January 9, 2016 – Interviews with Boat Kids

Happy Cruising Kid
Happy Cruising Kid

At this point the BATU crew has been living aboard for about three and a half months. This is just a short time, but long enough to have a good feeling of what cruising on a sailboat is all about, and to have met many other crews who’ve done the same. I’ve regularly shared my perspective, but I thought it would be interesting to talk with some boat kids to find out a bit more about the voyaging life. To support these perspectives, I’ve included a few photos of life, and wildlife, around Marina La Cruz.

Sean, Sarah & Katya
Sean, Sarah & Katya

PETER: How long have you been cruising?
SEAN (13): Three and a half months or so.
SARAH (12): Three months.
RAQUEL (11): About a year and a half PETER: Where did you start from? RAQUEL:
KATYA (12): Four years. We started from San Diego.

PETER: Where have you traveled during that time?
SEAN: Astoria, the Ocean, Morrow Bay, the Ocean, San Diego, the Ocean, Ensenada, the Ocean, and La Cruz, Mexico.
SARAH: I have been to Morrow Bay, San Diego, Ensenada and now La Cruz, Mexico.
RAQUEL: We’ve been cruising around Mexico. PETER: Did you go up in the Sea [of Cortez]? RAQUEL: Oh yeah, yeah.
KATYA: We traveled to Washington, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, North Wales, England, France, Australia (some of these trips were by plane).

PETER: How do you like cruising?
SEAN:I like cruising so far, mostly.
SARAH: I like it. PETER: That’s it, huh? SARAH: Yeah….
RAQUEL: I really like it, it’s really fun. I like the clothes. I take less showers. Now that I’m living on a boat, I like nature more.
KATYA: I really love the boat, cruising, everything about it, except when you’re trying to find something that’s just buried beneath everything else.

Biology - Saving a Pufferfish
Biology – Saving a Pufferfish

PETER: What are some of the best parts about cruising?

SEAN: Best parts are meeting other cruising boats, other kid boats, learning things at our own accord, homeschooling I guess, most of the time, sailing (as long as we’re not motoring), being closer together [as a family], not being extremely poor cruisers. Sunrises & sunsets. PETER: Humm, what do you mean by that? SEAN: I mean we are are middle-class cruisers. PETER: Is that good or bad? SEAN: Well, you know, I wish we had a Halberg Rassy 46, but it’s OK.

SARAH: I like exploring uninhabited places, seeing new wildlife, getting to spend time with you people [the family], getting to know the ocean better and trying new things. PETER: Like what? SARAH: Passages, snorkeling, fresh bananas, papayas, swimming in the ocean. Meeting all the new people and attempting to speak Spanish.

RAQUEL: We see a lot of animals. Like when cruising we see dolphins and stuff. Hiking we get to see deer and birds and squirrels. When we’re in the anchorage, our family comes to visit sometimes.

KATYA: Meeting new people. We met more people in four years of cruising than in the seven years we lived in Denver. You get so open minded, meeting different people and different cultures, seeing the world.

Peligro - Beware Falling Iguanas!
Peligro – Beware Falling Iguanas!

PETER: Cool. What are some of the worst parts about cruising?SEAN: Missing home. Missing [our dog] Rio and being back home with friends, because if we ever do come back it’s not going to be the same. PETER: Why do you think that? SEAN: Because we’re not coming back for a while, so I won’t be going to middle school with everybody. PETER: Ah, that’s a bummer, huh. SEAN: Yeah.

SARAH: Not being able to put something down without having it slide off [laughs]. Haha…meeting new people [laughs]. I dunno, not having an address. I kind of like it though, but it’s difficult if you want something shipped to you. Not having access to as many books, and being away from swim team, and friends and Grandma, and Rio.

RAQUEL: To be honest, I’m not really excited about the Puddle Jump [upcoming passage from Mexico to French Polynesia]. Sometimes I get seasick and I can’t eat, and sometimes when it’s really windy I get scared because the boat is rolling from side to side like this [waves her hands around wildly – laughs] and I worry it’s going to flip over.

