We're on passage to Fiji now, about halfway through, and should arrive in the capital city, Suva, tomorrow night or early the next morning. Unfortunately, the winds are too light to fully sail, but we are motorsailing along quite well in pretty flat seas. Lexi stood a solid watch last night, and Heather and I are working on sleeping times as we dont have Mykaela for the first time on passage, and we certainly miss her. Tonight Tristan will be on the hook for a decent length watch turn.
As we're futzing along, lazing around, I've been able to think of "stuff" and in the last few weeks the kids have played some really cool games that seem to jump to my memory often. I am sure there is a lengthy blog post that could be developed, but this simply is the "yeah, that was really cool" post. And before anyone thinks we have some idyllic parenting style and unique kids, I will freely admit that our kids love to play video games (world-building Minecraft as a group mostly), and watch movies and are happy lounging around all day, but I digress...
While anchored in Tonga, with Heather and Mykaela on their way to Nukualofa, we ended up visiting a deserted beach with fellow kid boats Shine, Por Dos and Sykus. The 9 kid ages ranged from 4 year old Frankie to 14 year old Tristan. Everyone usually scopes out what the new area has to offer and soon the kids were digging in to the jungle along the beach, climbing trees, which then evolved in to fort building. And when you have one fort, you need another of course, which then breeds competition, and soon our own "Game of Thrones" was evolving. It was hysterical to see them divide up and charge at each other launching fearsome spears and tagging each other. I even saw them using jungle vines to tie up Alina in jail! (she assured me she was "OK" and didnt need my intervention) I am not sure who won, but lands were conquered, forts were rebuilt, and all is now well in the land.
About thirty minutes later, Tristan, Alexia and Evi (from Skyus) had moved on and were drawing something elaborate in the sand. And not just some small drawing- between them they were spread out close to 75 feet and had built their own board game that looked somewhat like Chutes and Ladders. There were several paths, "Go back to start" and "skip a turn" spaces, and most impressively, they had devised their own dice system. At several points along the path they drew a grid with the numbers 1-9 in each square and they used stones and bits of coral that they threw from the path in to the grid to see how many steps forward they could take. Watching them progress in the game, giggling, and making up rules as they went was certainly entertaining. Their creativity was impressive.
We ended that afternoon playing an ultimate frisbee game with adults and kids, complete with a concussed adult, exhausted participants, and the tide rising up and the water eliminating our playing field right on time.
Several days later, we were once again on a new deserted island and great beach, and the older kids broke out in to the "Olympics"- complete with Pole vaulting, a timed 20 meter run, long jump and the new event: Hunger Games- a battle with anything you could find. While they were highly entertained and laughing that afternoon, the younger kids were engineering great feats. They managed to climb a tree and found some line they could sling over a branch, and shortly thereafter they had fashioned a box they could load important things, like shells, in to and send them up in to the tree. We figured the pulley system had to count for some sort of science school credit.
And finally, we hit another anchorage where cruisers had planned a bonfire on the beach. Since Heather was still gone, I headed in to the beach with the two little girls, as the older kids had asked to watch a movie, or do something on our boat. We had a great time at the beach, with Alina having a fascination for building her own personal one foot tall fire, and she got great lessons from adults on how to build it, and importantly, how to blow on the fire from the side so you dont get smoke in your face. While we were enjoying our time on the beach, the real party was happening on our boat.
I wasnt there for most of it, but the video, and physical, evidence suggests a good time was had by all. We call this group the "young teens" as they range from 12 (Lexi and Archie) to Xesca (15) with a total of four boys and three girls. I thought they would watch some funny comedy movie, but when I came back with the girls at 10:30pm their music was still going strong and they were giggling away, playing some sort of competitive Pictionary. Three small whiteboards, three pens, one topic provided and three people draw and the rest vote on whose is best- pretty simple. This game apparently followed some vigorous "Charades" episodes, and the centerpiece of the night, captured on video, seemed to be the Dance Off between Archie and Tristan. I was wondering why they were wearing socks, and they told me that it was so they could "moon walk" better. I had to review the video that Lexi was filming, giggling, to realize that both boys were dressed as girls- Archie in a dress, and Tristan in a bikini top, and they would crank out their moves to some tune, looking for the top scores from their peers. It seemed like an epic, innocent night, and I was so impressed that they hadnt stared at the TV all night. It was also fun to see them jump in a few dinghies and "drive each other home".
Putting it all together, I wanted to make sure I wrote down enough of these memories to remember these cool times. It wont be that long before we return to the bustle of "normal home life", and our kids are immersed back in to their traditional environments. I tend to think its harder growing up as a kid these days (maybe every generation feels that) with lots of outside influences, technological interactions, and time and peer pressures. Or maybe its just that I havent been paying enough attention, and I am thankful I get to see more of these experiences that I did before. Its cool being a kid, and its cool being a parent watching your kids play. CHRIS
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