When we left to go sailing, my parents had enough knowledge to be safe. We all learned as we went.

Hanging your feet off the bow or over the side is a lot of fun. Especially if you are on the side and it is keeling over, you feet just go right into the water!


Q:

TL;DR: When you look back on your childhood aboard, what was the thing that made child-you the most joyful? What is the one thing that gave you that childlike giddiness that created the biggest impression?

Thanks for doing this AMA, Pikasaurus! My fiancee and I are (very slowly) repowering/refitting our 47' sailboat (Compass 47) with plans to cruise with our yet-to-be spawned children. Of course I read blogs like Bumfuzzle, s/v Totem and Zach Aboard, and there are a few cruising kids at our marina, but they are still young'ens. I've never had the opportunity to ask an adult former boat-kid what it is that stands out the most in terms of fond childhood memories. What I mean (and will be poorly explaining) is more along the lines of that one thing that stands out that gave you that amazing giddy feeling that only a kid can get. That feeling that sticks with you and makes you want to find a way to help your own kids feel that way. I grew up both on the water and on a farm (lucky Floridian), and whenever my dad would take me on one of the farm's ATVs, or when he would let me drive one of the trucks through the fields when I was well below driving age, or when he taught me to use our computerized irrigation system (it was advanced in the 80s!) I got the feeling I'm talking about. I'll never forget that feeling. When did that happen for you cruising/living aboard? Were there special traditions, jobs aboard, or moments with your parents that stand out as special? Thank you!

A:

Helping with the sails, taking them down, putting them up. For me that was one of the coolest things I could do. It meant my parents trusted me with the responsibility of not letting it drop right into the ocean. I also loved taking night watch with my dad. There is nothing quite like hearing the splash of a wave and the wind in the rigging at night with a sky full of stars.

One "tradition" that stood out for me and that I remember clear as day, was the day we crossed the equator. We had a full on ceremony. My parents blessed my brother and I by pouring milk over our head and slapping us in the face with a fish. We then offered Poseidon stale candy hearts that we had left over from Mexico and my parents each gave him half a beer. It is supposedly tradition to give him gifts in order to have good sailing.


Q:

How did you like Vanuatu?

From what I've read, it seems like a really interesting place to visit. But then I read about large carnivorous centipedes and that just scares the crap out of me :P

A:

Vanuatu was beautiful! I got to see my first dugong there. When we were there we visited their national museum and got to see all the history on cannibalism there.