Well, I've been feeling a bit like a traitor. This blog started out as travelogue of Nomad and her crew preparing to go off shore and their adventures thereafter. Nomad has safely voyaged about 7 or 8 thousand miles and is tucked into a small bay in the Mahurangi Harbour of New Zealand. So where does that leave this blog? No ocean or boat-related adventures, no blog? I think not.
I've realized that this next chapter of our lives, preparing for a new member of our family that isn't made out of fiberglass, is providing us many similar experiences as did our cruising days. Let me list a few comparisons:
1. Just as going to the specialty boat stores and reading the word "marine" printed on a package immediately increased the price by double, equally true in the world of special "infant" or "maternity" items. For example, even though they weren't even infant or maternity items, I willingly, albeit in a state of shock, paid 50$ for a few bottles of natural/paraben-free shampoo and other products. All for the baby's sake. It was the same with Nomad. If we needed a specific item that other stores didn't sell, plop went the money.
2. GADGETS. Think of boating and think of gadgets. You need this tool, that tool, this monitoring device for the bilge, this other one for your wind speed and direction. But you don't really need all of the gadgets that the marketing people and the cruising magazines say are "must-haves". Really, all you need is a solid sea-worthy hull, a good set of sails and rigging, a way to provide yourself with meals, a good GPS and some paper charts, and off you go. Sure, there's lots more icing you can put on that cake to make it easier but at some point if you keep buying gadgets, you either don't have money to leave the harbor, or you have to buy a bigger boat to put the extra gadgets in.
BABY GADGETS. Ditto the above paragraph, except for the must-haves are the baby, diapers, means of feeding it, cleaning it, clothing it, and a safe way to transport the little thing. Again, there are a plethora of items to be had that claim to (and some actually do) make life with a baby more simpler, but at some point, a person would need to buy a bigger house or garage in order to house all the items "needed" for the small 10 lb. human.
3. The Unknown. In cruising there are many simple unknown things like looking at a pen drawing of an anchorage and its hazards but not knowing what it's really like for our specific boat, the current weather conditions. Reading vague references to anchoring "between the white two story house and the yellow buoy" but knowing that was written three years ago with two hurricane seasons in between is exactly like the many "baby guides" written. A person can read the experiences of others but so much is different for each family. There are the little unknowns like gender, eye color, temperament, etc.
In sailing there are large unknowns also. Hurricanes blow in suddenly, mistakes (very rarely) end boats up on reefs, crew members abandon ship, gadgets malfunction... the list is endless. Entering life from the birth canal immediately exposes each of us to very large unpredictable unknowns. As the captains of our little baby's life it will be our job to be as prepared with gadgets, knowledge, experience, and wise supporters to help him or her navigate into adulthood and all the challenges in between. It's daunting, just as leaving California on a 42 foot boat was daunting. But, with God in the heavens and guiding us we made it. We can only pray the same is true of our next venture.