Tag Archives: sailing family

Man versus Nature

So  last week we went to a beautiful park near-ish Sydney’s breath-taking coastal cliffs. It used to be THE Friday morning date for all the coolest (lol) mum in the area. We’d sip coffee and chat and the kids have hours of endless fun in, on and around the trees, greens and bushes there. Over the past month, however, we had boycotted Kimberly Reserve  due to bird swooping. Particularly Magpies and Butcher Birds can get quite aggressive during nesting and had attacked a couple of our most little ones several times.We knew it would only be about six week until this yearly season is over. No dramas.

Until today. We returned to the park super-cautiously sussing out whether the birds had calmed down. A couple of hours into the fun, a ranger came to chase us out. He had arrived with a huge ‘Bird Culling’ warning sign. His best man with the shotgun was commissioned by non other than our council. I was so flabbergasted I almost lacked words. Our own tax money  spent to fight nature which, apparently, we treasure all so much in this fabulous city of ours.

‘The birds have been a nuisance to humans.’ Really? Isn’t it us who are the nuisance to them, and, in fact, nature in general? Who are we humans to think that we are the greatest species born to dominate all the rest of wildlife? In fact, haven’t we proven quite incapable of safe-guarding our planet since we’ve sort of taken over, given the frightening rate at which we are extinguishing species – and therewith – our very own future?

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A Butcher Bird mum nibbling away on our compost waste in our garden

Shortly after the bird-massacre the pesticide guy came in mask and suit to spray every little corner of the park where our babies and toddlers regularly crawl and explore. Of course, with no birds left to eat the poisonous spiders and annoying insects, Man has to try and control it all.

I had thought – or hoped – that humans are slowly reaching a point where we understand that we cannot master nature, but simply have to learn to live in harmony and respect with it. Maybe living on a sailing boat should be compulsory for everyone to hammer what seems obvious to my mob, into all of us. If we don’t all work together on treasuring this shaken planet and trying to reestablish some kind of balance, humankind will soon have to learn the hard way that we are not the master of Mother Nature, but she is. She has been there before us, and will be there after us.

‘And what’s happening to the baby birds in their nest?’ my three year old asks? What am I to say – as I wonder what world are we leaving our children? #FeelingSad

We are living on this planet, as if we had another one to go to. T. Swearingen

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Interview with the SailingYogaFamily

Notice since the beginning of year I have changed the Sailing (via the Travelling) to the Sydney Yoga Family. On Facebook we have stayed the Travelling Yoga Family and on Twitter the original Sailing Yoga Family. What remains the same is the Yoga and the Family, my base pillars – and I guess, the undeniable fact that we are nomads who love and live the sea and the mountains, blue and green in all its shape and everything life has to offer – from the depth of our souls, past the doubts of our minds, to the highs of our hearts.

Interview

Here’s another recently published interview with us – the last which was done on Happy Dancer just before this third pregnancy threw all our cruising plans upside down and led us back home to Sydney (for now…). Thanks Hannah for another great piece and all the efforts you put into it – elephant journal or not, lol.

Enjoy the read and say hello – here or on Naturally Healthier – and be!

Little sailors missing their home…

Namaste, Dini

Back Home: Our first 72 hours

Now that we are back home in Sydney, some of my friends have asked me if I will continue blogging, given that we are neither living on our boat anymore (for the time being, anyway…), nor travelling Europe, Africa and other funky places by land or van. To be honest, stopping to write hasn’t even crossed my mind. So the quick and simple answer is ‘yes’. This journal of mine and my family’s journey has never only been about fascinating cultures, hilarious culture clashes, sailing the world with kids, the amazing places we see and fantastic people we meet, but also a lot about the inside journey which goes on simultaneously – and this is continuous, no matter whether sailing on a boat, or cruising through life based in a Sydney home surrounded by Rainbow Lorikeets.

Our first 72 hours of being back home in Australia in a nutshell have been fantastic.

Arriving on our Boeing 747 I gulped in the amazing views of Australia from above like a desert survivor would drink water after days of dry. The red desert, followed by the blue shimmering mountains (I believe the Blue Mountains get their name from the eucalyptus trees whose oil can make green trees seem blue at a certain sun angle at dawn and dusk.) and the most stunning coast line and countless paradise bays an beaches – all felt too beautiful to describe and for a split second I wondered why we had ever left. Of course in reality there is no regrets on an adventure of several years of caravaning through Europe, living and working in different countries and – mostly – sailing the big, blue Mediterranean Sea while spending the most precious young years with our sons on our boat. Equally though, there is no doubt, neither in my heart nor mind, that coming back home for the birth of our third child in May next year, as well as for some well-needed re-grounding has been the absolute best decision we could take at this point in time. Stepping out of the airport felt like stepping into a warm embrace of Sydney’s Pacific summer sun.

