|Navigational compass, ruler, protractor.|
What have we been up to?
Well, in no particular order or importance... just really what is rolling off the top of my head:
Celebrations: Matt's 45th and my 39th birthdays were marked with cake and very practical gifts.
Now, we need to brush up on our navigational skills and actually put these items to good use!
I got some safety tethers for my birthday. Not super sexy, but totally useful.
These are used to hook ourselves to a hard-point on the boat (ie. somewhere in the cockpit, or somewhere up on deck if you needed to be up there). The other end of the tether hooks onto your life-jacket.
The idea is that if a rogue wave comes from somewhere and you are knocked over and swept out, the tether will prevent you from slipping overboard completely.
Of course we will do everything necessary to NOT be in such big seas, or even out of the cockpit when we are underway (term for 'sailing' or 'on the move'). However, it is best to be uber prepared.
Hard rule for the kids: Thou shalt be tethered when/if they are in the cockpit and we are underway. No exceptions.
My cousin, Rhema, got married in Windsor and the entire Wong family went to witness his beautiful union to his wife, Manry. It was a great party. Who knows when the next time we will all be together again?
|Wong cousins unite!|
Health: I visited our local GP and explained our travel plans to him. He prescribed some antibiotics for various infections and ailments for us in advance so we won't need to rush to a clinic if we do fall ill.
I got myself a couple of extra epi-pens. You know, in case a peanut makes its way into my mouth.
After quite a bit of research and asking around on the online sailing community, we bought travel insurance through World Nomads to cover any health costs that we may incur.
This includes medical emergencies, evacuation, etc.
We all went to get our eyes checked at the optometrist. No issues there.
We all went to the dentist for x-rays, cleaning and cavity filling (only for the boys!)
I went for my last (claimable) massage the other day. I may try and sneak in one more. Just because.
Matt and I learned how to suture a wound using a raw turkey thigh. Thanks to a friend who is a medical practitioner, she taught us how to carefully sew a wound closed shut.
It's a bit like sewing a patch on a pair of pants, but with much finer thread and a u-shaped needle.
I hope we never have to do it, but there will be times where we'll need to administer first aid to each other, and this is good to know.
We went to the local Travel Medical Clinic and got our immunizations for Hep A and Typhoid.
Since Matt had recently (Fall 2018) made a trip to Malawi, he only needed one shot. Tai and I needed two needles.
|Eye check-up - all good!|
We hadn't realized how long it would actually take to get all these shots done.
After a lengthy consultation, they also talk you through safe drinking water tips and tricks, preventing sunburn, how to avoid diarrhea and so on.
Finally it was time to get our immunizations. I decided that I would go first to show the kids that it was nothing at all and that it didn't really hurt.
Aila was up next, but the poor kid has such skinny pencil arms that on needle #2, big crocodile tears began sliding down her cheeks.
She wasn't audibly crying (yet) but it was obvious she wasn't enjoying the experience. By the 3rd and 4th needle, she was whimpering and then full-on crying with projectile tears.
By this point, Tai had cornered himself in the corner of the room, watching with wild horror as his sister was getting jabbed.
|Suture a turkey thigh? Check! Thanks to Paula T.|
It literally took everything we had to wrestle his shirt off and keep him somewhat still for his needles. Tai sat on Matt, who sat on the chair.
Matt basically wrapped his arms and legs around Tai's waist while I held Tai's neck and arm in a sort of choke-hold. I'm sure I used my legs and feet somewhere in there too.
Try holding down an 80-pound boy who is kicking, thrashing, screaming at the very top of his lungs and basically trying to wriggle and worm his way out of the room. All the while as the nurse is trying to inject him with a sharp needle. Twice! Not. Easy.
It was only after the whole ordeal was over that I realized Aila was now the one cowered in the corner screaming hysterically as she watched her brother go through this trauma.
Might I add, this was all in a small, windowless room at the clinic. Probably the size of our mud room. Ugh.
|My birthday dinner post injections. Look closely, there are probably tear stains on the kids' faces still.|
Afterwards, we went out for my birthday dinner.
Pretty much all was forgotten by the time dessert rolled around. Thank goodness!
Boat Stuff: Matt and I continue to attend our Boat Maintenance & Diesel Engine course every Wednesday evening.
Our instructor is an 83 year-old walking nautical encyclopedia! He is incredible. Years ago when he retired, him and his wife cruised the US and the Bahamas over 4 years. Lots of experience and stories there!
