What do we do on board, to keep busy and have fun?
Does this get boring? Well…no. Navadra Island, Fiji
It’s an understandable question from someone who hasn’t yet had the chance to dip into the cruising life. The way spend our days shifted radically once we started living on the boat. There were a few brief months of living aboard and continuing our “normal” life of work and school routines, but really, it’s because the move aboard coincided with departing on our cruising adventures.
Many days, what we do is driven by meeting basic needs. What needs fixing (and how urgently)? Do we need food? Do we need to do laundry? These deceptively simple questions can become complicated and time consuming tasks on a boat that’s far from the streamlined shopping cart at home.
I think when non-cruisers ask this question about “what do we do?”, this kind of mundane life maintenance is mentally pushed aside- it’s an expected part of everyday life fabric, which disappears into the mesh of busy days…and is facilitated with easy power, water, laundry machines, dishwashers, supermarkets and handymen.
Really, though- we do have a lot of time. When Maslow does not press us with urgent demands, we usually choose to explore the world around us: especially, the world underwater.
Niall looking for a moray under a coral head – French Polynesia
I find it hard not to set out on foot, with anyone I can convince to come in tow, and see what lies beyond that ridge or far point.
My most avid pre-cruising hobby was knitting, which fell completely by the wayside. I still love to knit, I just found it hard to get motivated to work with yarn and wool in a tropical climate.
This hat for Laureen’s baby girl Aurora as we sailed south to meet her in San Francisco is one of the last things I made… until we reached Australia, where a cool winter in Sydney inspired me to pick up the needles again.
For our first years as cruisers, the children were usually a less involved in the “maintenance” aspect of life- although that’s changed as they’ve grown.
Siobhan helps rig netting on Tintin. Sydney, Australia
Pre-cruising, we had an ample suburban home with a playroom for the children that was about the same size as the boat…packed with more games, puzzles, space-takers and noise-makers than were at all necessary, but which crept up on us. 95% of it went away and isn’t missed. For them, much daily life has been exploring their world with friends.
They have encyclopedic knowledge of the sea and its creatures
We have found it valuable to keep a myriad of materials for projects and crafting on board.
Mairen makes a shade for our cockpit light with papier-mâché
A few good books to help with recipes and ideas for things they can make bring it all together.
Mixing up a batch up Flubber, from a favorite crafty “cookbook”
One of my favorite projects with them has been to build a beaded necklace that traces our journey. Each day is a bead, and charms mark special events (here, sailing through the Golden Gate Bridge at the beginnign of our voyaging).
And… what about sailing? Arguably, sailing was our single biggest pastime as a family. It’s still an experience of pure joy, and a favorite way to spend leisure time.
Niall with friends from s/v Whisper in a borrowed tinker dinghy
We had a recent getaway from our parking spot on the Brisbane river, and spent a few days out in adjacent Moreton Bay. The sea breeze coupled with protected flat water made for an exhilarating sail, one that was over all too quickly. And how, then, did we relax in the anchorage later- what did we do?
We rigged a dinghy, and went sailing. Why not?
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