Sailing the World (Pregnant)
On the first leg of their journey, the Kaufman family never expected such a bumpy ride (with one bump being particularly surprising). A chronicle in three parts. Hold on tight!
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Cora acts as chief dolphin spotter while at sea. Dad Eric is skipper and is responsible for all things topside on the Rebel Heart.
It is impossible to really know how to provision your boat for a long trip until you have just gone ahead and done it. I highly recommend reading Lin Pardey’s book The Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew as a place to start. But no amount of practical advice or how-to books prepared me for 12 hours of morning sickness at sea with a hurling toddler.
Eric and I don’t have faith in Mother Nature; we respect her. Any sailor worth his salt knows you can’t trust the ocean, but you can study it and understand what you are getting into before you leave for a destination. We read weather reports, we research when to avoid areas because of storms and bad weather, and we never have a strict schedule.
And both Eric and I have a huge amount of trust in each other. We divide our roles on the boat into “pink” and “blue” jobs. My domain is the interior of the cabin. I take care of provisioning, cooking, and making sure the kids are safe and cared for under passage. Eric’s domain is topside, navigating, trimming the sails, and anchoring. I have absolute trust that Eric will get us there safely. Likewise, Eric trusts that the crew (me and the kids) are out of harm’s way and that every once in a while a cup of hot coffee and a homemade meal will be handed to him so he can keep the boat moving. It might sound old-fashioned, but it works for us.
Cora has chores on the boat, too. She helps set and clear the table, she brings us paper towels and canned goods that are stored in lockers at her level, and she helps clean when we are cleaning, working alongside us with a spray bottle and a rag. Keeping things ship-shape is very important on a boat. There is a place for everything, and Cora has quickly learned that she can’t move on from one game or activity until the other is put away. She knows how to stow her rack or clean up her berth. Down below, what she likes most is to help me cook, and especially bake. Topside, she likes to work alongside her daddy. She has a set of toy tools and happily bangs away on winches and lines whenever she gets the chance.
She is a tough little kid with a sweet spirit. We hope one day she will recognize the incredible opportunity of being raised on a boat and sailing around the world. How many two-year-olds can step from a bouncing dinghy onto an outboard ladder, climb up it, and get themselves over the gunwale of a sailboat unassisted? How many toddlers are aware of the lines on a boat and how dangerous they can be? Or how many kids get to wake up each morning to wildlife on their doorstep? Swimming with dolphins, or seeing the spouts of whales from their backyard? Not many.