And here’s a final note to all those who don’t dare to leave their ‘usual/’save” lives behind for a while, to give their big dreams the very best go – I reckon it’ll take us no more than a month to get our old life back – with the fresh insights, new friendships, strengthened old ones, unforgettable memories and invaluable lessons learnt from the power of pursuing and living your dreams.

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Day 1: Landing, settling into our perfect short term (three weeks) rental apartment.  Not giving in to jet leg. Seeing my old midwife. Catching up with old friends. Rejoicing in the fresh Pacific Ocean Air. Strolling by the marina.

Day 2: Rented a car for a couple of weeks to be more mobile. Pabs gets his old job back. I start booking in yoga classes. Kids already treat their old friends as if they had never left. Start looking for more longer-term houses to rent or buy. Saw more friends.

Day 3: Viewed a few scooters and houses. Saw more friends. Went back to my old health food store and started stocking up my pantry with the good and healthy stuff I really love. Saw more cars – seven-seaters, WOOOW! We’ve grown up – or old?!? Feeding lorikeets on our balcony.

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“Home is where you go to find solace from the ever changing chaos, to find love within the confines of a heartless world, and to be reminded that no matter how far you wander, there will always be something waiting when you return.” ― Kendal Rob

Updates from Crete

Arriving i Crete_317The biggest common trait I get from people new to yoga asking how to become a teacher, and lovely mails from wanna-be sailors is a huge distortion of reality. Thinking that a mere few months, or even years, of attending weekly asana classes give you the knowledge, understanding and experience necessary to pass on a thousand year old philosophy and life science is equally erroneous as thinking that by moving on a boat all your life’s problems will be solved.

Yes, our blog pics are beautiful and yes, all I write here is most true and honest, and yes, I do also write when the sun is not shining. But during the latter, writing often feels much harder and isn’t attacked as enthusiastically as when all goes well and our life is paradise on earth.

Living on a boat with your family can be the most fulfilling thing, but it can also be the hardest. There’s very little personal space and this is probably the challenge most dreamers (including us before we left) don’t give sufficient attention and thought to. There’s no friends to vent off, there’s no weekly schedule distracting from what’s going on… there’s just you, your family and your boat in a foreign country.

Add the fact that on the boat things break, ’cause that’s what stuff does when you put it in such a hostile environment as is saltwater. Whilst I have come to enjoy repairs and maintenance and especially the learning that comes with it (honestly, I think I learnt more in the past two years than if I had done a phd, and certainly more practical stuff!), it can all get too much when breakages come in a Murphy’s Law roll of three and more. On top of that, of course, the kids need their usual attention because this is how we’ve brought them up.

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Every day kids ask in a million different ways, am I important? What am I worth? Where is my place in this world? Generally our reactions are reflected in their actions.

In other words, the past few weeks, despite many highlights, namely friends left, right & centre, have been quite a journey and challenging on all sorts of levels. To start with, we were super sad to leave Turkey for Greece, but heading West towards the Atlantic there’s no other way. Thanks to all the readers who pointed out that our YellowBrick still had us in Turkey – we’ve now turned it on properly and once we sail again it will start showing our progress every 12 hours. We had another few nice one to two day passages with friends on board and friends expecting us in the harbour – a real treat as the lack of having friends around every day is for me THE biggest pay-off of this whole ‘Cruising the world with kids’ business. Whilst sailing to Crete, Pablo caught another massive tuna and the kids especially loved sushi for breakfast, lunch and dinner two days in a row while most of the rest of the crew fought with seasickness.

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After a couple of days at Marina of Ay Nikolao – by far the best, friendliest and most well thought-through marina in Greece (amazing bbq and stone-oven facilities, cheap laundry, big book exchange, working hot showers, a welcome pack for visiting yachts including a bottle of local wine, protected, responsive, smiling…) we are now anchored in Spinalonga Bay. The budget doesn’t allow for longer marina stays, yet the water-maker failure (new membrane has arrived in Malta waiting for us to get there) requests it.

Anyway, the bay is perfect and just what we needed to re-gather our energies: Beach in swimming distance, cute village inviting for the occasional stroll, playground near by, no swell whatsoever, nice promenade to run in the morning before my yoga practice and only one other yacht. Contrary to the Ionian, in Crete you don’t meet the clueless charter boats which make for after-noon entertainment and annoyance. To get here, you need to sail either a long or a tricky stretch of Sea, so those who make it generally know a good bit of their boats and sailing. Tomorrow we’ll rent a car for an excursion to some Myonian ruins, a gorge, a supposedly beautiful plateau and maybe a few traditional mountain villages. Then we’ll sail on 30 miles to Heraklion to hopefully get our main sail fixed (CANNOT recommend the UK Sailmaker guys in Fethiye whatsoever – they gave us the heads up on our sail in Turkey and less than ten days later, with a mere 25 knots of wind the clew ripped out!).

Bueno, finally the blog is up to date again and we are loving the first rain in months. Gentle welcomingly cooling drops amidst Crete’s humid summer heat.

