Cruising to Calm

" I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same as 'making a life'." Maya Angelou. This is the story of the Brown family adventure. We have pulled roots in NY and are taking our two kids ages 4 & 1 on a five year cruise. This is our story

23 February 2011 | Vava'u Tonga
07 October 2010
29 August 2010 | Neiafu, Tonga
30 June 2010 | Eauiki Island
01 April 2010 | Tonga
19 March 2010 | Tonga
23 February 2010 | Neiafu, Tonga
12 February 2010 | Tonga
10 February 2010 | Neiafu, Tonga
26 January 2010 | Neiafu, Tonga
20 January 2010
01 January 2010 | Pago pago American Samoa
12 December 2009
27 November 2009 | Suvarrov
02 November 2009 | Palmerston
26 October 2009
23 October 2009 | Nowhere
13 October 2009
26 September 2009

Father Time Knocking On My Hull

01 April 2010 | Tonga
The last time I wrote we were gearing up for my fortieth birthday bash. I guess it is wrong to say "we" since O really handled the entire thing. In the past he has been known to slip a little in the birthday department so he was determined to prove himself this time. (No beer coolies for me this year!).
O organized a pig roast on a beautiful shaded beach which was loads of fun. The day before the party we went to the anchorage with some friends and all the guys cleared a spot on the beach, raked up the usual beach debris and burned it. There was chainsaw and fire involved so it was an extra special treat for the guys! Anyway, they hung sails for extra shade and gathered loads of wood for the fire. We had several Tongan friends with us too, one of which is the nephew of the "chief" of the island, so he knew which trees were OK to cull and which woods would burn the longest and make good coals. Tristan even made a table from bamboo to set the salads on! Meanwhile, the kids were running amok kayaking, swimming, spear fishing and building forts. The set up part was pretty fun as well!
The actual day of my birthday (we are a day ahead of US time zone); it rained all day, so O had to call everyone and postpone until the following day. We decided that hanging on the beach in the pouring rain is not all that much fun. So, we hung out on the boat, watched movies and read books. Otis told me this was the ultimate birthday gift because I would actually get to enjoy 366 days as a 39 year old instead of only 365, because in the US it would still only be March 20th!
I was feeling a little maudlin that day to be honest. I missed my family and friends. Also, recently an older gentleman in the harbor asked me how old I was. I told him I was 39.5 he laughed and asked me "how long are you going to hold onto that one?" Well, I laughed but almost fell off my chair. Thankfully, I was able to take heart in the fact that I am pretty sure he has glaucoma, or at least O was trying to convince me of that, which I very readily accepted.

I quickly bounced out of my mood, when my kids came bounding into my room with cards and birthday hugs! However, later in the day Sammy did take a big bite out of the card Ben made for me when I wouldn't let him have more cake! Yet, I was still not to be deterred. He takes food very seriously.

The next day was fantastic. It was a little overcast in the morning, but cleared up by the afternoon. O had two pigs on ice for the festivities. Initially the first one we bought was not going to be big enough, so he bought another HUGE pig. Since we had to postpone until Monday we lost a few people who had to work, so really we only needed the one big pig. (We still have the small one frozen solid in our freezer!) However, it must be said that our friends Claudia, Brent, Luca(Ben's school mate), Bianca(Sam's off again bf) and Andrea their 11 year old took their boat after work and joined us!

