Apologies up front...I actually did take pictures for this post and that's why I waited to post it. But my camera is on the fritz and I keep losing pictures... Sorry for the long read, hopefully it will keep your attention.
The most frequent questions we get from friends, family and strangers, by far, is “How does Jake do on the boat?” and “What does he do while you’re underway?”
Since we’re underway now, I decided to just go ahead and give you a day in the life of the crew, focusing on Jake of course. J It’s really not all that exciting, but our families are enjoying stories about Jake so this is for them. It might get a bit boring, but to be fair…you asked.
My last “official” watch of the night starts at 5:00am. Jake has decided he likes sunrises and has taken to waking up very early to share this time with me. He’s even asked me to wake him up if he doesn’t get up on his own. So we start our day sitting in the cockpit waiting on the sun to come up. Sometimes we tell stories; sometimes we just cuddle, other times we talk about our dreams or whatnot. This morning, he reminded me of a story we read about a rabbit shooting the sun because he was so thirsty and dry from the sun continuously shining. The sun then shot out fire and the rabbit hid under a bush for cover. That’s why the rabbit hides when the sun shines and the sun rises slowly instead of popping up (like it used to, according to our little tale)…to make sure the rabbit isn’t waiting there to shoot him.
We put the fishing lines out and following the sunrise, depending on what time it is (we keep changing time zones so sunrise changes too), Jake plays a little bit before time for breakfast and school. When I say “play” throughout this post, you can bet I usually mean some sort of war game. He loves war games…partly because he’s a Navy kid, and partly because he loves history and well, that’s all we read about really. Think about it…most history is just war. I can’t say that I’m thrilled about this, but I can at least say that he uses his imagination like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I find him pretending to be kings, emperors, generals, and any kind of leader you can imagine. Today he had me tell our friends and family in the United States that they needed to move to Australia (particularly our friends in VA) because he had quite the battle going on the coast of Norfolk and they needed to be safe. But not to worry because he was in charge and he hasn’t lost a war yet. Sometimes he even mixes it up by fighting pirates with space weapons and using his Zillo Beast armor (from the Clone Wars cartoons) to keep from getting killed by the bow and arrows of the Celts.
Usually, Andy gets up around 7:30, I make breakfast and we all eat together. If we haven’t already started school, we get it going after I do the dishes. School usually takes about an hour and a half when we’re underway. If the conditions are rough…we take a “teacher workday” as both Jake and I get seasick, especially if we read. But this trip, the seas are good, so we do a full day of school.
By 9:00, I’m tired so off to bed I go. If any school is not finished, Andy supervises the rest of it. I really don’t know what they do while I nap, but judging by what’s happening when I get up, I think they either watch a movie, play on the iPad, or Jake plays while Andy tinkers with the sails and checks our position.
I wake up around 11:30 – 12:00 and make lunch (sometimes Andy makes his own if he doesn’t like what I’m having). Jake is usually asking to play on the iPad about every 10 minutes at this point (damn that thing…I never should have bought it). We try to hold out until after lunch…usually. After lunch, I do dishes and Jake asks again if he can play on the iPad. At this point, we usually give in (assuming he had a good day at school). He plays a variety of games ranging from shooting tanks to feeding a dragon...he even plays some math and spelling games every once in a while. I sit outside and read a book or just chat with Andy. Sometime around 1:00 – 1:30, Andy goes to take a nap. I either continue to read a book or I try to do something with Jake…read one of his books, do a science experiment, play with Lego’s, art, etc. Other things I try to encourage Jake to do (usually unsuccessfully): puzzles, hero factory toys, draw, trace pictures, read (whatever). Andy gets up and we usually let Jake watch a movie while we fiddle around. I might get the mail and some updated weather off the SSB. We might have a snack… Today we did something we don’t normally do and watched a grown up show!! We watched Top Chef ( a dvd from the food network) and afterwards Jake wanted to play “chef” so we had to pretend we cooked a desert and rate each others desert based on taste. Jake made a cupcake with the center filled with jellybeans, nuts and rum (don’t ask me!). Andy made a chocolate molten lava cake with amaretto topping and I made a pumpkin cheesecake with maple syrup topping. Jake won the most stars as Andy and I sabotaged each other in our scoring. His didn’t get cooked enough and ran off my plate. According to him, mine made him sick.
About 5:00 rolls around and its time for me to make dinner. After dinner, I do dishes and Andy and Jake usually start their “man movie.” At 6:00, our official night watches start and I go to take a nap while Andy takes watch (both movie and boat). He puts Jake to bed and at 9:00 wakes me up for my watch. On watch I usually listen to music, write, play on the iPad (yes, I do get some time on the thing occasionally), and watch a movie…peaking around every 10 minutes or so to make sure we’re not running into anything. I wake Andy up at 1:00 and presumably, he does the same for the next 4 hours. Then it starts all over.
It’s not fascinating, but that’s what we do. With the advent of GPS and all these fancy electronics, there’s not a lot of actual “sailing” stuff we need to do – given our style of cruising. There are some die hards out there who study up on celestial navigation and give that a poke. They don’t believe in watching movies on watch (or maybe they don’t have electricity). Many folks don’t have kids so find other things to fill their days. Most people I’ve talked to read an awful lot under way and I met one lady who even did laundry on her night watch. If it sounds like we watch a lot of movies, it's because we do. Life "at sea" is very different than life at anchor...not a lot of places to run around and conditions usually dictate how much "play" can actually happen as well. We try not to "plug" Jake in too much, but well, life gets in the way of being mommy of the year sometimes.
So there you have it…a day in the life. We’re on day 2 now…1 more to go and we’ll be in Pohnpei. We’ve learned some of our acquaintances that left Majuro a good bit before us are still there so we’ll have some catching up to do.