In early April, I attended my VHF Radio License course at the Britannia Yacht Club through Advantage Boating and passed the exam - phew!
The law is that one person on-board each vessel must have a VHF ROC (Radio Operator Certificate) license.
Although I wrote the test, we all studied together as a family. For a while, we were all speaking in phonetic alphabet to each other and calling Maydays and Pan Pans from the basement.
We are lucky that the international maritime language is English. Makes it much easier for us to communicate to foreign vessels.
|Tai teaching himself a few chords on the ukelele|
Home-Schooling: After hours and hours of research and consulting with school teachers, friends who are teachers, people on homeschooling forums and just families who are cruising full-time with their kids, I have amassed a smorgasbord of workbooks for the next academic year.
I wouldn't say I feel prepared, but I certainly feel armed with tools.
|Learning how to loom & knit. Thanks for the tips & tricks, Debbie N!|
This is so when we have to take a break because there is something exciting happening that particular day or if we are doing a big passage and we can't give school our full attention or maybe they/us are too (sea)sick to work, then we can skip school.
Stay tuned on this topic.
It's one of the biggest adjustments I think we'll be making in the next several months.
Learning how to be home-school parents and home-school kids. And more importantly, working together!
Besides needing to cover the basic curriculum, I'm also hoping to have some free time in between boat repairs and general chores to learn new hobbies. We had a crafty friend teach us how to knit and loom.
I've also purchased a ukelele for us to learn. Trying to sneak in our travel guitar too on the boat, because playing duets is always more fun.
|Newest member of the family: the Laundry Pod!!!|
From how we will do it, to how often, to who will do it. I like the philosophy of "You wear it, you wash it."
But I realize if we follow this rule, we may be encouraging our children to never shower, to never change their underwear and to basically live like filthy slobs. We needed another solution.
On our FOXY overland trip, we had a big yellow plastic container which we filled every morning with our dirty clothes.
We would add some water and detergent and then close the lid. All day it would get bounced around in the LandRover and by the time we stopped for the night, our clothes were well agitated and well 'spun'.
All that was left to do was rinse, wring out and hang.
The other day we came across a neat little gadget called the Laundry Pod through a friend.
It's basically a large salad spinner that can hold a few small items to wash. Throw in your dirties, add a tiny bit of detergent and fresh water, spin spin spin, then rinse rinse rinse.
We ordered one right away.
It does take some arm strength to spin the thing but once it gets going, it has the momentum to keep spinning several rounds before needing more human power.
Looks like our kids will be getting some good arm workouts on the boat!
Other: We sold one of the cars.
We did one last family ski session of the season. It was wet and rainy, but on the bright side there were no lineups at the lifts!
We hosted several dinners and get-togethers with friends and family before things get really crazy, although it's pretty crazy already.
I have gone through almost every cupboard, closet and shelf in the house now.
|Stove-top pressure cooker. Thank you Karen H!|
I am the Master Pile Maker. Nothing is in boxes yet. Unless you count the things that we are storing in the basement, in which case they are boxed and labelled and stacked.
But everything that we are taking on the boat, everything that we are storing at my dad's house, everything that is left in the "Maybe we'll take it but it all depends if we have space" category.... all of it is in piles. And piles within piles.
A friend gifted us with her stove-top pressure cooker. She received it as a wedding present but never had the opportunity to use it.
|Serious game of Catan|
The fact is many of our household appliances would not be possible to use due to their extreme power usage, so having a stove-top cooking appliance will make a huge difference in our cruising life.
Goodbye George Foreman grill, electric kettle, Instant Pot, microwave, coffee machine and so on.
Hello one pot wonders cooked on our gas stove! Feel free to email me any favourite, easy pressure cooker recipes.
|A little rain didn't dampen this Easter Egg Hunt|
Ok, time to sign off here.
There is always something to do and I could go on writing, but I try not to compromise on sleep.
This planning and preparing stage reminds me of when we were about to embark on our African overland journey in 2008 with our beloved Land Rover FOXY.
Or on our cross-Canada (well, Nanaimo to Ottawa really) motorbike trip in 2009.
Or on our cross-Atlantic house move from the UK to Ottawa in 2014 with 2 young kids, 17 pieces of luggage and a 5-day stopover in Iceland.
Like all the other times, our departure date will come. And ready or not, we will go.