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The truth about sailing Greece and Turkey

How do you know you are back in Greece?

  • No one smiles at you in the streets.
  • The guy giving you the mooring screams at you frantically when you are trying to make sense of the knotted bunch of two combined mooring lines he just threw at you, while your boat drifts with a nice 30 knots right onto your new neighbours.
  • The marina staff (Rhodes Marina – but honestly, could have been any other…) is so welcoming, service-oriented and friendly that they cannot even arrange for the fuel tanker to arrive on the day of your departure, instead ruining half of the one day you have to explore Rhodes, forcing you into tight and dangerous marina manoeuvres (yes, of course, with kids on board) at a lovely increasing 30 knots of meltemi kisses. Am I not supposed to be the customer if I’m ridding myself of 300 Euros for a service?
  • Before receiving any service in the new marina which hasn’t even installed its showers yet, you are asked to pay RIGHT NOW and UPFRONT!!!
  • Rubbish greeting you in tons in every bay you sail in.
  • The taxi driver is about the grumpiest person you’ve ever met on the planet and almost starts a fight when you want to pay him and don’t have the exact change.
  • Being the only ones in a restaurant, it still takes them half an hour to take your order (with eyes rolled) and another half hour to serve some nibbles, a few drinks and a (admittedly very nice!) nagile.
  • The waiter starts cursing at you (of course with more eye rolling and ‘tss’ and ‘ouff’ and ‘all too much’ kind of noises) when your two year old breaks an ash tray.
  • Food, drinks, buses, rental cars and a heap of other prices quadrupled.
  • The ticket guy on the bus almost kicks you out because your toddler is crying.
  • Supposedly fresh food from the markets goes bad the next day.
  • No matter where there’s zero effort made to increase economic activity, make the customer feel welcome and provide a fair and welcoming service.
  • In the average chandlery they shake their head ‘no’ at you before you’ve even finished your sentence as to what you are after.
  • You go for a run and all you can see for twenty minutes along a dirt road is three metres of rubbish on either side of the road. You can literally hear the earth crying out: Why are you doing this to me? I’m treating you so well; delicious olives, unique island paradise, incredible ruins… and this is how you treat me in return?
  • All the glory seems to lie in long past history.
  • You barely make it back from a run with a twisted ankle, obviously in pain, yet no one on the road would even bother asking if you need help.
  • … I could go on, but someone told me once if you don’t have anything positive to say, then better don’t say anything at all. The above, though, I just couldn’t hold back. Excuse my honesty.

Yes, we are back in Greece, and yes, I do miss Turkey where

  • You are received with a friendly smile everywhere you go.
  • People go out of their way to help you out and make provide an excellent service.
  • Life is hustling and buzzling at every corner.
  • The past is cherished, while the present embraced and the future welcomed.
  • The food is diverse, delicious and cheap and eating out can sometimes be cheaper than cooking on the boat.
  • Breath-taking markets are a living prove of aliveness.

Dalyan Markets_141 Dalyan Markets_143 Dalyan Markets_144 Dalyan Markets_145 Dalyan Markets_146 Dalyan Markets_148 Dalyan Markets_149 Dalyan Markets_150 Dalyan Markets_151 Dalyan Markets_153And finally a disclaimer, yes, we’ve seen a lot of Greece (the Ionian, the Peloponnese, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and now Crete) and yes, there are also good sides to it, like the occasional friendly person, Rhodes being an exceptionally beautiful city, Crete seeming a fraction more friendly and switched on than the rest of the country, our journey west bringing us closer to Malta, Marocco, Spain and Gibraltar and, last but not least, we’ve been able to catch up with our cruising family friends on Maya which has easily been another highlight of the past two years in the Med.

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Both countries have exceptional sailing grounds from a purely geographical point of view, but if I had to chose between one of them, I wouldn’t have to think for a second! Maya, enjoy Turkey! We’ll be waiting for you over the pond.

Small things

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Appreciating small things is a great achievement!

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On another walk through stunning and abandoned ruins the other day, I couldn’t help but ponder about the difference between a large and a small aperture – metaphorically for life’s bigger and smaller picture. What to focus on when – without losing sanity when doing the latter? Big picture – has this world gone crazy? Too tired to list all the obvious… Small picture – such tremendous beauty, and us, a little sailing family right dot in the middle of it;)

Washing machine boat-style

Close to ‘How do you finance your life aboard?’ and ‘What will you do when your children hit school-age?’ the question of how we wash our clothes regularly comes up. Well, let me introduce one of my favourite gadgets on board – our manual washing machine. Washes our clothes with a minimum of fresh water and soapnuts, keeps us fit, keeps us busy (jaja, as if that was an issue…), gives the kids an opportunity to link pocket money to efforts as they get a few pennies in their Sparbuexe for each three minutes of churning… In other words, I love it;)

HDWashingMachine_103Clean and fresh readers know they can add to the kids washing machine efforts and our kitty by donating if you regularly enjoy reading our blog.

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