Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Importance of Getting off the Dock and out of my Comfort Zone

I had no idea how much I missed floating free on the water. Getting "off the dock" is a phrase anyone who owns a boat is familiar with. The dock, with all it's amenities, conveniences and plusses, comes with a host of negatives - not the least of which is tethering your boat to shore. When you are "on the dock" you are, presumably, not "out there" (insert outstretched arms indicating the great wide open). So, when Scott got three day's off in a row and asked if I wanted to sail over to Norman Island and anchor out for the night, I cannot even believe I thought twice.

Turns out, I had no idea what I needed.

When you live on a boat in a marina, particularly with toddlers, sometimes anything that requires a little more of your already depleted energy (like untying dock lines, prepping the boat for sailing, and related things) seems like too much. I mean, we're so happy here. We have a little routine, the girls have fun every day...Why did we need to leave? "Umm....I don't know...." I answered lazily when Scott posed the question of a day sail. "Seems like it would be a lot of work for just one night out?" I added in a sort of question/statement. Scott is familiar with this not-so-great side of me. The side that, instead of leaping in head first with an excited, "Sure!" sits back and thinks about all the 'what if's'; making a list of reasons why 'xyz' is actually not a good idea. It's not one of my better traits. I could totally justify my line of thinking: Why rock the boat when we were so comfy and happy right where we were? No sooner had I had that thought when it dawned on me that this was precisely why we needed to go. Because - and pardon the cliche - life happens outside the comfort zone. If I've learned anything, I've learned that.

"Let's go" Scott said.

Pushing my reluctance aside once and for all I replied with a firm, "Okay."


It was a perfect sailing day, as it so often is down here. The breeze was fresh, the waves gentle, and the sun beaming. I cannot adequately explain how or why it happens, but anyone who loves sailing knows the feeling: once we raised the sails and shut off the engine, I felt my heart and soul lighten. Being out on the water, sailing with my girls in this incredible paradise we are so lucky to call 'home' just about made me burst with gratitude. Isla took her spot on the bow, standing quietly and keeping watch. She has always been an old soul and sailing with her is a pleasure, she just takes it all in as she gazes at the water in silence, looking for turtles and dolphins and anything else that might catch her imagination. I took my seat next to her on the cabin top; wind ripping through my hair, sun warming up my skin and thought to myself, "this is bliss". I turned around to Scott who was driving. "Thank you," I said. "I totally needed this." He smiled, the twins seated contentedly next to him snacking on popcorn. We had a near-perfect sail with all the girls happily awake, enjoying the scenery and sitting on deck with me, giggling and waving to boats on the horizon.

We grabbed a mooring ball at the Bight at Norman Island, put the girls down for a nap, and I came back on deck to take in our surroundings. It was, literally and metaphorically, a breath of fresh air. Being surrounded by water instead of other boats and docks was bliss. Just as catching the wind in your sails does something to lighten your soul, so does simply floating peacefully at anchor. The world is quieter. The boat feels bigger. Your senses perk up. You breathe a little easier. It is instantly soothing and relaxing and creates a sort of paradigm shift in the mind where you feel incredibly free. Scott got to doing a few boat chores before laying down for a nap, while I grabbed my book and basked in the cockpit. It felt positively wonderful to be in the breeze, something that is sorely lacking on our buttoned-up boat in the marina. At the dock we spend precious little time in our beloved cockpit. For one, it's so hot and secondly, being so close to our neighbors makes relaxing in the cockpit slightly awkward. At anchor? Different story. Our cockpit is our living room and I absolutely love it. I pushed open all our hatches, unzipped our dodger window, and aired out the boat with sunshine and fresh breeze.

The girls woke up from their naps and played happily on deck. Scott and Isla inflated our Airis Paddle Boards and we loaded the kids up - me with the twins, Scott with Isla - and paddled ashore to the beautiful beach. Sadly, we don't have any photos of this excursion because I didn't want to take my good camera on the paddle board, but we rowed to the beach where the girls played happily in the sand and Scott and I enjoyed some afternoon cocktails. We met up with some blog followers and island friends that work on Norman, lingering beach side until the sun started slipping down the horizon and it was time to head home for dinner and bed.


