Well, the anchorage antics never cease. In fact, I think this may be our main source of entertainment and occupation for the next several years. Cameron has so far earned two cans of beer, a can of chicken chili and a can of corned beef hash for his help in setting anchors, pulling anchors, detangling anchors and that is just the beginning! One couple lured him onto their boat and then proceeded to ask him all sorts of questions and extracted all sorts of advice… If he starts charging, I can retire! One morning he refused to go above decks just to avoid being called into action. Generally he is very happy to be of help, but the previous day he had spent at least a few hours dealing with other peoples ground tackle and…there are limits! The truth is Cameron enjoys helping out and meeting the neighbors. He also likes to be on deck when others are coming in, just in case they have questions about where our anchor is located, how many we have out and how much rode (feet of chain or rope) we are using. It just cuts down on issues later. Helping one another is a big part of cruising, we have received so much advice in the form of lengthy emails from other cruisers that’s it’s nice to start paying it back. Thankfully all the boats cleared out, a new crop moved in and we were again blissfully unknown to anyone.
All this fun is taking place in the Channel Islands again. After I spent a week off the boat working on wines up north, we pulled out of Oxnard for a bumpy sail off to the northern Channel Island of Santa Cruz. We sailed by Anacapa and pulled into Smuggler’s Cove on the east end of Santa Cruz. Adelaide loved the ride. The seas were not big, but they were quite steep, causing lots of bouncing. She was (clipped in via harness and life jacketed) on the bow squealing happily while she was getting drenched in waves as the bow was almost buried in the on coming swells. We put a damper on her fun, poor girl, and told her she had to stay at the mast. She was disappointed but cooperative and spent most of the next few hours wrapped around the mast exclaiming what fun this trip was. Meanwhile Isa was green, watery eyed and swaying in the companion way. She perked up after she lost her cookies and was in fine form there after.
So now we settle in to “normal life” aboard. It’s hard to pin down a normal day. They are all so different based on where we are, when we are leaving, where we are going and what the weather is like. But there is a general rhythm that emerges. Since I have been bouncing on and off the boat so much these last few months for work, it’s been a bit hard to identify. Last month I lived out of a suitcase for a month straight and only slept on the boat twice! But, after a few days of being aboard a daily routine emerges and we all easily slip back into our “schedule”.
These days we all wake up whenever we wake up. Unless we have to weigh anchor and head out, we rise when we feel ready. That is usually somewhere between 6 and 7 am for Cameron and 7 to 8am for me. Isa is usually the first of the girls to pop out as her quarters are in the saloon area. She wakes up with a huge grin on her face then squiggles around getting happily in everyone’s way. Adelaide is often the last to appear and comes out looking a bit like a hungry, angry zombie. Breakfast is called for immediately so a “first” breakfast of cereal and fruit is served quickly. Often we have a second breakfast around 9am which may consist of scones, pancakes, more cereal or eggs.
After breakfast we attempt to all get out of our pajamas, brush our teeth and hair and generally try and make an effort… although some days we just stay in our PJ’s and that’s just that! By 10am we are generally getting in to some home schooling.
Homeschooling is quite the journey and we are far from finding our feet when it comes to being the girl’s teachers. It’s a very challenging dynamic and I’m not going to spout off about how easy and fabulous and wonderful it is…It’s HARD! But I think it’s worth it on SO many levels. The most important thing that I’m learning is to not force it… or at least to know when to push and know when to abandon ship and come at it form another tack on another day. I’m finding myself deep into my go-to parenting book “Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline” almost daily so I can renew my spirit and keep my best parenting foot forward. It’s all about perspective right? And I think I’m getting more of an education than they are! Thankfully, we have lots of great resources and we realized how much the girls are learning just by being with us so much. It’s a blessing to see so intimately where they are struggling in some areas and to watch them excel in others. I really value the ability to allow them time and energy to spend on the things that they are interested in. But, at times it’s hard and some days it feels very frustrating… but I know we will find our way.
Learning time is usually wrapped up by 12:30 or 1:00, after which we have lunch. Afternoon activities involve some kind of exploration, task or play. It might be just heading to the beach while the girls swim, or going for a hike or trekking to the grocery store, ice-cream store or just a “long explore” in the dinghy to check out some nearby caves and cliffs.
Many times it’s an educational outing; we might go to the interpretive center at the State Park or head to a Museum. Some days are “boat days”. Very often we’ve all had enough of the activity of getting on and off the boat and we are all just happy to stay aboard. Today is a “boat day” and this afternoon I’m sitting in the cockpit working on this post, the girls are watching a movie while Cameron crams himself in and out of the cockpit locker to my right where he’s leading the wires of our new solar panels. He is a very happy camper…especially when he looks at the battery bank monitor at solar noon and we’re pumping in 10+ amps!
As the day wears on, one of us will muster up some dinner and by this time, it’s usually quite late. 9:00pm sees the girls coloring at the table while I read them a book and Cameron tackles the dishes. One lovely thing about not having to wake up at any certain time is the laziness of the evenings. At home it was always a rush to get the kids to bed, nowadays, we take our time and it’s much less frantic. As a consequence, we have been working our way through some great classics with the girls; The Old Man and the Sea, Tom Sawyer, Moby Dick (the youth classics version), Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Alice in Wonderland and many more to come. Then it’s off to bed and they each get cuddles, songs and a back rub before settling in to be rocked to sleep by SV Banyan.