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Ready to go
Dana
07/29/2011, Port Denarau, Fiji

Well Mark and I are still awaiting a weather window to get the heck out of Fiji. We have heard people say it'll be as late as next Saturday but we've also heard as early as Monday. All I know is we are ready to go. Well not really. I've pulled a bunch of stuff out and need to get it stowed away but I'd have this boat together in an hour if I thought we could go anywhere. This is probably one of the most annoying things about cruising. The weather dictates when and where you can go and doesn't really care what you want to do. I want to get to New Caledonia so that we have a little time to see it before we have to hurry off to Australia so that I can get home in time for the third trimester. Lord please push this coming high in another direction!

Fiji
What kind of husband?
Dana
07/25/2011, Port Denarau, Fiji

What kind of husband makes his pregnant wife scrub the bottom of a disgusting dinghy? The kind that lives on a boat. Well actually I volunteered for the job. The thing is that the number of outside jobs I can do has become limited. I can't really help Mark with many projects because everything involves so many sprays and chemicals that I have to run away. That's probably one of the harder things about being pregnant on the boat. Whenever Mark is working on something I know it helps if I'm there just to run and get things or hold a piece while he works on it. But I don't want to be breathing in anything that could be harmful for the baby. So I will have to stick to the girly jobs of cooking and dishes for now and servicing the winches will have to wait until after the baby arrives.

Fiji
Duty Free
Dana
07/25/2011, Port Denarau, Fiji

I always wondered what the big deal was with Duty Free. Every time I was in an airport with a duty free shop I'd check it out. Supposed to be a great deal right? But I never could see that. The prices always seemed higher than I could get the stuff at home. Now that I've been traveling a while and "lived" in different places I realize that duty free isn't for Americans. Our prices at home are less than most duty free shops and definitely less than most other places in the world. The prices (with crazy amount of taxes) for stuff in other parts of the world are so high it makes Nordstrom look like Walgreens in comparison. Think of the alcohol you can get at Costco. A handle of Jack is what $30-40US. Here in Fiji a bottle half that size is at least double if not triple. A case of Fiji Bitter (probably a Budweiser equivalent) is about $40US. It's totally crazy. Mark and I went into the Duty Free here the other day to check out the electronics. The cameras were all at least $500-600US. I just looked up the equivalents on Best Buy and none of the cameras were more than $150, they were more like $120. I just can't believe that the rest of the world puts up with this. It's just another reason I'm so proud to be an American and why we always max out our baggage limits when we leave the states to return to the boat. I now also understand why people actually take shopping vacations to the US.

Fiji
It's official...
Dana
07/24/2011, Port Denarau, Fiji

...the baby belly is officially big enough that people feel comfortable asking when I'm due. I'm glad. I hated that feeling that people were looking at me wondering if I'd just been packing on a few pounds. Especially because I've been walking around without out my shorts buttoned for weeks and covering it with my tank top. I have officially switched to only wearing my cotton shorts with elastic bands in them. Luckily I have a number of them since they are what I do crossings in. They should get me through at least the next few weeks. I haven't found any maternity stores in Fiji. The tourist shops have a number of dresses that I could wear but I flat-out hate wearing dresses and the idea of heaving my growing belly wearing a dress in-and-out of the dinghy just isn't appealing at all. I'm sure I'd end up giving the whole anchorage a show. So for now I plan to stick with the cotton shorts and stretch this batch of Old Navy tank tops to the limit.

Mark and I have started to organize the stuff we plan to take home with us this round and I'm hoping it's going too be a lot so we can make some room for the baby. The good news is I won't be taking any clothes. Nothing will fit by the time I leave and most likely nothing will fit for a few months (or more) after the baby is born so no point in dragging it half-way around the world. I'll have lots of room in my luggage.

Last year we scanned all the manuals on the boat. It was a huge undertaking of 6 or 7 binders. It freed up a lot of space in the nav station area but we weren't ready to take them off the boat when we went home last August. We were worried we could have missed something but Mark hasn't needed to reference the binders at all. The digital copies have been great and this means that all the binders are going home with us this time and I will have the entire compartment under my bed free for whatever I choose. I probably will go through our clothes again. If I haven't worn it since we've been on the boat I'm probably not going to. And most likely by the time we move off the boat I won't want to wear it so I'll probably just give the stuff away. The big project for me is to decide what craft supplies are going to stay. Truth is I haven't used most of them. It's not that convenient since I have to pull everything out and put everything away and can't really leave projects sitting around to work on. So I haven't done much. But the idea of not having my stuff makes me sad. Plus with the baby coming I have a feeling I may just want to get crafty about some things. So I'll be going through what is currently 4 duffle bags of craft supplies to figure out what stays and what goes.

