Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How is Your Vacation?

“How is your vacation?” Lisa, my sister-in-law asks me when we talk on skype. In our next conversation about one month later, she changes the question slightly, “How is your adventure?” We tell her stories about swimming with dolphins, manta and sting rays,

swinging on halyards,

catching enormous tuna and all the exciting things in our life.

She sometimes reads our blog, like you, but I know she doesn’t understand our life on the Pacific Ocean and imagines that we’re living a life of luxury, just like the folks on a Carnival Cruise ship. I think she might think we’re bums, escaping the world that many of our friends are living, the arduous world of working and juggling jobs while simultaneously raising kids.

I admit, our blog often shows the rosy picture, so I thought I’d address our life on board Kamaya, and share some of the daily grind of living on the ocean. I should tell Lisa about how I spent the morning cleaning the rust off of our stainless and doing laundry by hand and how Tim looks like a mechanic with black grease smudged all over his body from changing the oil on our engine and fixing our generator. Indeed, we spend lots of time working and maintaining Kamaya, as she, like most boats, is pretty demanding.

Of course passages can be intense and demanding, especially when the wind blows. Maybe I should tell Lisa how Tim and I wake up every three hours during the night to sail the boat. I’m not complaining, actually Kamaya sails super well and seems to know where she’s going, but we always need to trim the sails and keep an eagle eye for other boats and various obstacles at sea.

I should tell Lisa also about boat schooling. Maya and Kai don’t get to indulge in summer vacation because school on Kamaya is year round to make up for the days that we don’t have school, like when we’re on passage, when we have visitors or when we go coconut crab hunting or study tortoises and sea lions.

Tim teaches science, math and music. Maya plays the recorder and Kai plays the guitar.

I’m in charge of English, history, art and foreign language (Spanish, French and now Chinese). School takes anywhere from three to six hours depending on the motivation of the students.

Hunting and gathering also known as “provisioning” takes up some time. It feels like as soon as we arrive somewhere, I scout out the markets and fill our cupboards with food. When we’re at sea, we can’t jump off the boat and run to the grocery store so we need to continue to stock up. I really enjoy eating the local fare, like breadfruit and taro here in Western Samoa.

Our life is somewhat similar to those of you living on land – just like you, we sleep in the same bed at night. However, our bed moves and we can’t ignore the house chores as we need to keep our home in tip top shape. Indeed, it’s a privilege to be able live on the ocean and to be together as a family. I should tell Lisa that she should come visit us on her vacation.


Ramona said...

Amen to all that, Ruthy! I'm glad you gave us a glimpse of the nitty-gritty of your shipboard life. It can be enticing, it's often exciting, but it's dependably exhausting. That's why we leave it for you young and frisky folks.

Tilly gaillard said...

I can feel it thanks to your lively descriptions (and my visit). For a guest-on-board, you make it a dream.
Maya, did you not like 'Countdown' enough to read it? I really enjoyed it. Love to all,

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