Furthur adventures of “The Happy Family”

There’s only one cruiser that we can say we have shared the waters with in Mexico, South Pacific islands, Australia, *and* Asia- Brian Calvert, on the M/V Further. Brian has seen our kids grow up afloat like few other cruisers have, so it was a much anticipated rendezvous when we saw him again in Bali.

Niall waves the flag
Niall on Furthur for the start of the Sydney-Hobart Race, December 2010

Perhaps this shared history is why when Brian asked us if Niall would like to jump ship and come up to Gili Air with him, a day or so ahead of Totem, I said “yes”- and so our nearly-14-year-old off on a little adventure of his own, to be a contributing member of the Further crew.

Niall isn’t the typical Furthur crew. They typically are smart, interesting, international travelers- he’s right with them there- but they also tend to look good in a bikini. Niall’s more of a baggy trunks guy, but he fit in anyway.

Niall teaches the Furthur crew a few common knots

As Niall sped away from Serangan on the back of Brian’s motorcycle, I had one of those parenting moments when you wonder if you really did the right thing. I really was sure that we had, but we live such a close family life- literally always within a few yards of each other- that having my baby (I’m sorry Niall but it’s always going to be that way) go off with someone else just gave me pause, and a little twist in my gut.

Brian seemed to know this. Here’s a transcript from some of our chats the next day, as we hugged the Bali coast and tried not to lose our engine or go the wrong way in shipping traffic.

Brian: the lad has something new to show you, hehehehe
me: uh oh, what will we find when we get there?
Brian: something new… hehehehehe
me: Um, nothing permanent I hope?
Brian: define permanent, hohoho…

Oh yes. Then, later- as we quelled our engine / filter issues:

me: looks like we’ll make it after all.
Brian: ok. will go ashore about 7 to play music. if you get here after that, call, Niall will be with us, hanging out in a bar… hohoho…
me: OK, which bar do I chase my boy down in later? I cannot believe I just asked that.

Brian: just about to post a pic for you.
me: is that a warning?
Brian: hehehehe

Gotta love Brian. He knew all the mommy buttons to push, and I know not all the grey hair I earned on our eventful trip up to Gili Air were from our engine troubles.

Totem and Furthur
Totem and Furthur, Gili Air

We had three amazing days hanging out with Furthur and crew on Gili Air. Evenings were spent at Freedom Bar, where Brian busting out Dead tunes on his trusty Gibson made me want to twirl on the beach. Two of Brian’s crew, Sam and Rosie, hung out with us while Brian played- the girls adored Sam, and were practically in her lap as she let them braid her gorgeous long hair over and over (I hope it didn’t take too long to untangle in the morning!).

Nighttime fun

Brian’s partner in crime music at Freedom is the inimitable Agu Gong. Agu has a permanent smile on his face.

The first night we were there, en famille (what, that’s not how everyone goes to bars?), Agu looked at us and said: “The Happy Family”! What can I say- it stuck. I suppose we do walk around with smiles, and what’s not to be happy about when you’re relaxing with friends, digging your feet in the sand, listening to good music over the roll of gentle waves on a beach, with a freshly whirled up fruit smoothie (or G&T depending on your age!)? Every time we saw Agu after that, he would light up and proclaim again- “the happy family!” as we approached. It’s stuck with Brian, too. Brian, who would tell you he is Not A Kid Person, yet hosted our son and has been caught with our kids hanging all over him and a big smile on his face more than once.

Thank you Brian, for opening up a side of Gili Air we wouldn’t have seen without you, and for jumping on the awesome moniker!

You can follow Brian’s adventures on his blog. There may or may not be a secret second blog of Further tales. He’s written his take our “Happy Family”, too.

6 Responses

  1. Let Niall go with Brian on Further? My guess is that at 14, Niall well deserves the opportunity to start spreading hes wings just a little πŸ™‚
    I am sure you have heard the illustration of releasing a spring. Release it little by little and it will form itself into it’s natural shape with no ill effects. Keep the spring coiled tightly and release it suddenly and the results can be unpredictable…. But I know the feeling absolutely when you are such a close family.
    It sounds like it was a very nice, relaxing time after the stress of having the engine (temporarily) fail. That always seems to happen at the most inopportune time πŸ™‚
    Brian sounds amazing as does Agu! πŸ™‚

    1. I know you’re right…it’s good for him to spread his wings…I’ll keep repeating that to myself. πŸ™‚ Really love the spring analogy!

  2. How can you keep us in suspense like this???? What is it Niall got, or had to show you that was maybe or maybe not “permanent”?

    Love you guys, thanks for keeping us involved in the continuing adventures. Especially fun since we were in Indonesia last year, heard Brian and Agu play at the Freedom Bar, and are right there with you in that cute little sandy town.

    XXOO Alison

  3. I’m curious about the “permanent” thing too. You gotta let them go. I’ve had those “what am I doing?” moments too, like when I bought a trampoline, all I could think about was ‘severe neck and spine injuries’. Or when our son rode off on his first motorcycle. Or when we get a text picture of our daughter getting a tattoo. Just tell yourself, “you can’t keep a rock on their heads all the time.” Mix up another G&T, it’ll be OK.

Comments are closed.