When people first hear of the adventure we are about to take on ... you can see the wheels spinning in their minds about how insane and crazy (in both ways... literally and fun) we are.
There seems to be a come thread of questions that are asked so I thought I would try to answer as best as I can with my complete lack of real experience as of yet..... but by a lot of research and asking questions of the experts
Are you worried about Pirates?
This was probably my first main scare when I first started really looking into our trip and where is the safest place to sail with all of our kids. So with much research and following a lot of blog from the cruising community we have discovered that the south pacific is one of the nicest and safest places to visit. There have been no violent crimes commited amongst the cruising community and only a handful of petty theft against cruisers in the last 20 years. Of course with all places you visit you have to be intelligent and make sure that you are aware of your surroundings and leave lights on when you leave and put your toys away so they are not a temptation. noonsite.com
Are you bringing weapons?
We are not going to bring weapons on our boat they just get confiscated when you enter into a new country by port authorities anyway. What we will have on board is your basic stock of bear spray, wasp spray, taser and a few other legal items to enter in and out of countries... but as I said earlier there have been very little reported incidences amongst 12,000 cruisers over the last years.
Where are we going and how do you plan where to go?
First off, it is a lot of studying other cruisers and the times they recommend to depart. Jimmy Cornell is the guru of circumnavigation and he has several books out that give you weather windows as to sailing in specific areas. We will be following his advice and since we will be sailing we will follow the trade winds. They have been blowing the same times of year in the same directions since before columbus so we are pretty sure of the general direction and time of year we need to be in each location to avoid stormy weather.
Are you afraid of storms, hurricanes and cyclones.... Oh my?
Um Yes! We always respect the power of the ocean and will be taking every precaution available to avoid any storm. If that means we have to stay put in an area that is what we will do. We are not out to set any records or accomplish any particular goals. We have a general direction we would like to set out for but as all cruisers we are completely flexible in where we end up. Safety is our main concern so if we end up in the sea of cortez for 2 years... so be it!
Will you have WiFi, email, telephone?
Yes to all of the above, just maybe not at the same time. We will have an SSB Radio on board that we will be able to use to receive simple text emails and send out as well. We will also use this to get update weather information so we will know when is a good window to sail somewhere. We will also have a Satellite phone that will reach all over the world for emergencies and if need be to talk to a weather forecaster for our long passages. We will also have an Emergency Radio Beacon (2) one for the life raft and one for the boat that we will be able to send a signal out if need be. As I said before we will have all the technology we need to call for assistance if the case arises but hopefully never will. We will also of course have all the navigational equipment, radar, charts paper and electronic.. that we will all be able to read. Radar picks up squalls and storms.
How will you homeschool?
I believe at this point we will be using a system called Calvert Homeschool and they are a charter company that works with families cruising and have complete by grade yearly programs all laid out for the cruisers. This program is not dependent on WiFi. Since we won't have WiFi consistently, it really limits our choices of school programs. We will enrich with a ton of marine biology, nature journaling, a lot of reading and journaling our trip and of course just the daily work and responsibilities of being a cruising kid... from navigation, diesel mechanics, currency of foreign countries, history and culture of the islands we will be visiting, there is no short comings of all the opportunities they will have to learn.
How will you handle medical issues?
After much research, Chris and I are both taking a wilderness survival course to help boost our first aide knowledge. We will also take a complete medical kit prepared for cruisers that is filled with common and not so common issues that may come up. We are also stocking up on Antibiotics for all 7 of us while we are out there.. We will purchase an emergency medical evacuation insurance that will cover both a parent and the injured child to be evacuated from anywhere. Then for routine medical concerns or issues we will visit local clinics because they are the most aware of their environment and signs of toxins or problems that may have been caused by some thing on their islands... "I told the witch doctor...." :@) We have also got every known vaccine that we can for all the possible countries that we will be visiting.
What is our longest passage?
We plan on crossing the pacific... if we do it would take us around 3 weeks. Hopefully we will catch a lot of fish :@0
How will you stock food?
Almost everywhere we go there will be someplace to purchase food. Up and down central america we will be spoiled with opportunity for some great food choices. Once we set across then it will be more limited to my canning expertise and lots of Kimchi... hopefully the kids will like it and there won't be a fight.... I may even try sprouting, although I hear that other countries confiscate your seeds when you enter...so that may be short lived.. science for the kids at least.
Are the kids excited...?
Okay, they all say they are. It is becoming real right now so we have a lot of emotional current running through our house and is being expressed in severe highs and lows. They are all still excited and nervous but sometimes their faces really show the weight of what they are about to do. They know it will be fun and exciting, but it will be so hard to leave all the good friends behind... at least it is only for a few years and they know they will come back with hopefully amazing experiences to share.
Last but not least.... ARE YOU CRAZY?
Well of course a little... who isn't that is trying to take off for a couple of years. We have been following cruisers for the last 15 years and have been researching and practicing for this adventure for the last 10 years. Chris is getting his captains license and I will be taking a few lessons and we will be practicing on the bay for a few months before we leave. This includes all the family and running drills for storm tactics, man overboard and watches. When you are sailing or making an overnight passage, someone has to be on watch at all times.
We are down sizing from 6 bedrooms (2800 sq ft) to 4 cabins and 400 sq ft... We will be living out of a small suitcase, and bringing with us school supplies, kindles, laptops, microscope, and a few games and toys. Weight on the boat is a concern so we really are limited to small personal items. The kids will have to learn how to use the toys of nature as their store....
We will be leaving our friends and family but hopefully the time will go by so fast and once in awhile we may be able to have a visitor if we know we will be staying in one place for a certain amount of time. It is just hard because as I said before we have to respect the weather and the ocean and if we need to stay someplace we won't be able to meet our visitors on time.
We know this is a lot to expect from our kids but we also know that what they will learn from this experience will be priceless.