On the flip side I also have to figure out what will be coming back to the boat with us. I can tell you they'll be a lot of baby stuff I'm sure. I've been trying to research what babies need and what is nice to have and I'll tell you it isn't easy - Especially trying to keep the boat in mind. I know we'll need some type of stroller and it's all nice that there are websites that have reviews but none of them take into account living on a boat. No one says "oh this one would be easy to get in and out of a dinghy by yourself with a baby in your arms while the thing is bouncing around and moving away from the dock." So I think light and simple but that won't work on a lot of the gravel/dirt roads that many of these islands have. Granted we plan to be in Australia for the first year baby's life but we will probably be walking almost everywhere so it can't be flimsy. Then there is all the toys and educational stuff. Just because we have a limited amount of space doesn't mean I want baby to be deprived (okay maybe deprived isn't the right word I mean we will make sure the baby has everything it needs). It's all great that Mark and I can go digital with our books and entertainment. But we just can't do that with a child. They need to be touching and grabbing and exploring. We have the unique opportunity that both of us get to be with the child 24/7 and we need to be using that time to its fullest extent. So what are the best baby learning toys and games? Hell if I know. There are so many on the market I sure as heck can't bring them all back with me and buying a lot in Australia would be nuts since I know it's going to be much more expensive than buying stuff in the states. I do want to have a good range of stuff for the baby as it grows because once we leave Australia it could be a while again before we are in a place with stores that we can run and get something we are missing or would like to have. I also have a lot of stuff from when I was a kid - mostly books I'd like to have on the boat but I have a feeling they will be coming out of my storage unit and into grandma's house since there are definitely too many to bring to the boat. If you have kids and have any recommendations I'll take em.

Fiji
07/25/2011 | John Jones
One blog I follow includes little Isobel. I have no children, but if I did, I'd seriously consider raising them on a sailboat. This little child is I'm sure more well rounded than most (and probably smarter).

http://www.sailblogs.com/member/beherenowii/
Oooh Pretty
Dana
07/22/2011, Fiji

Yesterday we finally got out and got our sails out. We were pretty happy with the results. We didn't spend too much time fine tuning them because we only had a few hours to play and we had a lot to test. We pulled out the mizzen and the main. All looked good and back in they went (much easier - no more baggy sails to fight into and out of the mast). Next we pulled out the Genoa and away it went. Then came the labor intensive test of deploying our two whisker polls. We pulled the Genoa out on the port side and then ran the new ballooner up and out on the starboard side. It looked great. We got to pick new colors for the ballooner and decided to go simple light and dark blue. It is much nicer than the old red, white, and blue because the red and blue had bled onto the white making it look awful. Mark also picked out the order of the colors on the sail and he did a great job. I was pretty happy with the whole excursion. It all went pretty smoothly and I think we are both starting to remember all the little details without reviewing the process before hand (we've only deployed the ballooner a handful of times).

As you can see Mark looks pretty happy standing there... with my Dr. Pepper. I say my DP because Mark never drank DP until I got pregnant. Overseas it isn't easy to find and usually expensive so when I found it at Gilmours in NZ for less than Coke I bought a case and Mark made me go back for a few more knowing that I enjoy the treat once in a while. I'm not a big pop drinker but I bought enough to have one a week till December. I didn't buy much other pop because I know that I can always get the other stuff that Mark drinks. Since I'm pregnant and can't drink it Mark has dug into it. I now fear my DP will never be safe again!

Must have sailing books for cruisers
Dana
07/19/2011, Port Denarau, Fiji

A friend of mine from college is thinking about heading out to sea. They are slowly making the plans to get sailing as soon as they can figure out some of the details. I offered up a list of good books to have on board to her and then thought "hey maybe I should post these on the blog too." So here are some books I think every cruiser and many coastal sailors should have on board - and yes this is only a small sample of the ridiculous number of books we have on board.

Anything by Nigel Calder - He is the boat god. We have most if not all of his books. If we have a maintenance issue we've learned to check Calder first. The four I know for sure we have on board are:
Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual - Mark LOVES this book
Marine Diesel Engines
Cruising Handbook
How to Read a Nautical Chart

World Cruising Routes by Jimmy Cornell - basically tells you where you can go and when.

The Voyager's Handbook by Beth Leonard - Good all around book about everything cruising.

So these are the books I told her to start with. If anyone is interested I'd be happy to look through our books and see what other good recommendations I can come up with.

Fiji

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