On the bow of Totem - New Year's Day, Sydney, 2011. Thanks to Hyo for the picture!
What's the plan now? We never really know, but our intention is to stay here in Australia, refueling the cruising kitty for a spell, and then take off for continued adventures. That translates into at least a year and a half in Oz, but not more than three years (the point at which we have to undergo a costly boat importation, and pay big taxes. no thanks!). Totem is parked in a sweet little marina, bringing with it a neighborhood of fellow liveaboards and cruising folks.
Home Sweet Marina
Where will we go next? Considering we struggle to find an order of magnitude for the duration of our stay in Australia, you can bet we don't know the answer to that question either! Some extended exploring of Australia is in order (perhaps some by land yacht).We hear the Louisiades (Papua New Guinea) and Solomon Islands are spectacular, and will probably want to check out the islands in the western Pacific. Niall is infatuated with all things Italian lately, and bent on going to the Mediterranean. When your kid says he wants to explore historical sites in the Med, and you live like we do- it's impossible to resist. Maybe when we get around to heading towards the Indian Ocean, things will be calmer off the horn of Africa. Or maybe they won't, giving us an excellent excuse to visit relatives in South Africa instead.
Feelign pretty Aussie for now! Niall waves the flag - deck of M/V Further, Australia Day
Meanwhile, being parked here in Sydney is a pretty big change from our life of the last few years- there is no more easy picking up the anchor and moving to explore new places. We try not to get stir crazy. Helping our marina neighbors as they get ready to go cruising is both a fun outlet and a way to keep the mutual-aid cruising creed alive. I try not to gush about how we live to co-workers who look at me strangely.
My favorite analogy for this parallel live came from Mairen, who has been tearing through the Harry Potter series. The sort of double life we live as "local cruisers" feels very much to me like we are members of the wizarding world trying to pass as muggles. Cruising, living afloat, being nomads- even if just at heart for now: it's like we're in on the plain-view secrets to an amazing way of life, but trying to fit in with normal people who can't quite fathom it. We've had to start wearing shoes regularly, and I will probably even succumb to socks soon (brrr!), but still feel part of a special tribe.