I’m sitting on the tarmac at Adelaide airport after our 3 week visit home. The last 3 weeks can only be described as cyclonic.
It has been a huge challenge to accomplish everything that we needed to do from a boat, health, family and friends perspective.
Week 1 and a fair chunk of week 2 was consumed with boat and medical appointments. Overall we purchased over 100 parts or improvements for the yacht. We are trying to ensure Lukim Yu is kept in good repair whilst being very aware that we are going to be completely self sufficient over the next 4 to 6 months as we travel through the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
Additional boat improvements and spare parts include:
Life sling (allows us to winch the other one out of the water) as it can be impossible to get back on board in bad weather
Fuse for Solar panels (it blew)
Latte glasses (a bit of a luxury but hey)
Frying pan (replacement)
Smoke detector (safety)
Bauer filters for dive compressor (need to be able to fill the tanks)
IKEA bags (for dirty washing to transport it to washing people or laundromat)
Freezer bag for shopping (to get meats etc back to the boat in hot weather)
Fishing hand line
Overalls for working on the boat
Lens for Nikon camera (bigger zoom)
Microphones for Go Pro and Nikon (one’s a replacement one’s a new one)
Gas strut (to repair gas strut that holds up the anchor well hatch)
Toaster gauze (replacement)
External solid state drives for laptops (for data storage)
Yanmar servicing manual (so we can do more than just service our engines)
Outboard motor servicing kit and manual
Gear box oil
Fuel doctor (to treat diesel to prevent algae growth in the tanks)
Car for mast (these hold the mainsail to the mast and allow it to slide up and down - we’ve got a broken one at the moment)
Nuts and bolts (A LOT)
Circular pins (special little buggers that hold the safety rails in place)
Navionic chart for Asia (this will plug into our chart plotter allowing us to see the navigational charts all the way through to India)
Paper charts for Asia and PNG (need a paper back up always)
AIS - Automated Identification System - all commercial boats must send out a signal stating boat name, size etc, now lots of private boats do as well, this will overlay our radar and allow us to see a lot more boats, increasing our safety. While we were in the Pacific the commercial boat traffic was minimal, as we move into Asia it is going to get a lot busier.
Pro Power holding tank treatments (goes into the toilets as a natural treatment to keep the smell down)
Battery isolation switch for water maker (it blew a few weeks ago)
Fly screens (custom made) for all hatches and doors to mosquito proof boat (with Malaria and Denghi fever becoming a real issue as we head further into the tropics we needed to go hard core with our mosquito protection). Also 6 months of anti malarial tablets for 2 people was going to come to over $3,000. So, in consultation with out travel doctor we (I) have decided that physical prevention is the way to go!!
Apple store to fix laptop (my ’n’ key was broken)
Travel doctor (for a multitude of immunisations and a long chat - the bit $1,300 hurt more that the jabs)
GP For referral to dermatologist (Jamie)
GP for prescriptions for drug stores
Dermatologist for skin check (Jamie)
Prostadontist appointments x 3 to replace bridge and plan for implant (Jamie)
Dental X-rays (Jamie)
Oral surgeon for tooth extractions on next visit (Jamie)
Ophthalmologist for new glasses and sunglasses (Jamie)
Malaria testing kits
Malaria treatment for fly screens
Buy over the counter meds to stock up and extend self sufficiency - about 40 different items - you should have seen the checkout operator as we went through, it raised a few eyebrows
Prescriptions filled for 20 plus drugs to take medical kit a bit more hard core
Currency for PNG and Solomon Islands
Passport photos for visas
Trading items villages and chiefs - baby clothes
Clothes and shoes for the wedding
Baby clothes for grandchild #4
Interspersed with the above activities we made a huge effort not to disappoint our wonderful family and friends. And failed abysmally. Luckily for us, Kobi, Teagan and Claire are joining us in Queensland for Jake and Karlee’s wedding so we get to spend a solid 4 days with them in Bundaberg. As absentee grandparents we are trying to make special memories and wherever possible pick up the babysitting slack (vacuum) that exists due to us living overseas. Coupled up with school holidays meant that we got to spend 2 full days with Claire which was great for us but also helped with work commitments. As absentee parents we hope that the trips to visit us on the boat in remote and amazing places makes up for missing out on the day to day of their lives (which is the hardest part of being away). Next up parental and sibling commitments. A lot of legal organising to do for one parent and then assisting moving house for the other set and one sister. We’re home so of course we are super pleased that we can assist and hopefully lighten a load (literally and metaphorically).
Of course it’s been a tough year emotionally in my family and trying to get to deep and meaningful conversations while catching up was tricky. These are important conversations that can’t be rushed and need a delicate hand - once again probably a fail!
Friends patiently wait on the sideline, ever accomodating as we rush from coffee/breakfasts to lunch to dinner and/or drinks.
We briefly come up for air in week 2 and we realise we haven’t had a single dinner at home as we’ve rushed out every morning and crashed back in the door exhausted at 9 or 10 pm. A quick reshuffle and we manage to fit in a few home dinners with our extremely generous “landlords” (Jamie’s parents).
Everyone is very conscious of our time, sometime too conscious and forget that they can indeed just invite us out as usual. If we can make it work we will. We prioritise our friends (a horrible thing to do but totally necessary) We just can’t see everyone, and great friends need that special time as well. Can we double up a babysitting day with a friend catchup - yes we can!! Can we get both sides of the family together for farewell drinks - yes also.
Does this just leave everyone feeling the love - no probably not…. Next time we will have to do things differently, both for our own mental health and everyone else!