A year since my last blog! Here’s what we’re up to now.
Building our house (4 years plus)… so nearly there, make-shift kitchen is about to upgrade to semi-make-shift!
Building a business: SisterShip Training is going great guns and continuing nicely along its 5 years plan – exciting news in the pipeline!
Bringing my horses back to good health. After the trail riding (A Standard Journey), we hot-footed it to the UK to spend much needed time with family. We left our horses with “friends” of friends. Three years later I skipped with joy with the thought of getting them back – on our own land no less. We collected three emaciated, worm-filled, lame, depressed, miserable horses.
The nine hour trip back to their forever home almost killed us all. I was beside myself wondering if they’d make it. Especially Charlie who is huge, big-boned but so fragile.
Five years on they look amazing and I almost have their feet back to where they should be. I will never forgive those people. The farrier thinks their feet were left for three years and chopped just before we picked them up – hence their lameness and a four-year struggle to get their feet back to health.
Yes – in draft. However, SisterShip Training takes priority as far as work, as we are on the cusp of great things!
At the moment
My health is priority, having had a rocky-road for the last 1-2 years. Mostly due to stress. That’s all done and dusted now. I’ve shed the heavy weight things in my life that were very keen to destroy it and taken back control.
I had my hair tissue analysed (just like I did with the horses!), and it pretty much saved my health.
I hope to share more of our journey from now on, and I thank everyone who has supported me along the way, especially those who have purchased my books and continue to write to me from all over the world.
Cruisers’ Accumulated Acumen is selling incredibly well and has been tagged by a top sailing magazine as, “…probably the most comprehensive reference book designed for preparation for cruising life.”
Here’s an excerpt from our book – which not only includes over 1,800 tips, tricks and ideas for living on board, but also informative and fun articles such as this…
Your grab bag, ditch kit, flee bag (sounds like my old dog), jump-and-go-bag should include stuff to measure your own priorities and capabilities. What would you need? Who is on board and where you are going? Does everyone on board know where it is?
Align your inclusions with distance. Seasons don’t count, anyone on the water knows you can experience all four seasons twice in one day. However, thinking about the sea temperature is important; hypothermia has an insatiable hunger. The sea gods also have an unquenchable greed and anything in your boat that you think you need should have a piece of string (lanyard) fitted, to give you a fighting chance of hanging on to it. Common sense, speedy reaction and lack of panic should be mentioned, although I am not sure how to pack those things. The bag obviously needs to be watertight and waterproof, a bright reflective colour is a good idea (boats don’t just sink during the day).
Each to their own; some people include their obituaries – how very odd . . .! Other cruising buddies suggest a book and a mattress! All very nice, but I can think of several more important items. I’d rather have an extra bottle of water than reading material.
At the very least have water, flares and attention grabbers, surviving is nice, but being rescued is even better. The ditch kit should contain items for immediate use and possibly some months. Short-term think injuries, hypothermia and signalling devices. Mid to long-term survival, think water and food. Are you going to make water or catch it? Can you catch fish? Provision for prevention of sun exposure is imperative if you don’t want to end up like a crisp.
I have seen lists for short-term (minutes to hours), mid-term (hours to days), medium-term (days to weeks) and long-term (weeks to months). All very useful but how do you know which bag to collect when your boat sinks? Do you take all four? Think necessity not holiday!
Can the bag be snatched quickly? Paperwork is a good one, your passports and boat papers have to be somewhere, why not in the grab bag? Add a few dollars (American dollars are the most widely accepted if you are travelling overseas). Think of all the bureaucratic bits of paper that cause major headaches and gnashing of teeth, if you had to replace them.
As terrifying as it sounds, one day you might need it; now’s the time to think carefully about what it should contain. Grab bags provide thought-provoking conversations to all boat people. (Young, ‘Include my favourite toy’, old, ‘Put in the fine Scotch dear’), both would argue that their life depends on it.
Research suggests forgetting everything you have seen in the movies, on TV and in novels. But I tend to disagree, who’s to say what happens – survivors of course, but what of those who don’t. That monumentally dramatised scene could be precisely what happens. We’ve met a survivor whose boat took fifteen minutes to sink. He had ‘all the time in the world’ to grab stuff from cupboards. He now thinks all boats take this long to be swallowed in to the deep. Most of us know a story where a boat vanishes within seconds; those brief moments may give you enough time to grab your survival bag.
We have one big bag on our boat, which ideally should be split in two (1) Absolute necessities and (2) Necessities. However, it’s not and at the time of writing we are firmly welded to a mooring (for now). Our bag includes years of ideas gleaned from chatting to other people on boats as to ‘what’s in yours?’. It has (in no particular order): survival suits, sunglasses, wind up torch, handheld radio (VHF) and spare batteries, Spirulina (nutrient source in powder form), survival sheets (space blankets), hand Watermaker, toilet roll, water, string, fishing hooks/line, signalling mirror, knife, seasick tablets, First Aid with extra strong painkillers, flares, sanitary products, wet/baby wipes, tea towel, plastic bags, sea marker dye, lighter, paperwork (passports/boat papers/money), sunscreen, t-shirts, whistle, barley sugar, handheld GPS and batteries.
