So it’s been 5 weeks since I landed in Florida. It’s been great to be back with my family after working my last few weeks in the ER. We have settled into a rhythm of sorts here in Florida. The day starts early with the patter of little feet coming to wake me up. Stretch and check out what the surf looks like from the balcony. Then coffee and more coffee, as the day begins with school. Zoe and I team up to tackle 1st grade subjects. Initially, there was some 6 year old push back adjusting to a new teacher and flow, but we are on a good roll now. It’s been great to see how things connect in Zoe’s head. And I am having to learn how to be creative to teaching her new subjects. Joss is soaking up everything that Gaga has to offer her and is already started on basic sight words.
The guys head out to the boatyard for long 12 hour days. There’s always a project to be done or a contractor to get in touch with. This is probably the biggest refit that Exit Only has ever had. It’s already been 5 months since the work started. The guys have done so much already – cleaned out the boat, wiped down all the surfaces, removed the cabin liner, prepped the surfaces, sewed together liner panels, glued and replaced the cabin liner, pulled the water tanks to have them fixed, removed the windmills, removed and replaced the solar panels, replaced the thru hulls, updated the plumbing, sewed their own trampolines, pulled the engines, removed the bow pulpit, had the mast removed/painted and re-inserted, and sooo much more …
What’s left to do? Rigging needs to be completed by contractors who just put the mast back up. Bow pulpit needs to be welded by contractor and then re-attached. New engine shafts need to be re-attached. New lifelines will be installed once the bow pulpit is completed … what we seem to have found, consistently and unfortunately, that unless you do the job yourself or stay on top of the contractors, stuff just doesn’t get done (and at times has not been done right).
And so that’s where we are right now … We had hoped to already be out on the water at this point. It has been frustrating at times. It can be discouraging. We are up against the clock in some ways as we consider the impending hurricane season. But once this boat is done, it’s going to be bullet proof. Oh the adventures we are ready to have! We are all dreaming of turquoise waters, tropical breezes, family movie nights … But for right now I am grateful. So thankful for this opportunity even as we work and wait and hope. Thankful that my kids get to spend this time with their family. Thankful that we are working all together towards a family dream. Thankful to see the beautiful sunrise over the ocean every morning.
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lam 3:22-23
Don't forget to check out our Instagram feed @ Maxingoutlife to see all our latest pictures and videos of the refit!
The very word conjured up … I don’t know, frightful thoughts and insecurities. Who am I to take charge of my child’s education? Teaching takes years of education. Teaching requires a creative spirit. Teaching needs patience. How was I going to possibly screw things up? Seriously, my child would end up with some major deficiency in her education!
But then a revelation … I get to take charge of my child’s education. I get to play a bigger role in what helps to shape her worldview and opinions. I get to spend time with my child in new and different ways. I get the opportunity to know her and understand her more. And when I take the focus off of me and what I perceive to be as weaknesses; when I focus on what I am able to provide her that she may not be getting in the classroom; when I see how we are growing and learning together … that has been the reward!
It’s not like those doubts and insecurities have magically disappeared. Each day is a challenge for me. It’s been a learning experience putting together study units. Thank heavens this is only 1st grade! Thank heavens I have been blessed with an experienced teacher and wonderful mother in law to consult. How great it’s been to have Zoe’s 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Evans be so supportive and helpful! How inspiring to have other moms around me model homeschool techniques and tips! I’m not an island in all this. I have Pintrest!! (haha) I have community!
So how are we doing … I feel like we are hitting all the marks. Some days are better than others. It’s been interesting to develop our own little flexible plan. At this point, we are jumping off from where her 1st grade class was already working. We have math, language arts (reading, comprehension, phonics, spelling, writing), creative writing, music, Bible, and varying units (based around where we might be or current interests). As I was prepping and gathering materials, I was somehow worried that I might not find all that I needed. Happily, there is no dearth of materials or subjects for us to cover. Once we start traveling more, it will be fun to work in lessons about the places that we visit. How amazing will it be to learn about the history of the Panama Canal and then sail through it! How eye popping of an experience to learn about the ecosystem and geology of the Galapagos islands and then see a giant tortoise, swim with sharks and climb a volcano! How interesting to learn about explorers like Captain Cook or how the ancient Polynesians navigated! There’s a whole world of learning outside of the classroom that is waiting to be explored.
So I find myself again at the start of a big adventure! Sailing was something that David and I had always dreamed of doing again. After 18 months on board SV Exit Only in 2004-2006 and sailing from Australia to Spain, I was hooked. What an amazing way to see the world! When we started to consider how to share our love of traveling with our kids, it really was a no brainer. It's taken a few years of working, planning and saving. We have been so blessed to be a part of a family who shares our dream, has loads of ocean sailing experience, and who already had a proven bluewater cruising boat.
Needless to say, there have been hurdles to cross. One of the biggest hurdles has been the refit. After over 10 years on the hard, Exit Only needed to be prepared for another major adventure. So David and his dad have undertaken the major refit -- interior work, fixing leaks, pulling out engines and water tanks, scrubbing and sealing ... 4 months of hard work are paying off and we are in the final stages of preparation.
We are looking forward to finally getting on board to start the final phase of prepping and provisioning. At this point it looks like we may have another 3-4 weeks before depature. While the guys are doing the heavy lifting, the ladies have been staying busy with homeschool, planning, and stocking up on supplies. Sometimes it can be a little over whelming when you start to think of all the things you might need or want for a 1 year sail across the Pacific. Thankfully, Donna has lots of experience under her belt. To discover her thoughts, please check out her blog page.
We set out from Australia in 2004 to complete our circumnavigation aboard Exit Only. Check out our adventures at our old website. Travel journals chronicle adventures with orangutans in Kalimantan, surviving a Tsunami in Phuket, brave 40 knot winds and pirates in the Red Sea, discover the wonders of the Middle East and more!