Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving an ocean apart

Eloise and I enjoyed Thanksgiving day today in San Leandro with my mom, brother, and his family.  Lemon sage turkey, homemade wild rice bread, cashew pea salad, etc.  Brian celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday on the island of Wallis (of Wallis and Futuna) with Jeff Ault his friend and crew member.  They ate a pressure cooker meal of chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions, etc.  The recipe was taken from Michael Greenwald "The Cruising Chef" page 65. 
We are very far apart and yet I am incredibly thankful that Brian is safe and has all that he needs to make the repair to the forestay that broke while at sea a few days ago.  A broken forestay can sometimes lead to a dismasting or worse.  But all it resulted in so far was an uncomfortable motorboat ride to an unplanned stop on a tropical island in the Pacific. 
The consistent prayer I and my family have prayed for this passage is that Brian will have everything he needs for whatever he encounters.  So far that has been the case.  For example, the ship computer crashed.  That's the way he communicates.  But thanks to my mom asking me about it, while I was in New Zealand  I loaded backup software on our laptop to allow Brian to use that computer for emailing while at sea.  Without that, he would have had nothing.  As it is communication has continued uninterrupted. 

Here in Santa Cruz, Eloise is learning new words every day.  I'm working a little bit to help my mom write a curriculum she's been hired to put together.  Otherwise, Eloise and I are taking walks, re-connecting slowly with friends, and starting to get organized to move in to the dome up the hill from my mom.  Eloise misses Brian and her Kiwi Nana and Papa.  She talks about them, looks at their pictures in a flip book I put together, and watches the videos Brian made of him saying hi to her.  And it looks like another four weeks minimum until we're reunited.  This is HARD.  I don't like it at all.  I guess Brian has it harder.  At least I'm not rocking around having to repair things, AND I get to have Eloise to snuggle with.

Here's one photo.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Brought to you by the letter "b"

The last month of our lives can be outlined with words starting with "B". Incidentally these words are all the first of Eloise's word repertoire.

B is for Boat, Buoy, and Bye Bye (or "bo" "booya", and "bah bah" as Eloise says). Four weeks ago we were cleaning the boat, buying food for the boat, and doing chores and maintenance on the boat, as well as enjoying time aboard knowing that it was our last liveaboard time for a while. Musket Cove Bay and Vuda Point Marina were the key locations of these activities. Both of those were full of buoys. Every time we passed them in the dinghy, Eloise pointed and got excited. We would tell her they were buoys. Soon we heard an excited "boo ya" each time we passed one.

B is for Baa and Ball, other new words Eloise learned immediately upon arriving for a full 10 days of kiwi fun visiting John and Annette, fishing, packing, obtaining navigational charts, and playing with new toys. She learned about sheep and happily pointed and baaed at them when we passed by.

And again, B is for bye bye. It was sad to say good bye to the life of a threesome aboard. Even harder to say good bye to John and Annette (Nana and Papa -maybe the 10th and 11th words Eloise every learned) in New Zealand, and hardest of all to say good-bye to Brian at the airport when he returned to Fiji. It's been a sad separation. Every day, Eloise asks to see the videos Brian made of himself for her. she runs to the computer points and signs, "daddy". Brian is also sad without his girls and is busy busy (another B word) working with Jeff, his friend and crew member, preparing to head offshore for the month journey to Hawaii.

But luckily there are new good things on this end in Santa Cruz. Eloise is getting to sit on her Ama's lap, play with her cousin Elijah, swing on swings, slide on slides, and explore.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Three weeks since my last posting! We had two weeks of mostly hard work in the Lautoka area and are now in New Zealand for a fast trip to visit Nana and Papa Carr. Eloise has quickly learned how to say Nana and Papa and asks for them many times during the day. She is having a language explosion. She isn't learning any new signs (partially because I don't know any more words to teach her) but also partially because she is so busy copying words and noises to learn them. 'Brrrm brrm' is my favorite one. She has used it for cars, motor noises, and her stroller. "yoyo" (yogurt) is a favorite of Eloise's. She learned it yesterday.

I'm including some of my favorite pictures from the past month.

Leslie, delightfully sweet boy from Ono. His father disappeared a few years ago in his fishing boat en route from the capital city of Suva Brian and I in our Tongan outfits dressed for church on Ono Island.

Brian and I in Fijiian clothes on Sunday on Ono Island

Eloise signing 'baby' romping in her fuzzy pajamas before bedtime.

Eloise and I getting ready to dinghy out to Nomad

Bubu (which means Grandma and is pronounced, "boomboo") Tara who taught me to weave a mat for Eloise. It has her name woven into it! It still smells like the cooking fires in Tara's house.