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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Idyllic childhood

Bruny Island.

Whatever else we may have buggered up in life, I am more and more of the opinion that raising Elias on board a sailboat has been a very good decision.  There is the valuable closeness with us, of course, and the way that he is enmeshed in all facets of our daily lives.  But more than anything I love watching him grow up as an outdoor child.  For all its inconvenience and less-than-romantic realities, living as a family on a sailboat seems again and again to give us an out from those widely recognized, but hard to change, difficulties of life in the 21st century rich world.  Like, for instance, children who grow up sedentary, mesmerized by digital images, and indoors. 

Looking for fur seals.

Listening to a hunting story.  Elias loves hunting stories.

  Cleaning the flathead we caught.
Picking mussels.  Elias likes to say "hunting mussels".
Cleaning the mussels.
Elias talks a lot about his little baby brother.

The end.


Anonymous said...

We've got twins on the way in June and a sailboat ready for cruising. We'd like to get out this summer when the kiddos are just a couple of months old. I've been following your blog since you were in Mexico (I read an article you wrote in some magazine about cruising with Elias). I'm curious what PFD you used for Elias and at what age/ weight you started taking him out on the boat regularly. We live in Seattle and can't spend a summer away from the boat, but we also need to do it as safely as possible, and would love any advice you might be willing to share. Congratulations on the next crew member!
Jessica s/v Yare

Zoya said...

A little Brother! How exciting! Thank you for sharing the news. :) Zoya

Mike, Alisa and Elias said...

Hi Jessica on SV Yare, Elias was daysailing on our sailboat when he was a week old, and constantly in a sling or a baby bjorn front carrier. We didn't do any overnight sails w him before we left our hometown of Kodiak, when he was 10 months old. His harness is Crewsaver, a UK product, and after a lot of shopping we like the Sterns lifejackets for kids. Definately must have a leg strap or neoprene butt on the lifejacket and i prefer buckles to a zipper. Elias is 3 1/2 and we still use his carseat, lashed under the hard dodger, as the place to put him when things get hectic on deck and both adults are needed. Hope that helps and happy sailing! Alisa

Mike, Alisa and Elias said...

Jessica on SV Yare, I made a mistake on my last comment. We did start Elias w a Sterns lifejacket, but he has outgrown it and his current lifejacket is a Hutchwilco, which we got in Australia. While shopping, I was VERY VERY impressed at the selection that Hutchwilco has for children and infant lifejackets, and our next child will have a Hutchwilco jacket instead of Sterns. Sorry for confusion. -Alisa

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for the infant info! I'm looking forward to reading about your adventures with two children. I also can't wait to join you all on the seas with our family.
Jessica s/v Yare

Mike, Alisa and Elias said...

Hi Jessica on SV Yare: I thought of a few other things that were very useful sailing w infant. In addition to the carseat lashed into the cockpit, we had Elias' eatting chair w tray also lashed into one of the settee corners, so that we had a spot down below and also in the cockpit where we could know that he was strapped in and safe. When Eli was toddling, we had just enough space in the salon to lash in and pad a pack-in-play crib. This was wonderful and he loved it. We used it a LOT sailing from when he was 10 months to about 1.5 years, and he seemed to be safe and happy w the freedom this gave him in the swell and roll of the boat. Lastly, we recently saw a very nice NZ brand beanbag made out of sunbrella material, esp. for boats, and i plan to buy one of these to use in the cockpit as padding w our next child. I am cautious about using it during sleeping, and i am not suggesting this in any way as padding for the bed, but while the infant is awake and in the cockpit i think a beanbag could be very helpful along w a harness. And the child lifejackets should be tried on so that when the child is sitting on your lap it is still comfortable for them to wear and doesn't ride up on their neck or chin. Please keep us posted how you go and let us know if you need encouragement! Alisa

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the additional info Alisa! My husband and I were out on the boat this weekend and were talking about how now that we are pregnant, we are even more convinced that cruising is for us. We can't wait to see the the world through their eyes...it'll be worth the extra hassle of babies on the boat! It is so helpful to have the advice of people who have done it and with such style!
Jessica s/v Yare