I am completely advice'd out. It's time to go. I have been given
advice on how to wash, dress, wear my hair, eat, drink, pack, clean
the toilet, … even sleep. Anything we do that is different from
others is clearly inexperienced, and anything we do that's the same as
others can be improved. The only thing that no-one is giving me advice
on, and the only thing I could really do with advice on, is how to

I've done a bit of research lately, and am coming to realise that not
many people start their sailing career with the Pacific. Many cruisers
sailed as kids, or had an overlap period between work and cruising
when they went sailing on weekends, or joined family members or
friends on yachts for weeks at a time prior to their big adventures. I
don't think they get that really, I don't know how to sail. If Andy
fell overboard, we'd be in trouble.

But no, no-one has anything to offer on that point, in fact there's
just a spooky silence if I mention that I find sailing hard or, worse,
at times terrifying. Sailing is an art, a feeling, a dance, a sport,
just a thing you do, like walking or riding a bike. Come to think of
it, if you were asked to give advice on either of those two things,
what would you say? Just put one foot in front of the other, and stay
upright, it's easy. Just jump on and push and pedal and maintain
momentum and stay balanced all at the same time while also watching
for traffic and pedestrians and dogs and pot-holes. Easy? Try telling
that to a toddler, or a 6 year old.

I do in fact spend much of my time feeling like a toddler, or a six
year old. Standing up is hard, getting dressed is hard, feeding myself
is hard, and hardest of all is that everyone else around me is so damn
natural at all these things that it makes me want to SCREAM. Just like
a toddler, or a six year old. Yes, today I have entire and complete
sympathy for temper- tantrums, however seemingly pointless. On our
last trip I got myself into such a spin that both Andy and I wondered,
at times, if I should simply fly to New Zealand and meet him there.
Temper-tantrums are entirely natural; if any of you reading this are
parents, take a moment next time your child has a meltdown and give
them some credit for trying, just trying, in such a very difficult

I sympathise also with the deep desire that kids have to be good at
things. To be competent, able, even relaxed. To not have to stick your
tongue out and frown with concentration at the simplest of actions.
Some people thrive on learning, the act of of gaining new skills and
knowledge. Not me,- I relish competence,- the act of having gained
those skills, and the ability to execute them well. It doesn't matter
if we talking public speaking, chemistry equations, ski-ing, playing
guitar, or cooking. I don't enjoy being sub-standard. Average is ok,-
I don't need to be a world athlete, but being continually the littlest
kid on the block, and generally a bit rubbish, is hard work. Not
helped by people ruffling you hair and pinching your cheek. Or
offering advice.

That said, when I can bring myself to grow up again, I must concede
that much of the advice has been extremely helpful, and likely other
of it will come in handy sometime in the unforseeable deep blue.
Flushing the toilet with tap water rather than sea when in a marina
has removed the smell completely, short-circuiting the ignition lamp
on the engine starter circuit identified our alternator problem, and a
complete lesson in calibration and use of a sextant means I'm now game
to pitch myself against the GPS. In the coming week, as we prepare to
leave, I'll also be cashing in on advice: covering eggs in vaseline
and rotating them regularly (to keep the yolk far removed from the
shell), boiling and then filling jars before pressure cooking them to
preserve meat, buying spare crocs, shorts, and several tonnes of
sunscreen, and filling our jars of grains with bay leaves to prevent a
weevil invasion. Plus, this weekend I intend to wash our fresh fruit
and veg in chlorine bleach and dry it in the sun before wrapping each
individually in newspaper. We have also been given a fishing lure
guaranteed to find us food us for several weeks, mapping software with
charts for the entire world (that communicates with our GPS and shows
us where we are in case my sextant readings leave something to be
desired), and enough films and audio-books to keep us from speaking to
each other ever again.

Thankfully I can immediately disregard all advice concerning the
importance of cold beers and baking cakes as we lack both a fridge,
and an oven…. and no, I don't want to know how to make Ma's best
crumble in a pressure cooker.

5 thoughts on “Advice

  1. LOVE IT, love it love………. seeing as your heading down-under the phrase, "she'll be right" seems rather apt! besos.

  2. You are not alone in the world of meltdowns. When Felix isn't having one, I am – and we don't even live on a boat.

    I'm not going to give any advice, even though sometime I'm one of those people who does, for good or for worse. That's what consultants do…

    Wishing you all the best on your journey!
    Lots of love –

  3. Hi you two.

    Was going to offer some advice but dont think i will bother after reading your blog.

    Have a safe and fantastic voyage all the best.

    Lots of love to you both Phil & Elaine xx.

  4. loving reading these and imagining your storms and fears and wonders. missing you! hoping the earthquake this morning in chile and resulting tsunami didn't / dont affect you.


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