Thursday, February 4, 2016

Slowly Waking Up

What is this delicious piece of gorgeousness? A blocked toilet hose? I don't know about you, but this puts me in mind of arterial plaques and makes me want to treat my circulatory system with gentle kindness.

More importantly, does this mean that things are afoot aboard the Good Ship Papillon? Indeed it does! Erik is tearing through our to-do list like a lion taking down a zebra. The girls and I are waiting out the worst of the destruction from afar. If all goes well, the four of us will move back into our floating home in another month, and this blog will emerge from hibernation.

Until then, dear readers.

Sunday, September 6, 2015


"Oh, ho!" you say, sipping your morning coffee. "Amy has finally written something new. That slacker. Took long enough."

And you're right. My record has been more than a little spotty this past year. And I owe you, my loyal readers, a short explanation.

Let's face it: this is, at heart, a family travel blog. And while the family part remains intact, the travel aspect has ground to a halt. Not forever, but for now.

The other issue I face is that we currently live in a teeny-tiny community. And while I could record many (many, many) funny stories about living here, I wouldn't feel very good about it. Family aside, I try to preserve the anonymity of the people in my anecdotes. That would be impossible here. If those people ever glanced at my blog, they would recognize themselves and each other all too quickly. It would be awfully arrogant and unkind of me to mine my friends and neighbours for blog material. So I won't do it.

That leaves me with precious little to write about in this space. I am still writing, but I am concentrating on other projects.

In short, dear reader, you will have to consider me to be in hibernation. I may post the odd picture or funny story when the opportunity arises, but, for the most part, I am going to let this ground lie fallow until we return to Papillon next March.

I hope to see you all when we finally - FINALLY - start sailing again.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

Masks & Fire

Cruising has a lot of positives. You become more flexible. You learn to live simply. You slow down. But these mental shifts have their drawbacks. Primarily, you (read: I) lose all perspective about what "normal life" looks like. Cruisers live in a world where you wake up in the morning, discover the local conga festival is starting, and spend a happy day admiring costumes and eating meat-on-a-stick. There is no planning. There are no logistics. Wake, discover, enjoy. That's it.

The problem comes when you return to regular life with a regular schedule. Suddenly, your vacations have to be planned - ahead of time and everything. Book travel, book hotels, try not to cringe when you think of eating restaurant meals for a week. And not only do you have to plan, but your years on the boat have given you a warped notion of what a vacation should look like. There will be no beach holiday at an all-inclusive. There will be no Disneyland. No, what you are looking for is more along the lines of sitting in the grass under an umbrella and hanging out with the locals. Hopefully with a snappy dance number.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Moving the Boat, Part 3: Midnight Encounters

It has been said that women let the memory of childbirth fade very quickly; if they didn't they would never have another baby. So too with this passage. Although I know very well the whole thing was a pain in the neck, a short month later and the sharp edges are fading. I'm still not in a hurry to do another passage any time soon, but the months will go by and soon I will only remember the good parts. By then it will be time to hop aboard once more.

So let's review the highlights before they fade completely, shall we?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fire Dance

I'm building quite a backlog, aren't I? Add the Mask Festival to the list of things I need to write about this month.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Banana Shopping

I told you all a giant fib. I won't be writing my next hotly-anticipated Moving the Boat segment this week. We're off to the PNG Mask Festival, so the thrilling tale of our wavy trip from Noumea to Brisbane will just have to wait a little bit longer.

In the meantime, I present the following educational piece:

How to Buy Bananas in the Tropics

Step 1: Look off the porch. Notice bananas growing behind your house are ripe.

Step 2: Grab a machete.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Notes From the Peanut Gallery

Dissatisfied Reader writes:

           How blase we have become. That title is not up to your usual high standards. If you do not
           want to call it Passage to Oz (parts I, II etc.) you can still do better than "Moving the Boat".
           You crossed the Coral Sea, [...] for the love of Pete.

I realize this was a friendly, joking note. I do. But I think this topic is worth explaining, so I am going to pretend this was a serious criticism. And it's nice to know that people aren't shy about expressing themselves around here. Don't let the quality slip, people! Keep me honest!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Moving the boat, part 2: First attempt

Ahh, peaceful Baie Maa. A lovely little bay just north of Noumea, and a perfect place to stop when everything is going to hell around you. Soak in this lovely photo of the girls, because it took some major excitement to get to that point.

It was a misty moisty morning when we pulled out of Port Moselle for the last time. As we filled the diesel tanks at the nearby fuel dock, the winds howled louder and the rain came harder. I shielded the diesel inlet while Erik filled, trying desperately to avoid taking on a tankful of water, and we exchanged a grim look. It was a rotten day to depart. But what could we do? Normally we would never go anywhere in weather like that, but we had already checked out of the country and Erik was due back at work. All of the typical excuses. You have heard me say for years that sailing to a schedule is both foolish and dangerous. And here we were, ignoring our own rules and sailing under time pressure. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Moving the boat, part 1: Noumea

It was tough to choose the first photo for this post. On the one hand, most of our time in Noumea looked like this:
Not a holiday.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Home Again

I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted. It has been a busy month of picnicking on the beach, troubleshooting leaks, painting antifouling and moving hither and yon. And I'll tell you all about it, I will. Just give me a day or two to recover.