So, we have a plan...
We're going back to the boat. With three kids under three.
Bold? For sure. Insane? Maybe.
Of course some of you will call us crazy/stupid/selfish...etc, but we think our "plan" is actually pretty good. Heck, I'd even venture to call it a little conservative. But then again, you're talking to a girl who moved to Tanzania, East Africa by herself when she was twenty-four. Crazy and conservative are relative terms in my book.
But I digress...
Flights have been purchased for the entire family to fly down to the British Virgin Islands (BVI's) January 2015. We have rented a condo at the boatyard where we will stay for two weeks while Scott recommissions s/v Asante. My mom will be with us during that time (after this past winter, she is positively thrilled at the prospect of the tropics in January) so she will help me with the girls while Scott gets our boat ready to splash again. Once the boat is a "go", we'll move aboard and spend the remainder of the season lazily cruising around the British Virgin Islands. << This here, is the "conservative" part.
We are going to take baby steps. After sailing with Isla for twenty months, we learned a thing or two about cruising with kids. With her, it was pretty seamless and easy for us, but we also know that going from one to three kids is no joke (like, for real...no joke). We will be outnumbered and that alone ups the ante on the difficulty scale, not to mention the twin factor which pretty much puts that ante up into orbit. Any parent of multiples will agree, twins are a completely different ball of wax. So when we were making this "plan", we took stock of what we learned with Isla, and are omitting the aspects of kid cruising that were the most difficult, namely (in no particular order): 1) really long passages 2) overnight passages and 3) rough weather. Obviously we cannot control the weather, but the BVI's are relatively easy peasy sailing; no passages longer than 4-6 hours, no need for any overnights, and relatively protected waters where rough seas and the need to watch the weather are significantly less than elsewhere. In fact, it's kind of like sailing in a (really expensive and very crowded) bathtub. Kind of.
While this plan is in no way "fool proof" or a guarantee that this transition will be smooth sailing (pun intended), we think that this will give us a good shot at actually enjoying ourselves on the boat instead of simply suffering through it. With this plan we have options... If we find that we have a good handle on things, we can be more "adventurous" and head to the US Virgins and even the Spanish Virgins and Puerto Rico. If we discover that short day sails are our max, in the BVI's we will stay. Our girls will still benefit from the same gifts that a life aboard gave their big sister (intense family time, living with less, majority of wake time outside in nature...etc), but without the stress of passage making, overnights and rough sails.
"But you will be outnumbered!" you say. Yes. We will. But what I have learned thus far with three kids is the fact that if you have two adults on duty, it's totally manageable. While I can handle all three kids by myself (it is not easy, mind you, but do-able) - it is so much better with another adult so we can 'divide and conquer'. The fact that Scott and I will be full-time parents while on the boat is exactly what makes this plan viable, which brings me to the next part...
For the foreseeable future, we plan to cruise only part-time meaning that when hurricane season comes around, we will return to the states. There are several reasons for this: 1) our families are here and we want to see more of them 2) sitting more or less idle during hurricane season was never very fun for us 3) summertime in Chicago is amazing and...oh yeah...4) someone needs to work, and at the time being while I am basking in babies, that person is Scott.
While the captain's gig with Island Windjammers worked out great for us in the past, it is just not realistic for Scott to leave me for a month at a time alone on the boat with three kids under three while he honor his rotation. Being a single boat mom to one child was totally do-able, but three babies? No thank you. So we are putting our ducks in a row so that we can come home and make money during the summers and then cruise/travel as a complete family unit during the winters.
So there you have it. The "plan" as it exists right now. Obviously all of this is subject to change and there are lots of things to figure out (namely our sleeping arrangement for a family of five in a two cabin boat), but for now it feels really good to know we will be heading south for the winter. It's all about baby steps over here, in so many ways.
>>>>Below are some pics of our last time in the BVIs when Isla was about 13 months <<<<
|There are actually PARKS for kids in the BVI's (these are as rare as unicorns in the islands, fyi!)|
|Swimming off the back of the boat is always fun|
|There are LOTS of little ones in the BVI's too, which is a big plus (also note: tropical slushy rum drink in mom's hand)|
|Cane Garden Bay was one of our favorites|
|Swimming in the bubbly pool|
|Boat baby :)|
|Exploring the Baths|
|Leary of a squall on the horizon|