January 2019: Australia

This is the first edition of Zinc sailing on MUSCAT 7. Welcome! It feels as though we’ve done this before… And we have, in a way, ten years ago, on another boat, without kids. Here’s a Venn Diagram.

January was moving out of our jungle tree house* and onto our floating tiny home. (*thanks Jules, love this description!)

BOAT. MUSCAT 7 was a father’s day present, coincidentally. This time around Dale is blessed to battle mutinies with three of us. Lucky Dale. I think you’ll agree he’s living the dream.

LIFE. After MUSCAT 7 joined our family, we raced to the end of 2018, enduring work deadlines, kindy/school shenanigans, and day surgeries. Between these land-based good times, we spent weekends sailing the Broadwater and south to the Tweed, which is lovely this time of year.

The girls played.

And friends visited.

Some things are different on a boat. For example, enjoying access to the ocean from your living room floor.

But most things remain the same.

HOUSE PACK-UP. We underestimated the work required to move onboard. I was Managing Director Pack-Up and my goal was to minimise – what we take, what we store, what we send to landfill. By Australian standards we live lean, but gosh, after five years in one place, and now there are four of us, we had an inordinate amount of stuff. During January, I handled around 20,000 household items and decided the fate of each one.

Minimising landfill is challenging in a country experiencing a gluttony epidemic; even the op shops have too much stuff and they’re sending excess to landfill. So, off to the car boot sale and facebook marketplace we went. The car boot sale was a hoot. Patrons battled (physically!) over our plant pots, old surfboards and kids’ bikes, but weren’t interested in quality books and kid clothes (until Dale hustled a fire sale on these items). Facebook marketplace was less pleasant, albeit slightly more lucrative. I was trolled for the first time by a gentleman who missed out on my $40 BBQ, and generally learned too much about the lives of strangers.

The girls struggled to choose items to take, store, give-away.

Occasionally I remembered it’s a big task for little people and cut them some slack; here’s the outcome of a strict ‘three-stuffed-toys-each’ policy.

What was left went in here, under our house, tetris style.

BOAT PREP. The boat prep was as challenging as the house pack-up, apparently. Dale was Managing Director Prep and his goal was to point to and measure as many items onboard as possible. Beautiful work Dale, thank you.

Of course there may have been other tasks he managed around wind, solar and engine power and water collection etc., but he will be remembered for his solid pointing.

BOAT. While we worked, MUSCAT 7 hung tight at the marina…

… where, in defiance to the “CAUTION” placard on the dock, Hazel did not wear sensible shoes at any time.


Listening to Michelle and Boy Swallows Universe* kept me sane during the pack-up, and Andre** was a surprise treasure. I made it about half way through How to Change Your Mind, and pushed myself to make it that far. As a result I probably cut poor old Bridge of Clay too early; it didn’t grab me, so I flicked it. The Overstory was a struggle too, but I’m happy I persevered; it’s a clever, magically constructed and important book. (thanks for the recommendations *KT and Haids, and **Anna!)

Willow says she enjoyed the Raina Telgemeier books, especially Sisters, and adored The Alice Stories, which were written by a friend’s sister and are so good.

And these were Hazel’s high rotation hot picks for January.

3 thoughts on “January 2019: Australia

  1. Dale & Jeunesse,
    Its great to hear of your current adventure, with fabulous photos. I agree about Bridge of Clay, still trying to get into it. But looking forward to your next up-date, Regards Martin Grover

  2. Hi Dale and Jeunesse John sent Martin the link to your blog and I have loved reading about your new boat and preparations for the year ahead . What an exciting time for all of you but given your meticulous preparations and the increased comfort of your new boat and two children this time , I am sure it’s going to be different but rewarding . I loved the photos of you all . I have never seen Hazel and I think Willow was about two and a half the last time I saw her at John and Pam’s Place . They must be very excited . Thanks for the heads up on the books . I really do want to read Michelle Obama’s book . Apart from Bridge of Clay , which I haven’t read yet having only recently read The Book Thief , I don’t know the others . The two Books I have really loved in the past year are Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance and Sally Vickers The Librarian . They are both beautifully written but I am biased in favour of both these writers . Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl and Spool of Blue Thread are also worth reading . I have read Isabel Allende’s The Japanese Lover , the first of her books I have read and also The Golden Age by Joan London .She is an Australian writer I had never heard of until I read this poignant book . Am assuming you have read Tim Wintons latest book The Shepherds Hut . He manages to tell a story in such a powerful way because of the way he uses language .
    Anyway enough from me . Hope your Wi Fi works well so you can send lots of updates and keep up with all your reading .Best wishes Anne Grover .

  3. Hi Anne and Martin! We are thrilled to hear from you both and hope all is very well. Thanks so much for your messages. Yes, I’ve started our silly sailing stories again… I love compiling the blog and it was a great record of our last trip, so hopefully it will be this time again. Willow has a page on the blog this time too. It is part of her homeschooling adventure. If you go to the home page it is under the MUSCAT 7 tab, then WILLOW’S STORIES. She is more diligent than me and updates her pages weekly! Thanks Anne for the book notes and recommendations, please keep these coming! I am always on the hunt for new reads. And Dale loves books too. I adore Anne Tyler as well. I read Clock Dance in February and previously loved Spool of Blue Thread. I am going to look up Vinegar Girl and Sally Vickers generally. Also The Golden Age. I haven’t heard of Joan London. Thanks! Best wishes and love from us all. xxx

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