Tag Archives: family sailing

Going Home

Tears are drying on my cheeks and the rings under my eyes from sleepless nights ain’t matter anymore.

Change can be painful, but it’s the only way to growth.

Today I can raise my gaze with a heart-felt smile as we have decided to go back home.

The old, confused and shaken me of the past few weeks might have laughed sarcastically, pointing out all the possibly conceivable failures: We didn’t cross an ocean, we didn’t circumnavigate the world, we are not even going to India or Bali for some spiritual nurturing as was the thought for a brief moment once the boat was put up for sale because of our surprise pregnancy. But the old me, pre-conditioned by unhelpful thinking and behaviour patterns from too long ago, is not the present. She might have launched another desperate attempt to sneak back in only a few moments ago – and she probably will try and  do so again in the future – but right here, right now, this moment is the only reality in life. And I am here, fresh and smiling and reborn, present with body, mind and soul. So grateful for the journey and the travels which have given me so much more than I could ever have asked for – and as life does so often, in the most unexpected way. Namely love, camouflaged as its close relative which hadn’t visited me in years, home.

A place to call home, a supportive community which feels like family. A place where you know every back street, every track, every walk, every beach, every best sailing cove, every best snorkeling spot. A place where you don’t need to make dates ‘cause you know you’ll meet the friend you are meant to meet on the way to the park or the beach. A place where you don’t feel like a stranger. A place which isn’t perfect – as no place in this world is – but a place who’s soul you feel so connected with that you forgive it all its errors, mistakes, misshapes and annoyances.

The day we left Sydney 2.5 years ago to sail the world with our children, is ironically also the day when I first started to have the notion that my nomadic travelling life might belong to the past. Instead of leaving just another place I used to call home for a while, I left what had become my home. And now it’s calling me back, LOUDLY, with no regrets. Sometimes one has to leave things behind to discover their true value.

I’ve gone on a journey – but it wasn’t the boat, the places we saw, cultures we discovered, new friends we made, languages we learnt and engineering bits we understood better. Not only. It was mainly the journey that took place inside which made the true difference. And ultimately this journey has lead me… back home.

ETD London:Sydney Nov 24th 2015

It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.

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Winds of change blowing through Malta

I can’t believe how time has flown by since we sailed, once again, past Valetta’s impressive forts to drop the anchor for a little while. Catching up with friends. Laughing about old stories. Marveling at news. A new born baby (congrats again for little Zoe!) after pre-labour on the beach. Delicious BBQs. Uncountable fireworks (Maltese LOVE them at ANY time of the day). Divine yoga workshops (blessings to everyone who joined in!). Fun beach days. Delicious cream tea mornings at my favourite Palazzo. Hugs. Good times and more.

Unfortunately there’s also been another stolen bike (When will Pablo learn he has to lock them here?), vandalising local teenagers throwing stones at boats and setting off fire-alarms in the middle of the night and the usual frustrations when dealing with Maltese marinas.

Life is constant change.

On top of all that, the already forecasted winds of change have blown at storm force and turned out lives around 180 degrees. Many of these changes are still too big to fathom, and certainly too big to find the courage and words to put them out on the www screens. I can only tell you, for now, that the Atlantic won’t be seeing us this year. Instead, my old friends in Spain who I haven’t spent proper quality and quantity time with in ways too long, will. So will Morocco – a bucket list destination since I was 15 and of course Tenerife for my yoga retreat mid-November. And then, we can here Asia calling us for a while…

Lastly, don’t be surprised to see a For Sales sign up shortly. Sometimes some of the old must go to make space and embrace the fresh and new.

Our nomadic journey continues – just in a different way than expected. As sailors, we know that plans are just an illusionary game. A brief human notion that we can influence the Divine plan outlaid for our path, which, of course, is ridiculous. The only thing that matters is following life’s flow. Changing what you can, surrendering to what you can’t. This is what we are doing, and for now, it looks like it’s full of astonishing surprises – which, to be honest, I love and embrace. They are the salt and pepper (ok, admittedly also the spicy chilly) of my life and I feel so invigorated, privileged and lucky for being able to live a life as free as our’s.

Passagenotes, Crete to Malta: Day 3, the wind is calm, the mind is wild

Another good motor sail run as waves continue to die down and by mid-after-noon we have a mirror like sea for a few hours – a treat after the shock of the gigantum waves still stuck in our systems. There’s lots of painting and the boys have discovered a fishing game – fishing each other through the aft-hatch with one on the sunbed pulling the other one up. Keeping themselves entertained for hours while Pablo and I get the rare opportunity to chew through one book after the other. Victor Dumas. Billy Bryson. Natural vegetarian kitchen. Reiki basics. Mao Tse Tung…

The heat is getting to me and sometimes I can’t but just lie there, fanning some air to me with the book of the day, sipping cold water and wondering whether we are surviving here or living. It’s a sentence from our kids favourite movie, Walle (very cute and recommendable, btw, for all ages!), that’s often mentioned aboard Happy Dancer:

I don’t want to survive, I want to live!

