I’m feeling somewhat overwhelmed

It’s quiet on the blog… because it’s anything but quiet on Totem. We went from zero to sixty in planning our departure from Australia. We had been thinking we’d be stay into 2013, but life had other plans, and there is a lot to do to get prepared.

homegrown passport photo
Niall’s homemade passport photos. Yes, that’s a sheet. No, I don’t have an iron.

It might seem as though being on our own floating island, carrying our world with us, it would be a very simple task to raise the anchor and take off. Not so much! There’s some maintenance we can’t ignore – being fairly prudent types and generally quite risk averse (really!).

My “punch list” has spawned lists, to the extend that I need a list to manage them. That should be a joke, but it isn’t really, although I do think it’s funny!

There are the family essentials, such as organizing and acquiring whatever learning materials we think three children from the ages of 8 to 13 might want or need over the next 1-2 years. Stop a sec and think about that. This is a tremendous amount of research, and then time (not to mention cost) for sourcing. If we were following “school in a box” curriculum I could do it with a single phone call, but we’re not. Our homeschooling approach is more freestyle. At times like this I wish it were simpler!

There are the safety essentials: everything from replacing batteries in our EPIRB and emergency radio to recertification of our liferaft (if we can even find a vendor in Australia who can/will do this for us), to replacing our worn-out mainsail. There are bent stanchions to be dealt with and running rigging to replace. Careful inspection on board is probably going to bring a few more things to light.

There are the things we haven’t used in a while:  we are recommissioning gear that wasn’t needed in our cushy coastal Australian experience, but will be essential in returning to blue water passage making. Our watermaker has been pickled for over 18 months. We replaced our HF radio and upgraded the pactor modem for better communications, but need to get out and test it. Our batteries have spent so much time dockside that we’re out of touch with their condition (and our usage).

There are the health considerations We’re finding ourselves making more than the usual trips to the doctor. It’s time to make last rounds of dentists, dermatologist and GP. For the first time we’ll be in areas with some very real probability of disease and are taking precautions with the help of a travel clinic. I came down with malaria and typhoid while living in Indonesia ~21 years ago, and would like to spare the rest of my family that experience, and avoid a personal repeat! So our arms are a little sore, and we get to stretch out visits for rabies boosters.

There are practicalities: This includes sorting out country formalities- our PNG and Indonesian visa and cruising permit paperwork takes weeks to sort out, to our own passport status. The children’s passports expire next March. This seemed far away, but it wasn’t not far enough for entering PNG in September. Road trip to Sydney for a consular visit! But there are a host of on-board practicalities, as we make our boat an organized home to take us further afield. While we wait on shipments of books and gear, Jamie is building out new storage areas in most of the cabins on board.

That’s the tip of the iceberg. I considered pasting in my master list, but it’s overkill. Please just forgive the radio silence- we’re a little busy! But there will be plenty to come, soon enough.

12 Responses

  1. Okay, when did Niall stop looking like a kid and start looking like a teen?!?

    I get you on being to busy to blog but so glad that you did and so excited to see where you go next! Hang in there!

  2. Don’t forget that it always seems overwhelming and never ending in port, then you let go the line…and normality begins! What an(other)awesome adventure:)

  3. Don’t forget that it always seems overwhelming and never ending in port, then you let go the lines…and normality begins! What an(other)awesome adventure:)

  4. I’d love to see your master list. Please do post! Good luck with the prep. I’ve been following the blog since you left. My family and I are planning a similar adventure next year leaving from Vancouver BC

  5. Hey, Totem Family,
    Glad to hear you are gearing up for more adventures. We are now looking seriously at World ARC in 2014 so we may catch up with you somewhere out there! Not sure yet. We will see your family next week-end at PAB and catch up on the latest of your challenges. I can’t believe how much the kids have grown up. Stay safe!
    Fair Winds,
    Sherry & Dennis
    S/V Trillium

  6. I totally and absolutely envy you and your crazy to-do list(s). Having such list means only one thing – you are really going…

    I (with my husband and three kids) have very short and simple list:
    * learn to sail
    * find finances
    * get a boat
    * go…

    Much shorter than yours… still i would switch them with you any moment 🙂
    although i go nuts when preparing to travel with kids, so i actually will probably end up in mental house when we start to have your-kind-of-lists eventually..

    all the best to your very fortunate family…

  7. Charlotte- it’s good to have company!

    Cidnie- don’t know but OMG. It’s all happening too fast!

    Abi/Ben- you know it. I can’t wait for our version of normal! Come visit us somewhere OK?

    Sherry- that’s cool! Although the World ARC is kind of a speed event (IMHO), so we probably wouldn’t see you unless you were doing a circum. at whatever speed you want, vs. their schedule. Have fun at PAB and say hi to my mom for me (hahahaha! Love telling you that!)!

    Katri- you’re right, I’ll take my list, but you keep on yours because it’s SO WORTH IT!

  8. I’m jealous!

    Freezing our butts off in Melbourne. Thank god we didn’t bring the boat down here!

  9. I’m so sorry that we won’t be catching up with Totem this year but even more happy for you that you’re headed back out and we can’t wait to hear about your adventures! It’s amazing how much work each departure takes, but you know already how worth it is is!

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