Diving into the bag after a year I am surprised to see that the wet wipes are still moist and the Spirulina still edible (mind you, it does look and smell remarkably like mould – even when new). Clearly, batteries should be replaced regularly, as should water in plastic bottles (leeching). Sunscreen and tablets/pills will have use by dates to be aware of too. We have spent over three weeks at sea in one go and been 1,500 miles from the nearest land, hence a fairly comprehensive bag. In compiling our kit, we gave careful thought to all the yummy stuff already included in our life-raft when it was last surveyed. Our EPIRBs are mounted in the boat, perhaps one should have been in the bag. Now, I would also include the Leatherman and some cereal bars. But the bag is heavy already.
Our small Watermaker was purchased in America (US$600). In Puerto Rico we met a guy who spent 66 days in a life-raft, in the Pacific Ocean, with his wife. They were attacked and holed by a pod of whales, ‘they were so lovely, riding alongside us and suddenly they turned . . .’ (Note to self: do not enjoy company of whales, turn on engine and shoot flares into water if same happens). He claims that they would be dead if they had not had the Watermaker in their grab bag. Before setting sail into the mighty Pacific, we purchased one. The emotions of coughing up the equivalent of almost a thousand Australian dollars were an odd mix; unwillingness to part with a large chunk of our cruising budget, conflicting with the thought that should we find our lives depended on it, it would seem a remarkably small amount of money. The Watermaker is still in its bag, unused and lonely, long may it remain so!
Other suggestions from friends:
My humble opinion
Chemical heat packs
Space blanket is smaller and works well
Book to read
Wool and rubber work gloves
Maybe one pair
Enema sack for rehydration
I’d rather drink the water
Already in life-raft
Swiss Army knife, sharpening stone, tube of oil.
Make sure knife is sharp to start with
Way too hard to use in life-raft
In life-raft already
Chemical light sticks
Dried fruit and chocolate
I’d never say no to chocolate (ensure fruit is not already in chocolate – this stuff can really go off)
Survival ship’s biscuits
Small plankton net
Photocopies of all essential crew documents
Yup(or the originals)
Shore survival items in case you land in an uninhabited island: waterproof matches, flint, wire saw
It’s all getting a bit much
Self-inflating foam pad or air mattress
What about a snugly blanket and a cuddly teddy bear too – really . . . !
Spare prescription glasses
Good idea – these are in our life-raft
Pack all gear into separate waterproof bags
Not a bad idea
We hope you found this article useful. It was compiled with ideas from many different cruisers and survivors. They all openly expressed their survival considerations, experience and concerns.
We’re still buried in the bowels of our little ship – renovating away, only popping up for air when we need feeding.
Below are galley progress-pictures from a month or so back (where has the time gone?). Some people liked the painted cupboards, but we changed them for several reasons:
1) The photos looked so much better than the real thing.
2) My eyes couldn’t stand all the hectic patterns and clashing of colours, stripes and frills (frilly net-curtains, red curtains, striped curtains, and the stencilled flowers on the sky-hatch windows) – something had to give!
3) I like fresh, simple decor that creates the feeling of space.
4) We didn’t like them!
Getting ready to sand
Some of the paint was very thick (dobbed on!), I was glad we had the electric sander!
I couldn’t wait to lighten this lot up!
First coat – there were five coats in total!
Sitting on the stove top!
Much better! (Ignore the timber door on the right, we currently have a vagrant door just sitting there in the way!)
That’s better on the eyes!
Or, this one?
Currently, we are finishing off the front cabin and that is the end of the renovations for now.
Photos appearing soon-ish!
A little while ago I wrote about the mysteries of the maritime world and how to get through your first few times on a boat at the helm.
I received many great comments – one, in particular, is important:
“Great encouragement and advice, Jackie!
Also, want to toss in the thought that not all women are the ones being persuaded to go sailing/cruising! While most sailors are super friendly, etc. it really does bug me when I run across people who just assume that I’m only there (or any woman is only there) because her husband persuaded her to be!”
Thanks Ellen You are right. It isn’t always the man’s dream to sail off into the sunset. Women are leading the way too and taking their partners or single-handing.
Ellen goes on to say, “It’s a lack of recognition of the fact that I am (or other women are) realizing dreams that we’ve had since childhood, and the sense of accomplishment that it gives us. So my bit of advice is, when you meet people in an anchorage, to wait and hear their story before jumping to the conclusion that Girl is valiantly supporting Boy’s dream :)”
Pink and Blue Jobs
Well said! And leads me nicely into blue/pink jobs. I can understand some jobs fall to the woman and some to the man. But on our boats both of us could and can handle every job necessary, from every aspect of maintenance to navigation. For us it was the safety aspect, for me it was independence. That’s just our choice; many couples have wonderful years on board with defined jobs.