Setting off into the sunset on a sailing boat with your dear ones indeed brings many of the most alive, memorable and beautiful moments one could ever dream off. At the same time, it also brings along many challenges, worries and constant preoccupations which a normal mum doesn’t have to worry about. Only one tiny o-ring, hose-clip or, slightly bigger, but hose or seacock failing can mean disasters – and that, I always carry in the back of my mind. The truth about paradise? It’s all in the mind in the end – and mine is going a bit bonkers these days so I’ve extended my meditations and will see when the latest super moon clarity will shine through. The winds of change are blowing past my nose at an agreeable 8 knots from the beam.

Seastories_475

Passagenotes Crete to Malta: Day 2, The Calm after the Storm

As the weather forecasts had predicted, dead on 24 hours and 120 nm closer to Malta the winds started to die down and with it the swell. This time we didn’t mind turning the engine on and were looking forward to a restful and uneventful day at sea, which indeed it was. Add the tuna Pablo caught for breakfast and the fresh sushi which followed for the rest of the day(s), it was all good – all except that I was feeling seasick for the first time – and that in such tranquil condition. Instead of me mending everyone else, for once it was the other way round. In a way a mother’s treat, but I’d still prefer it the other way round.

Passage Notes: Crete to Malta, Day 1

The 20 knots plus wind gusting from behind the island canned our beach morning plans – as nice and uninhabited and uncluttered Gramvousa on Crete’s most Western point looked like. At 0820 we lifted the anchor one last time in Greek waters and were of ready to set our storm sail. Not only did we know that we’d get the tail end of a strong Meltemi, but we had actually planed on using it to give us a good sail for at least the first 24 hours. We didn’t wanna have another five day motoring run like when we came from Malta to Greece. And it did blow. 30 Knots and sometimes more which would have been fine had it not been for the ugly swell. Two to three metre waves consistent with the occasional five to six is definitely not my idea of fun sailing. The jib, while it was still up, regularly got soaked a third up and the boom end kissed the sea after every wave. Navionics noted close to 9 knots of boat speed when we surfed down the waves – with our supposed hull speed, ia max, speed being 8kts! The boom kissed the water after every surge and got regularly soaked in the cockpit by breakers that went over the boat – something never experienced before.  Happy Dancer was literally dancing and the only thing that could keep me from losing it was the thought of selling this boat before we hit Gibraltar and moving into a nice stable house with backyard and veggie patch instead… Contrary to what I might have believed before, I’m not made of the same material as Bernard Moitessier, John Kretschmer and the like. I’m a mum. I’ve gone through pregnancies and given birth naturally without any chemical anesthetics twice. I don’t need to force myself into situations which make me feel sick. I don’t need to prove myself that I have endurance. I don’t need to test how long I can hold my breath… Can I hear the winds of change blowing?

Several hours into this ordeal we changed course to take the waves from our stern quarter which made it much more bearable, never mind the distance we’d lost on a direct course West to Malta as we were doing our record day anyway: Over 150 nm in the first 24 hrs! We were glad to feel the swell slowly subside after this.

Gramvousa_471
If you could feel the 40 kts wind then you’d be able to imagine what the seas roughly looked like behind this protective island.

Passage Notes: Crete to Malta, Day 0

Pre-Script (rather than Post-Script): We’ve arrived safely in Malta. This is the notes from this week’s passage over the next few days while we are catching up on sleep, friends’ hugs and land under our feet.

ETD was 2 pm. We finally left at 3h30 pm which is actually quite good for hour standards. That means, ‘only’ 1.5 hrs of frustrated semi-frantic last-minute departure errands. But once the last phone calls were made, work emails sent, port police paid, water-tanks filled, provision kept and the latest grip files downloaded we left picturesque Chania (see Gallery above) behind, together with its 1001 tourists who’d have strolled past our boat St Tropez style over the last two days. As beautiful as it might be, we much prefer places that we have close to ourselves – such as Gramvousa Island where we stayed for a more relaxed last night in Greece after the most aweful seas we’ve ever encountered. Four metre waves on average, the occasional one up to six – not fun at all. The winds were a beautiful 15 to 20 knots and carrying us along at 7 knots consistent, but the rest was a survival washing machine which I hope to not experience again any time soon. In fact, the only thought that got me through it as I was cuddling my little one tight in the cockpit was selling the boat in Spain and exchanging it for a house with veggie garden in some sweet spot on this earth. On the good side, it means that the weather forecast for once was correct (most often than not it seems like the guys putting it out are playing lotto or gambling with it). The Meltemi, a strong Northerly which blesses the Aegean Sea for most of summer, must be blowing quite strong up north to be causing this kind of swell and this means that it will carry us along nicely for the first 24 hours or so as we’ll lift the anchor one last time on Greek soil with massive anticipation to see all our friends in Malta again.

Top 20 Sailing Blogs

So honoured to say we made it into the top 20 sailing blogs – check out all the other amazing blogs which put to show that living the dream can have so many different angles and takes on it;)

Thanks guys for appreciating the work we put into keeping the online log of our adventure alive!