My little boy could have started school last year, but his birthday being early March, meant that he would be one of the youngest kids in his class all the way through his schooling. So I decided to hold him back a year so that he will now be one of the oldest kids in his class all the way through his schooling. What worried me though, was HOW WAS I GOING TO COPE with another year at home with my bored little boy!! Here he is helping his dad on our land.
He had also spent the previous years in a pre-school with his 6 month older cousin, tagging along with everything he did…. so now his cousin was going off to school, I worried how my shy boy would make friends. I discovered that one of the girls in his sisters class (2 years older) had a little brother, who would be starting school with my son…. so I decided I needed to make friends with this family.
We had seen each other at various birthday parties, and I knew where they lived, but that was all I knew about them. I invited them around for a mid-summer swim in our pool. So Kylie and the kids arrive at our house and the kids are all abuzz getting their swimmers on, while Kylie and I try to start a conversation - you know those mother conversations where there is very little eye contact, because you are smothering sunscreen on your kids at the same time.
Within 5 minutes of their arrival, Kylie tells me that they are taking the kids out of school for 6 months to take them on an adventure. Now often in Australia people do that, and go caravanning (kinda like an RV that you tow behind your car) around Australia. So I assumed Kylie was going on a caravan adventure….no she says “we have a boat, and we are going sailing” …. well as you can imagine that stopped this little boat girl in her tracks.
Poor Kylie was then hit with a barrage of questions…
What sort of boat? how big?
Where is your boat?
Have you sailed before?
Have you sailed with the kids?
BLAH BLAH BLAH …. like I said, poor Kylie .
We had only just met, but eventually I let up on the questions long enough to say “you know we lived on a boat for 10 years in the Caribbean right?”
She had no idea, but needless to say we had plenty in common. I had been expecting an afternoon chat about “mum" things, swimming lessons, dance lessons, sunscreen, pre-schools…. but I got so much more !
So 6 months later we saw them off on their big adventure. I eagerly awaited FB posts from them every step of the way. They sailed all the way up the East Coast of Australia to the gorgeous Whitsunday Islands and back again to where we live in Coffs Harbour..... approximately 1000 miles and another 1000 miles back again.
They had been sailing throughout the Pacific islands before they had kids, but they hadn't taken the kids sailing before. They were not sure how the kids would cope, but of course they adapted quickly. Here is a photo of their son on the foredeck of their boat, coming into Nara Inlet in the Whitsunday Islands - I recognized it from anchoring there with my parents 40 years ago! (NB - see the cockatoo in the photo?)
The Whitsundays Islands are a stunning paradise. A cluster of islands all with their own unique personalities. If you ever come to Australia, they are a MUST VISIT.
They explored the islands for the winter months, which are lovely and warm in winter as they are so far north.
I have similar photos of me on the Whitsunday's beaches when I was only about 7.
The kids learnt to snorkel off the dinghy.
Even seeing real starfish in the wild, on the Great Barrier Reef. That is the sort of starfish that inspired my Starfish Tunic all those years ago.
Here is Kylie wearing one of my Starfish Tunics on the beach up there. She later commented "I seriously lived in these whilst we were away! So nice for summer."
I love this photo Kylie sent to me, of her in our Caribbean Dream sarong.... look how amazingly WHITE that sand is.
How cute is this photo of the 2 kids in the hammock, taken from the top of the mast. Funny thing, is that if you zoom in you see that they are both wearing my sarongs too.... so even the kids loved them!
On the sail back home, they stopped in at a place called Hervey Bay. Now this is a place where thousands of whales migrate to. Every year they swim 2000 miles up the coast of Australia from Antartica, to have their babies in the warm, protected waters of this stunning bay. There were whales everywhere!
What an amazing experience for the kids to be this close to these incredible creatures!
This trip is something those kids are going to remember for the rest of their lives. My parents took me on a few similar trips before I was 10, and those sailing adventures certainly shaped my whole life.
I love my new boat friends. Thanks Kylie for inspiring me. Now I just got to figure out how I can save up to get another boat and give my kids a taste of adventure too!
One love x
P.S. if you wanted to read more of Kylie's adventures, click here
to access her blog.