Family visit to Totem


The last ten days have been a lush departure from normal life on Totem. There may not be a great deal of predictability in our lives, but there is a rhythm. That rhythm was happily interrupted when my parents came to visit.

This was a big event, because it’s the first time they’ve come to Totem since we left Bainbridge Island more than five years ago. The kids last saw their grandparents when we drove up from Mexico to their summer home in Michigan, a retreat from the fiery hurricane season in 2009 and a chance for a grand road trip to visit friends and family before sailing away from North America.

The children have changed quite a lot since then. Well, we’ve all changed!

family 2009

Skype is really great for helping to bridge the gap, but it’s not quite the same. You can’t watch as grandmother and grandson measure the new differential in their height, you can’t give a hug through a computer screen.DSC_8738

Long stretches away from loved ones are one of the hard realities of our cruising life. for cruisers doing more than a sabbatical stint, many make it a priority to take annual trips home. In a perfect world, we’d do that too! We just can’t afford it, and given the choice, we’d rather be cruising – even if it means those trips home aren’t in our budget. That doesn’t make it easy.

We anticipated their visit for months and had been on the lookout for the perfect spot: an accessible dock for Totem, and comfortable shore side lodgings for my parents. The Rebak resort near Langkawi was made to order! A five star resort managed by Taj, with a well protected cruiser-friendly marina.

IMG_1073What wasn’t made to order was the weather. Rain, showers, and thunderstorms, take your pick. Overnight lows of 25: that’s 80, for the non-metric.

Welcome to the equatorial zone. Apparently, the transition between two different monsoon seasons can be even rainier than the actual monsoon season! Whoops. It’s OK: snuggles with grandparents are good in all weather.


Thankfully, my parents aren’t really big on hitting the beach, so turning our activities indoors really wasn’t much of a problem. Besides, we love games.




If we weren’t playing in the airy lobby, we were eating. After ten days, my parents are on a first name basis with a good portion of the servers, and had a long table to seat our crowd of seven permanently established on the covered patio.


Ten days went in a blink. Goodbyes are difficult, and we all try not to think about when the next time will come around.


7 Responses

  1. I shed some tears for you all. I can only project those feelings when we take off next year on our sailing adventure and saying,”See ya later” to loved ones.

  2. Your parents look fabulous! I can see where you and your kids get their beauty 🙂 The sense of wanderlust some of us share keeps us going. Sail on!

  3. What a wonderful visit. This post reminds me of how hard it’s going to be to say goodbye to family and how glad I am to have found a boat that is large enough for visits for the younger crowd. How lovely that your parents are able to travel to see you and your family. Great memories for those kids, and for you!

  4. We visited with your parents when they returned to Bainbridge Is., they are still glowing. Ijust saw a program by Wendy Hinman. She and husband Garth just returned to B.I. after seven years out on their 31 foot boat She has written a book “tightwads on the loose”.. We wish you well and will follow in spirit. thanks
    Tom and Marge Kane

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