Friday, April 13, 2012

Girls, Underway
By Michael

Eleanor beachcombing, Del Viento behind her.
While the girls now spend a fair amount of time topsides while we are underway, watching the world go by doesn't keep them entertained 100% of the time. Down below, they have schoolwork to complete, but otherwise spend their time engaged in imaginary play together or solo downtime, the latter usually spent reading books or listening to audio books. By the time we get where we are going, they are eager to head ashore and explore with us.

On overnight passages, they are sacked out while Windy and I take turns in the cockpit, on watch. Even in the warm climates, we are usually in long pants and fleece in the cockpit at night. We watch the glowing bioluminescent streaks left by dolphins too dark to see, we track the far-off lights of other boats, and we star gaze. Of course, all the while,  night watches also mean hours of listening to music or This American Life podcasts and eating Doritos or chocolate, reserved especially for these times.


This place on a boat, above and behind a settee, is called a
pilot berth, intended for an adult to sleep while underway.
Like many, ours is fitted with a lee cloth that can be pulled
out and attached to hooks above, keeping the sleeping person
from rolling off until they are called on watch. But we
have yet to use the pilot berth as such. Instead,
we named it The Nook and it is a favorite
spot of the girls.

On our last trip, the girls did what you see here for a solid five hours.
The boxes of macaroni and cheese, and every other little bit you see
are a part of some make believe critter homes. They invent characters
who talk to one another, back and forth, without end. Sometimes one
girl will break out of a character role into an omniscient narrator who
will clarify or dictate the scene for the other. Did I say this goes on for
hours? I just don't see the attraction; fortunately, they do.

Here Frances is on the bow pulpit, scanning for dolphins or whales.
Just aft of her, but forward of the mast, is Eleanor in a green shirt
and sitting on deck, doing something on the iPad.

Before we left D.C., I lobbied hard against bringing the Calico Critters
dollhouse aboard with us. Sure it doesn't weigh much, but it is bulky.
It takes up much of an aft closet, but worth every square inch because
the girls love it so much. Note the wallpaper Eleanor made for this room.


  1. This is how I grew up (minus the ocean and sea creatures. No TV = more imaginary play. Simple. It's great to see them living instead of watching life.

  2. Maia spent most of the Pacific crossing similarly engaged. She makes entire villages for various little creatures. Another fav is homemade playdough--we'll mix up a batch and colour 4 sections differently--she spends hours creating desserts that she longs for:)

  3. I love eavesdropping on Ossley's imaginative play, although I am often scolded for doing so. It isn't always clear to me whether the "mama" he is talking to is me or an imaginary one (often imaginary). Most of his "characters" are built from Lego bricks, the love of his life right now. "Frank," Ossley's invisible friend, shows up now and then too. I once referred to him as imaginary and was quickly corrected: "Mama, Frank is not imaginary. He is invisible." We also spend a lot of time pretending to be animals. Ossley is often baby puppy and Paul and I are papa and mama puppies. This has been going on for months now. This type of play is one of the things I find most interesting about kids.

  4. Zada was so happy to see the girls in the pictures AND playing with some LPS's she gave them on the sad departure last week when we tossed your lines and off you went.....glad to see that Frances WAS on board and that life is well. We miss you all and love the updates and please tell the girls (Zada is begging me to type this) she ADOOOOORES the Calico Critter blender...."just adoooores it!". So there you go. xox -N

  5. Great, simple post. My family and I follow your blog and often see our girls playing the same games, doing the same things. (For example: Thanks for sharing the details of "everyday life" aboard a cruising boat!

  6. This is such a sweet window into your everyday cruising life with your girls. It certainly looks like they (and their imaginations) are thriving during this experience!

    Katie and Mark


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