We announced in our last Sea Change post that we have given work the flick! As you know by now, we’ve got plans, big plans! We are at last officially focused on packing up our land life, ready for the biggest of adventures: our life on Take It Easy.
The ups and downs of transitioning
The transition to life afloat and hopefully several years of voyaging is a time of mixed emotions. It is straight forward and safe at home, on Terra Firma. You think of your land life and there is a tinge of sadness as you look at your house, think about the happy times, and wonder whether you will ever live here again. But as you imagine the future and the unknown, you are filled with anticipation and excitement. Sea voyaging is the most thrilling of endeavours, although an uncertain business at times. So which way do you turn your head – forwards to uncertainty or backwards to safety? The only answer has to be ever forwards, towards the bows. Backward glances are not the ingredients of true adventures.
Working towards our sea change is also a time of urgency in which we are drawn with all haste to the horizon like gulls to a scrap of fish. It is funny in a way, because for the first time in many years, we have no deadline, there is no need to rush, no pressure to operate on a schedule. But we want to be on our way, devouring the journey, making progress, putting miles beneath the hulls, getting there – wherever ‘there’ is! We want to be able to relax too and just be. These last few months have been quite stressful and very tough health wise and it is time to recover and do what our boat tells us: take it easy!
The big pack
But first, there is the small matter of packing away our land life.
It is amazing how much we accumulate over the years: furniture, ornaments, trinkets, books, clothes. Having come together later in life, we each have a house full of the stuff. And now, we need to pack it all and sell our two cars.
We have been gradually working through this during the last month, starting with Jan Juc, and then Brunswick.
We won’t be voyaging forever, so there is a lot we want to keep. But there is also a lot we need to get rid of as the contents of our two houses need to fit in a double garage – a big ask. Wade’s stacking skills have been put to the test! As we put our belongings into boxes, sort through what goes into storage, what gets disposed of, what gets given away, a flood of memories besiege us. We reminisce about the past. We are making decisions about what is or is not worth holding on to now, we are cutting ties. Things are coming down from the walls, decorative items are packed away and very quickly our surroundings are losing their personality and warmth. In a way it makes it easier to let go. There is an emotional side as well as a practical side to this transition and it leaves us feeling a bit unsettled, excited and melancholic at the same time. As a seafaring friend said: “it is brutal”.
And there is so much to do! It’s a bit like that recurring end of project nightmare I used to have: I’d be trying to pack our gear, would open a cupboard and find more stuff to pack away, and move to another room and find more again – as if our gear was multiplying. We are living that nightmare!
But soon it will be celebration time with friends and family, and D day!
Where to and how long for?
People ask us, where will you go? Because we are taking off in Winter, we will initially go north where it’s warm – up the East coast of Australia to the Southern Great Barrier Reef for a bit. We also intend to be back south next summer and autumn. We are going back to France over Christmas and January to spend time with my Dad and sister, then once back, we are sailing further south for a few months to circumnavigate Tasmania at a slow pace.
Beyond that there are many places we want to explore in the future. There will be a return to Lord Howe Island, loitering around the Southern Great Barrier Reef and Swain Reef, exploring every nook and cranny along the Queensland coast, every island in the Coral Sea. Maybe the Kimberley and a full lap of Australia will happen later… The South Australian coast appeals too. There is plenty to keep us going around the Big Island for a few years, and we look forward to friends joining us for escapades in alluring spots. While Bengie is with us, international cruising will be limited to New Zealand as we could not face putting our pussycat through a lengthy quarantine. At this stage, we have no plan of going around the world, just around Australia and the South Pacific.
As for how long, hopefully several years. As Wade always says: “for as long as it is fun”.