"I can't believe we were just talking about sailing to Patagonia," she said.
The night before we had been inspired by the video that our friends on Six Pack had shot in southern Chile, our imaginations stoked by the idea of heading there ourselves.
"I mean, we're getting sick outside Mooloolaba," she added.
The only person on board who wasn't sick was Elias. He sat in the cockpit, completely unruffled, and asked us why.
"Why does a motor boat float?"
"Because that's what boats are designed for, honey."
"Oh. Why do sailboats float?"
"No more questions, honey."
Alisa and I were gruff with each other, and short with him. Seasickness is death on tolerance for other people, no matter if those other people are your spouse and adorable child. Alisa even came up from the cabin when she was getting Elias ready for bed and hugged the rail for a moment, just on the verge of throwing up.
But we had that useless kind of seasickness that makes you unable to do anything properly - you can't even throw up when you need to.
"Right now," I said after choking down my dinner of one steamed sweet potato, "living in a house and going to a soul-destroying job every day sounds pretty good."
Eventually we got over it. We sailed into the night and left the seasickness behind. But the bug that has been stalking Alisa off and on for the last few months flared up again, and she had to return to her bunk only two hours after she relieved me on watch. Taking into account the state of the crew, we ditched our plan of sailing straight through for 36 or 48 hours and pulled into Great Sandy Strait, the first haven to the north. Here's me and Elias, in the cockpit at anchor the next day. See if you can tell which person slept the night through and which slept two hours:
We made it to Bundaberg the next day, taking advantage of our knowledge of the very well-lit entrance to arrive after dark. In Bundie Elias helped his great-uncle Ken collect eggs from the chooks:
The next morning, since we were in Pancake Creek, we breakfasted on pancakes in the cockpit:
Pancake Creek was beautiful, though it's also an inscrutable beauty. We're learning the birds, but everything else is completely mysterious to us: the flora, the geology, the indigenous culture and history. So different from being in Alaska, where we lived long enough, and arrived early enough in our lives, to make ourselves feel so much at home. And at the same time that Australian natural history is so foreign, the human side of the country has this very non-exotic, proto-North American feel. Very strange combination...