The removal van is booked. Boxes are being packed. Clothes, books, cooking utensils are being sorted according to whether they will go on the boat or go into storage. Carina has been cleaned inside and out, and she’s waiting for us to move back home.
We spent last weekend on board. It was the first time the girls had been aboard since our return to land in early October. They have both grown up so much in the past six months. Lily is now four and Katie is two and a half.
Our six months back on land had had an interesting effect on the girls. They vaguely remembered Carina, but they were very unsure of themselves at first. They didn’t know how to move about – they were cautious and nervous going up and down the companionway, and kept asking me where they could go and what they could do. But they were also terribly excited about sleeping on board and, although we arrived at the marina in mid-afternoon, they wanted to go to bed straight away! With our duvets still in the house, we were sleeping in sleeping bags that night, and that first afternoon the girls set up their bags on the floor and decided to take a rest there!!
The day was spent exploring the boat and getting to know her once again. Since we were last on board Katie has been potty trained and the novelty of using the heads was quite something. She found the differently-shaped toilet bowl most intriguing! They scrambled and gamboled around the boat for the afternoon, growing in confidence as the hours passed. We left the marina and crossed the road over to the beach, where we lay on the warm sand and dabbled in a bit of rock pooling. Back on board, Katie made some profound statement about the moon, and Lily marveled at the silver-bellied mullet swimming under our hull.
I’d like to have given the girls more opportunities to be on board before we move on properly but, alas, there hasn’t been the time. So this weekend, despite it being my 40th birthday (yikes!), we will dedicate ourselves to packing up the house, and a week from tomorrow we’ll move back home to Carina. I can’t wait. Being on board twice in the past few weeks has been so lovely, so enticing, that I’m almost counting the minutes.
Julian and I are daily hatching short, medium and long-term plans. There’s a lot of work to be done – new rigging, new sails, and anti-fouling. But our plans are moving in the right direction. Now, if we can just convince the sun to keep shining….