KATYA: Sometimes when I need my own space – well, there’s no such thing. You can’t go for a walk when you’re out in the anchorage. Everything you need to find is buried somewhere, and you have to put up with Dad’s swearing when parts break. My Dad has his monthly swear word. PETER: [laughs] like what? KATYA: Oh, like “Jesus wept”, “Holy Mary, mother of God” and just like every other swear word you can imagine.

Independent Study - Fluid Dynamics
Independent Study – Fluid Dynamics

PETER: What are some things about cruising that you didn’t expect?
SEAN: Water conservation – wanting to, needing to and doing it. It’s amazing how much less water we use – making sure to use less than a trickle to wash all the dishes by hand. At home you have a dish washer. Having to replace the refrigerator, and then having it take much longer than expected. Replacing the battery banks. I didn’t expect to get used to living aboard so quickly. It’s not like staying aboard for a weekend – we’re actually at home. The change happened almost immediately, that the boat was home.

SARAH: How much the birds and wildlife change from place to place, and having so much time to do stuff.

RAQUEL: Well, I didn’t know we would see so many animals. We see shrimp and whales and dolphins. and I didn’t expect my dad to curse a lot, but when a piece is broken it’s like…are you kidding me?!

KATYA: To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect, but I suppose I didn’t realize we weren’t going to have a plan for the entire time, and that things were going to break so much. I didn’t realize the difficulty involved. And sometimes…boat toilets really smell.

La Cruz Kid Posse
La Cruz Kid Posse

PETER: What do you think about homeschooling on the boat?SEAN: It’s a lot different on the boat. The idea of going cruising is like going on spring break; exploring everyday and stuff. Now we’re here, but you still have to fit schoolwork into that, you have to balance two lives. We have all-the-time weekend, but all-the-time school as well, so you have to balance things. Plus it’s hard to get internet.

SARAH: Very interesting… [using funny nasal voice – laughs]. It can be good and bad, and sometimes it’s kind of hard getting yourself to do it.

RAQUEL: It’s amazing. My parents are my teachers, so I get mad at them sometimes, but I start school when I wake up, so I’m in my PJ’s and stuff. The projects are amazing! Once we made a volcano! We painted and decorated a papier-mache volcano, and then I think we used vinegar with baking soda.

KATYA: I started school on the boat, then I went to school in Friday Harbor, then back to homeschool. I like the fact that you don’t have a strict schedule. And let’s get something straight; all the kids I’ve met in the last four years, and that’s a lot of kids, trust me, they are friggin’ geniuses! I mean really smart kids.

Music Appreciation - Rocking Out on Air Guitar
Music Appreciation – Rocking Out on Air Guitar

PETER: What would you say to other kids getting ready to go cruising?
SEAN: Well, ‘hang on dude’, you can’t expect anything, just hang on. Make sure to say goodbye to all your friends, and your dog. Have a big get together and say goodbye. You’ll still miss them, no matter what.

SARAH: Have fun! Don’t bring sinkable things, or make sure to tie things down…yup.

RAQUEL: I would say you’re probably going to have to help your parents, and you’ll take less showers, but it’s really cool stuff that you’ll see and the anchorages are beautiful. It’s good if you have a kayak or a paddle board so can explore the places and maybe snorkel or scuba dive so you can see the fish.

KATYA: Be prepared for the best and the worst and get comfortable with yourself and the world. After a while you give up caring what you look like. PETER: is that good or bad? KATYA: It’s a good thing because you get to know yourself better, so you’re more open and honest.

Kids have a way of being brutally honest, and these guys cell ’em as they see ’em. These are some really special kids, and I was honored to hear their insights and get a few clear snapshots into cruising life from a different  perspective. A big thanks to Sean, Sarah, Raquel and Katya! There are probably 20 – 25 interesting, intelligent and engrossed cruising kids here at the moment – I wish we could have included every perspective.  Hopefully these few will give a good snapshot of the voyaging life from a kid’s perspective.

Creative Art Session
Creative Art Session

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