The day was a huge success. We had live music (Sione played his guitar..ok at the end of the night I jammed Redemption Song 100 times and then when I randomly strummed pretending I was Clapton...well..yeah), volleyball, an unlimited supply of ice cold beer and rum, snorkeling, spear fishing, animated conversations and lots of laughter along with a great big pig and, most importantly, our friends. I must be getting older because I only offended one person the entire day (just kidding......it was really two).
I have to laugh because toward the end of the evening the guys started wrestling. Basically, Otis and Nolo, who is fourteen years younger than Otis and 100lbs heavier, started wrestling. Otis was reminiscing about his high school wrestling days (which I think O took a great many creative liberties with...junior Olympic team from Maine?? hmmm...after eighteen years together that one was even new to me....and I am sure all of his family..Stevo, are you aware of this?? he said you drove him to the finals??), BUT what the hell, as O and I like to say "never let the truth get in the way of a good story!"
Anyway, he and Nolo decided to show each other wrestling moves or something and started beach wrestling. Then Nolo and Kevin got into it as a finale...I think O was in traction by then. I was talking to someone when Nolo ran up behind me, put me on his shoulder and ran me into the water. Melee ensued and everyone was in the water. As I was trying to sneak out of the water, Nolo swung his arm back hard and fast to fend off Otis and Kevin who were shamelessly trying to bring him down and I got hit by his elbow in my jaw...wow. I didn't want to make a big deal about it but it hurt. Brandie kindly offered to reset my jaw, but with age comes much needed and a long time coming, wisdom. I decided I would wait until the light of day and the effects of the festivities to wear off before I took advantage of her kind offer!
The following morning I felt much older than my years. I had a swollen ankle and could not use or align my jaw. Otis hurt his shoulder, had coral cuts all over his legs and could not walk on his ankle. Kevin could not move his head. Nolo, on the other hand, felt fine and was bounding around. Otis and Kevin explained that it was all part of the 'master plan' to beat their bodies up in order to build them up again. Yeah, not sure I am buying into it but a truly wonderful time was had by all.

The kids had a BLAST! They were again, kayaking all over the harbor, spear fishing (they ate everything they speared cooked over an open fire), and playing in their forts. Sam took on the host role and was handing out beers..obviously did not get that on tape. Our friends Kevin, Brandi and the kids then slept onboard which our kids LOVE.
It truly was a fabulous birthday! FYI for those that know me well, I only made ONE toast/speech..but O said it was still too long!

We brought the kids back to school on Wed. only to find it was a half day Thursday and no school on Friday...still no idea why school was out but I am just the parent, so apparently it's not important for me to know!! Last weekend we visited another Island we had not visited before. (There are 30 or so). It was nice to be away from all the other boats and just have only the family again. We snorkeled; beach combed, built a sunset bonfire with the kids and hung out. I Love it when it's like that!!!!

This weekend we are going out to Eiwiki, where our friends Brandi and Kevin live with their 2 children AJ(11) and Kennedy(6), they are the family we visit often who are taking care of an eco resort on a beautiful, otherwise deserted island. We are going to roast the other pig for Easter and have an egg hunt planned on the island. I look forward to it. I also look forward to getting that pig out of my freezer! He has been taking up a lot of room for over a week now and every time I open the freezer his snout is poking up through the frosty contents at me! We have become pretty well versed at roasting pigs lately and find them to be a great excuse to have a beach gathering and enjoy time with friends. It is very similar to a backyard BBQ you might say. Some other friends will be joining in on the Easter festivities as well. It's like a family because we have been here long enough that our group of friends has grown, both in size and closeness.

After Easter the thought is that Brandi, Kevin and the kids will come cruising on Indy for a few days to some of the more remote islands. Ben has all week off from school next week, so we will pull Sam out too. The kids as well as the adults, love to hang out so we are all looking forward to the upcoming week..and, of course, if Indy is there..there will be stories!

Otis is eagerly awaiting the arrival of our Genoa, which should be here today......this means we will be lucky to see it by Tuesday, but at least we have confirmation it has arrived in Nuku'alofa a 50 minute plane ride away.

So that is all for now...trying to be better about writing more frequently.


. FYI: Does anyone know how I can link this to facebook? It was also recommended that I do twitter.....someone help..when I left we had blackberries and Oprah was forever....
Comments
Vessel Name: Independence
Vessel Make/Model: 44 ft St Francis Catamaran
Hailing Port: New York
About: Curtis/Otis, Jenny, Ben (5), Sam (2)
Extra: " I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same as 'making a life'." This is the story of the Brown family adventure. My husband, Otis and I(Jenny) are taking our two children(Ben and Sam) on a sailing adventure.
Home Page: www.sailingindependence.com
Independence's Photos - Cruising to Calm (Main)
Photos 1 to 15 of 15
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River exploration in Panama
Otis chilling at the helm
Boys with blue tongues
Jenny & Otis
Shark inSuwarrow
Pollywog initiation crossing Equator
Boys in fort Portabello
Sammy lands his 50th fish of the trip!
Pig roast in Marquesas
O doing pig dance with Pierre, our host
Jenny & O at Christmas dinner
Carnival in Samana Dominican Republic
Beach refuse fort in Testigos Islands Venezuela
Local Perogue in Testigos
Ben and Tigah in Antigua
 
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The Brown Family

Port: New York