Ellen adds “That’s not to discount the bravery of those who do fit that narrative, just to point out that it’s not the only one! E.g. we met the skipper and cook on a luxury chart yacht where she was the captain/engineer and he the cook!”
Men vs. Women
A recent FB post on a sailing group made me smile, the magnitude and range comments that followed this question were hysterical, some thoughtless, but many were thoughtful:
Image courtesy of kjnnt at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Sailors, what do you say to a woman who gives you lip about drinking rum on your boat before noon, and then also tells you that your plan on someday circumnavigating is ‘scary’ and ‘inconceivable’?”
Responses varied from “throw her overboard” to “go to AA!”
Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
My response was along the lines of, “I wonder why so many men tell us their partner won’t sail with them? How about showing her how conceivable your plans are and proving they are not scary…. as for the rum, well, sometimes it is important and sometimes not, however – never at sea!”
“What’s the very best, top-tip you have for doing boat renovations,” I said to my hard working husband, who is grappling with two loos right now, as I type.
Without hesitation or thought he dished up these wise-words of wisdom:
“Buy a house!”
We are in a mess, cabin full of welding fumes!
And, here’s more…
When taking the toilet apart, do not consume a large mug off coffee prior to the deed!
Seek good value gear – the renovations will cost you three-times what you originally calculated. You’d better try to make some savings somewhere.
Don’t become annoyed when the welding equipment sits on top of the loo all day!
His and hers!
Really try not to get irritated when the welding equipment then sits in the shower!
Don’t walk in bare feet after the grinder has been used.
Spread the dust sheet carefully, that one bit of paint you drop will do it’s best to find the tiny gap! Wear shoes when painting – you’ll find out why!
Drink vast quantities of wine or meditate (or both) – after the day’s work is done please!
New holding tank – done!
Turn up the Radio.
Have a day off – at some point (someone gave me this tip, not sure what it means though!)
… and as with all boat work, double the time you think the work will take, triple that figure, and you’ll be about halfway to a good estimate on the time it will take to do the work! (More great boat/cruising tips here, from boat maintenance to make-up!)
Make time for fun – Noel’s birthday!
More humorous (house) renovation observations, here.
And she is right….. I know I’ve written a good yarn when someone ends up knowing me so well…. read this review at your own risk…. (I’m still in tears!)
I’ve just finished Jackie Parry’s book. I was actually in tears at both the beginning and the end. At the start of the book, I felt the loss that Jackie experienced deeply and understood her need to escape to another world. By the end, I felt as if I’d been living with her on board the Mariah II with her and experienced so much. I felt her sadness at leaving this wonderful, free, wandering life behind; the disillusionment of being back in the ‘real’ world again. I shared both her delight and her torments – the joys and the fears of living so close to the elements. But more than anything what I admired about this book was what it represented: the choice of living a dream, of following a way of life that is totally against the normal grain and revelling in discovering the strengths and trust built in a relationship that is more than simply symbiotic. Jackie and her Noel develop a bond that is so strong, it brings a lump to my throat just imagining it. They also make some wonderful friends among their fellow world travellers, the very special Den and Tash, a Dutch couple so intrepid they take living under sail to new levels. I have to say the sense of a community of cruisers just opting out of the daily grind and routine and living like gyspies as they meander round the world is immensely appealing.
It’s taken me a while to read, as it’s a pretty long book to get through if you can only read at bedtime, but in fact it could have been longer. I would have loved more about their travels through America. That could have been a memoir all on its own. The French section could also have been longer, so Jackie, if you read this, maybe we could have two sub-memoirs? The last thing I want to mention is my admiration for Jackie Parry too. She glosses over her achievements, but reading between the lines, I more than take my hat off to her. For an example of someone with guts, courage and determination to live life on her own terms, I can’t think of anyone better. She has not only lived her dream, she is fully qualified to do it too, gaining top diplomas in many areas of marine skills. And let’s not forget the magnificent (and probably very patient) Noel, the rock on whom Jackie has depended and whose patience helped her find peace after the sadness of her early bereavement. Jackie’s personality shines through this book. She is feisty, intrepid, fun and friendly, but also unashamedly given to bursts temper and petulance – a wonderfully human being who has told a wonderfully compelling story.
*pages of FREE navigation tips, tricks ideas & advice*
Be safe & have a wonderful Christmas & New Year – fair winds.
I read a great FB post this morning on how a cruiser found that different range scales on their electronic charts meant different information being shown. More critically, some hazards were not shown on a small scale. Continue reading →