I wake up around six, check the weather and surf the internet (outstanding 4G coverage in Croatia - we have not lost signal at any point over three months! (thanks to Matt P for helping install the 4G router and external aerial). Talking about weather, we are in the middle of Europe's "heat wave"...apparently here in Croatia it is the hottest it's been for 10 years!!! It was 42 degrees yesterday. So not surprisingly today there is no wind until mid afternoon. So plenty of time to relax...
With time on my hands, I start to wonder around the boat...I love this boat. It has been perfect for our family. A good level of comfort and sails well. I tap the hull. It's solid. The South African Deans (pre 2006) were know as the "cat built like a brick sh*t house". They were over built. The downside is that they are a bit heavy...but we are still able to do 10 knots, which is just right for the family. She also has a skinny bottom (narrow hulls), compared to other cats, which seems to help her performance down wind (good motion in a following sea).
Still no wind, so I make my second coffee. Nespresso maker makes great coffee. We found a fantastic Italian capsule maker in Sicily, so purchased 1000 capsules. Looking around our little boat I see our entire home, our life, our fun, our laughter and even our chores...yes having the same amount of heads (toilets) (3) as our land house, means there are still chores! But it's an amazing thought to realise that the heat for the coffee maker, the coolness of the fridge, the frozen things in the freezer, all the computers and iPads are being powered by the sun...which incidentally we have oodles of at present. We have eight solar panels, which at this time of year provide a huge amount of power. When it was 42 degrees yesterday, there were a few questions on what size air conditioner we could run off the batteries. There were inventions coming out thick and fast. The best was wetting towels and hanging them around the cockpit, the evaporation causes refrigeration, which combined with the very light breeze dropped the temperature ever so slightly...could we commercialise this?
So I smile to myself, we have a simple life...we have free power at a time when power prices in Croatia are at an all time high. It's time for a swim. The surface of the water is already starting to warm up...think of a luke warm bath. Luckily when I get out and wash down with fresh water, the water from the tank is cold (it's stored down in the bilges). Standing under the shower, I think, "wow we even make our own water". We have a small fresh water maker. It runs on 12 volts. Since we added more solar panels to Hector, we have been able to make fresh water from the sun. How cool is that!..."cool" get it?
We feel self "containing", self "sustaining". We're like a snail that carries it's home around on it's back. So what's on the agenda today? It's now 9 o'clock, the girls have had their morning swim and are now in the shade of the cockpit playing UNO. No boy problems on this boat! How can I keep this going through the teenage years??? It's Camille's birthday tomorrow and the girls are all excited about cooking breakfast and baking the cake. Doing the cake is always interesting. Finding ways to occupy the "birthdayee", while the cake is being made is normally my job. Maybe I can take Camille fishing in the dinghy tonight...
Talking about the girls, on board school has been a real surprise. We planned our trip on the basis that we would be enrolled in correspondence school, but in reality not anticipating a lot of schooling for a couple of years...But it's turned out the other way. Home schooling has been a real success. The NZ government correspondent school is outstanding. This year it has moved to a fully online "google classroom". We have been lucky enough to meet a fellow class student while sailing and all going to plan we should meet another student in Greece in a few weeks. Being an "at home dad" and in charge of maths has meant I'm a lot closer to the kids schooling. I'm not sure why it's working so well. Maybe it's that we can bring the school lessons into our daily life. It's also good how the girls learn from each other. Camille thinks she's a 12 year old and Maddy gets to practise her leadership skills. Maddy our school prefect!
Not only have the girls made some new friends while sailing, but we have met some great people. There is something about sailors, good folk, always up for some fun and by definition like living outside their comfort zone. I must be careful here not to start naming names. These people go out of there way to do things for each other and share things with each other. Easter in Licata was a great example. The kids had a supply of Easter eggs for months....and just when they ran out, friends from Licata turned up with more chocolate! We have pilot books and paper charts for most of the med...friends just gave them to us.
So while a boat is a boat, this boat has been much more to us. It's been our home and a place that has created some great memories. A special thanks to the previous owners, who left the boat in such good condition. We have made a few improvements and I hope we are able to leave it in as good a shape as they did.
So to summarise the above rambling, we are extremely proud of our home. With just over three months until our unbelievable adventure comes to an end, there is a touch of sadness. Nothing to worry about because everything else is just magic.
We're an ordinary family of 5 dreaming, planning and now beginning our adventure around the Mediterranean (and further afield), having an awesome time! Look out for our boat and come and say hi.