The next morning, the girls were up with the sun and ready to play on deck again. Giggles, squeals of joy and belly laughs ensued and, again, I thanked Scott for pushing me outside my comfort zone. Work was calling, however, and after a morning paddle and beach excursion, we needed to set our sails for home. We sailed back in a building breeze; grateful, rested and rejuvenated from our 'mini-vacation' off the dock. I didn't know it at the time, but I needed that little time away so very badly. It would have been so easy for me to convince Scott to stay back and pass on this opportunity. And it would have been fine. We would have had a nice day. We would have had fun. But it would not have re-charged my batteries, filled me to the brim with gratitude, and inspired me quite like our trip to Norman did. Nope. Getting out of my comfort zone was imperative and refreshing. It's a lesson that I, no doubt, will have to learn over and over again, but next time I won't need nearly as much convincing. I am sure of that.

“Comfort is your biggest trap and coming out of comfort zone your biggest challenge.” 
- Manoj Arora

Isla took her spot here and sat here for the entire 1.5 hour sail over.
Luckily it was calm enough that the girls could explore on deck underway.
Me and my girls. Mira was not thrilled at this point, but you can't win em all, right?
Pouty face.
Isla and Haven sat up here most of the way.
Sailing sisters.
Sisters, sharing a secret and a giggle, as they should.
We're working a lot on sharing these days. I was happy to catch this moment.
View from the aft deck.
Mira, our little steadfast observer.

My happy little wild haired Fraggle.
Sailing = snacking.
Daddy and Mira
Always polishing. It's impossible to stay on top of. Sigh.

Paddle board time!

Mira, testing out her balance.
The girls are SO happy climbing and playing on deck.
Daddy kisses
Our little peanut.
Watching these two interact is amazing. Being a mom to twins is definitely a gift.
All three of our little treasures!! This was unposed - they just did this on their own. Love.
If you were wondering if our kids had any personality...
Happy and free.
Her favorite spot to climb up to.

Sunrise exploration.
Good morning sun!

Sailing home. Thoughtful and contemplative.
Haven, driving with daddy.
All these photos are taken with my Canon EOS Rebel T5 EF-S 18-55mm IS II Digital SLR with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens (50mm) or Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens (wide angle) lenses. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them!


Unknown said...

Just WOW! I could almost feel the sunshine and the breeze. Your family is amazing.

SailFarLiveFree said...

Becoming complacent and having sailing lose its magic is part of what I would fear about having a fulltime sailing. Sounds like you pushed through it and dispelled that theory. Looks like an excellent sail!

TheCambrians said...

You're definitely not alone, I tend to lean toward the "it's too much effort for one night" side of the equation but always find the time away from the dock rejuvenating. Congrats on a brilliant weekend!

Magda said...

Thank you for reminding me of this :)

Also? Love the pictures, bring back memories :)

KoKoPai said...

What a great article! As a Mom of 2 (5+2) I totally understand the feeling of "ah, no, maybe". Happy that you made it! Great blog! We love to follow you and your girls from Vancouver, BC (not yet living but lots of sailing on our beautiful KoKoPai).

MaryJo Boyle said...

Our 4 daughters are adults, but they all grew up on boats during our Minnesota summers...I miss those times so much. Your adventures bring back such sweet memories. Thanks once again for your great photos and intelligent writing.

Jessie said...

Perhaps my FAVORITE photos you've taken! You truly captured how free ALL of you felt together as you shared a night off the dock. Cheers, Jessie

SF Powerboats said...

Great Post!

It's okay to settle and be complacent but by doing so means losing the thrill of adventure. I learn a lot from your post. I realize that what ifs are regretful so if once given a chance to explore and create a moment, never hesitate. Getting out of one's comfort zone isn't bad, sometimes we find things out there that will make us feel alive.

Jason said...

Really great post and amazing pics. Awesome to the "family time". Thanks for sharing.

Lisa Hanneman said...

Good for Scott!!! Your pictures are amazing. Miss you all... Those sweet girls are lucky ducks and so are you guys to have them.

Unknown said...

What kind of sail boat do you have?

Unknown said...

What kind of sail boat do you have?

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