Thursday, May 8, 2014

What We Do

Leaving Whangarei Heads...
…after another birthday.
We're regaining our mobility on Galactic.  Alisa came through the shingles without any involvement of her eye, though she is still not recovered to the point of being ready to go on passage.

Being in no mood to wait for helpful winds to get north, we availed ourselves of the motor to transport our hopes and dreams forty miles up the coast to Whangaruru.

There we spent a weather day at anchor and rediscovered the dynamics of family life on a traveling boat.

Days at anchor are days of obligation for us.  I need to write, and I need to do the science work that is paying our way.  Elias needs to do his school work, he needs to wrap his head around the intellectual foundation that our culture can provide him.  Alisa needs to teach him (since I am writing and doin' science) and she needs to provide meals.  And Eric needs to be four - to play and discover and be joyful and cranky and utilize his super-abundant energy.

So - imagine partitioning those obligations between the saloon and our aft cabin.
100 Newtons of automatic fun
Convalescence, and a four-year-old's nap
If my work requires less-than-perfect attention, I can do it at the chart table while Eric plays in the saloon and Alisa and Elias pursue education on our double bunk in back.  But there's no way I can write or do the harder tasks involved in research while being interrupted to adjust a Playmobile knight everyt three minutes.  ("Daddy, can you put his hair on?")

That leaves me in back, in the splendid isolation offered by one thin door, while Alisa, Elias and Eric have Group Interaction up forward.

Let me tell you, there is a reason why four-year-olds are not invited into classrooms full of of seven-year-olds.  It doesn't work too well.

I mean this as no accusation against anyone ashore who choses differently, but there's no way we would homeschool if we were ashore - we'd send our oldest child out the door every day, to discover the world and his place in it.  But as long as we're living on a traveling boat, homeschooling is the only option.

The sailing part of sailing with children isn't nearly as attention-grabbing for us as the more mundane aspects of living our four lives so much together, in this strictly limited space.
On the left, mixed authority (parent/teacher).  In the center, a scholar.  On the right, distraction.  
Brother lashes out against brother.
For the sheer joy of it.
Being four
Meanwhile, the Biggest Passage We've Ever Tried (New Zealand to the legendary Austral Islands, southernmost French Polynesia) is drawing ineluctably near.  After all these years, doing big trips with the kids still makes me nervous.  I guess there would be a problem somewhere if it didn't make me nervous.  After the Kaufman rescue, and conversations with some cautionary friends in Whangarei, the nerves were perhaps reinforced this year.

But the boat is in quite good nick, and I reflect on all of the successful passages that we've made so far. The weather for the trip has been looking quite good recently, and I find myself thinking of the upcoming trip with quiet optimism.

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