Spring cleaning in progress for imminent downsizing…

Obelix may be a fat bastard, but there is no way we could fit all the stuff we’ve accumulated over the years (and that will mainly have lived through the time of their negotiation*) on board. Nor is it our intention to keep things for later, when we decide to return to landbound life. Indeed we want to spread our wings and sails as wide and free as possible, not being pressed by this idea of a return. Where and when, anyway?

*approximate recollection and translation of a quote from Yasmina Reza’s l’Homme du Hasard.

So, we’ve toughened up, and armed with a ruthlessly selective mindset, have gone through our belongings, identified the must-keep, and accepted to let go of the rest, deciding for each item the best “life-after-us” path, using all means we could think of to dispose of them: friends, neighbours, garage sale, TradeMe, “Mamans à Auckland” Facebook group, charity shops, bucket full of free stuff left at the end of the driveway – firm believers of the reuse/recycle motto, our rubbish bins have only taken the strict minimum, though I wish I had lived by the refuse/reduce part of the hymn even more!

Carrying out our “empty-the-house-everything-must-go” mission is not without drawbacks. We get dizzy, hit moments of utter doubt, sky-rocketing stress, and record-low energy levels, catch ourselves losing patience more, yelling more, postponed a party we were suppose to organise, not to mention the missed milongas, and the fact I caught a cold over the weekend… So definitely not an easy task to part from things that once provided us great comfort and stability, but a necessary one, and how satisfying and liberating to execute a plan drawn out for so long, and feel closer to our dream by the minute!

I can now say that, with our armchair, dining table, chairs, bathroom cabinet, full-length mirror, dresser, chest, piano, and fridge gone, and our beds just about to, we’ve past the point of no return. Did I mention our car decided to give up too? Windscreen to replace, couldn’t be done without changing the whole frame which was too corroded to fit a new windscreen. Too much $, not worth repairing. That’s a sign. The Universe doesn’t want us on the roads but on the sea…

Brunch on Obelix with Paul, Margo and their parents

If I had to pick one thing that we won’t bring on the boat and I will sorely miss, I would say the framed puzzle, pictures, and paintings from siblings that are still hanging on our walls. Runner up is my favourite arm chair (found on the street and refurbished, with the perfect angle and which arms can hold a cup of tea, though not fully horizontal, without letting it slide) I get comfort in the thought it is now taking the sun in the patio of a good home.
Thomas will miss his piano.
Zéphyr will miss his school.
Azur will miss his parents’ big bouncy bed!

The missing piece of the puzzle

What about you? Can you think of something you would miss if moving on a boat?

Celebrating Obelix first times

With a Margaux, Château Marquis De Terme, which was waiting all those years for the right occasion…

  • First cruise on Obelix as a family, just the four of us, for the pleasure.
  • First time without having to go all the way to the marina toilets to pooh.
  • First time communicating on the VHF with another boat (“Cirrus, Cirrus, Cirrus for Obelix, is it you behind us with the yellow spinnaker? Over” […] “Obelix, Obelix, Obelix, for Cirrus, you’re going too fast, stop your engine! Over” Our engine had been off for a long time NDLR).
  • First time anchoring, in a nice little bay (Waikarapupu Bay, on Motutapu).
  • First time getting ashore on Idefix, our grey and yellow dinghy, with a working outboard!
  • First time getting a sight of Obelix from the shore, while taking a walk up the headlands of Motutapu.
  • First time having visitors over for dinner who came and went with their own dinghy.
  • First night aboard while anchored and not moored to a marina deck.
  • First time …, no that wasn’t the first time.
  • First time diving off Obelix, braving the cold water for a morning swim.
  • First mosquito inside (and God knows the damage it did on Azur who got bitten all over his legs!)
  • First time cooking pancakes aboard Obelix.
  • First time having breakfast in the half open cockpit.
  • First Father’s day celebrated on the water.
  • First time rehearsing lines (acting) while lying on the deck in the sun.
  • First handstands on the flush deck (still hard to find one’s balance though).
  • First time letting the kids row the dinghy on their own (“I can’t believe we’re doing this!” Azur). We had a blast watching them row, get to the beach, get off and pull the dinghy out of the water. We thought they wouldn’t be able to because the outboard was still on, it is quite heavy, and has no wheels, but they did brilliantly. I later asked Zephyr how they managed and he explained “Team work, and we saved our energy for when the waves were helping us”. They then boarded the Idefix again and made it back to Obelix while adults were having brunch on Goldfinger (our friends’ friends’ boat). We watched them approach Obelix, then stand up to grab the rub rail and pull themselves towards the ladder. Zephyr climbed safely on board, Azur stayed behind and it wasn’t long before he was drifting away as they had forgotten to tie the dinghy. So here was Azur on Idefix, struggling to row in the right direction and Zephyr astern coaching his brother : “Come on Azur, you can do it, believe in yourself!” He was so sure they could manage without adults, he was furious when Thomas finally came to the rescue borrowing Goldfinger’s dinghy to tow Azur & Idefix back to us. The whole scene was so entertaining, we could have let them try longer, but were short of time as everyone wanted to make it back to Auckland before sunset…
  • First time maneuvering a boat back to a marina berth, and I managed to do it in one go without scaring anyone! The sight of Cirrus’ crew as our welcome committee definitely offered me the right psychological support and incentive to perform, I guess.

So, all in all, perfect week-end, perfect weather conditions and perfect friends to share good times with.
Next time we’ll just need to learn to do all the maneuvers without screaming at each other with Thomas, which is absolutely useless as we can’t hear a thing when one is in the cockpit and the other on deck, and frustration and anger are only inferred by our facial expressions which increases the frustration. Better learn sign language so we can actually communicate, and life will be perfect indeed!

Thanks Cirrus’crew for the pictures of Obelix on the water 🙂