Monday, June 6, 2016

Kid Boats
By Michael
HA'APAI, TONGA

Frances being pulled on a paddleboard
behind Exodus's dinghy in Port Maurelle.
Some parents eager to cast off cruising with their kids (as well as the kids they plan to bring) are concerned about the likelihood they will encounter other kid boats. In Voyaging with Kids, Behan, Sara and I wrote about this:


"…there are plenty of kids on boats cruising the world’s oceans, and the amount of time you spend with them is up to you. How flexible are you with your cruising plans? If you’re hell-bent on following Alvah Simon’s example and wintering over in the Canadian Arctic, you may indeed be the only kid boat—the only boat—for hundreds of miles. But if your sights are set on a trade-wind circumnavigation or a winter in the Caribbean or time in any of the common cruising grounds, you’ll encounter lots of cruising families out there. Wherever cruising boats gather or resupply, blogs and the coconut telegraph will lead to kid boats. The rest is up to you."
--excerpt from Chapter 8, Voyaging with Kids: A guide to family life afloat (2015, L&L Pardey Publications).

So, we parents aboard Del Viento haven’t been hell-bent on following Alvah’s wake, but neither have we assimilated into the school of trade wind circumnavigators. We’ve been pretty contrarian. Who heads north from Mexico, to Alaska? Who spends the summer in the northern Sea of Cortez? Who end up being the last boat in the fleet to cross the Pacific in 2015? Who spends the cyclone season in Tonga?

Accordingly, we’ve not crossed paths with a whole lot of kid boats. (But the times we’ve spent with the ones we have met, have been pretty nice.) So it was a real treat when the Exodus crew dropped by Vava’u following their season in the Marshall Islands, nice parents, nice boys. Just don’t let them rope you into late-night, blind rum tastings while playing their favorite card game—the one that pits everyone against each other and rewards lying and deception. This family is hardcore.

--MR
Frances waiting on the surfboard.


I told Eleanor she reminded me of the waterskiing
squirrels. "What are you talking about?"
"Never mind."


So Barry, left, who skillfully delivers the weather each day on the VHF net in Vava'u, lost his mountain-stepped mast in Cyclone Winston this past season. Because he lives in remote Hunga Haven and needs his mast for communications antennae, he's spent the past couple months rigging a gin pole and otherwise prepping the site for the arrival of the first willing and able cruisers to lend a hand. That's Tim of Exodus in the middle and me off to the right. This raising was the climax, preceded by preparation and problem solving. (courtesy of Brendan on Exodus)

Barry's cutting branches and vines that had grown over the
standing rigging. Tim's holding the ladder. I appear to be doing
nothing, but I'm actually weighing down a block of concrete
the rigging is attached to.
(courtesy of Brendan on Exodus)

While Barry and I lift the mast vertically, Alex looks on
while his dad kicks the base over the step.
(courtesy of Brendan on Exodus)

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