Looking back to when we were settled, in UK, Cornwall, two little cherubs Lola and Isla – 3 and 6 at this point. So life had been very routine, doing the playgroup/ schooling thing, with endless appointments with specialists for Isla. Although the appointments were supposed to be supportive and positive for Islas’s development, we felt they were negative and depressing for us and just reminded us how things were so different. So for a break, we found ourselves escaping onboard our boat Spirit of mystery to enjoy parts of summertime sailing the coast of Cornwall, participating in local regattas and holidays to the Isles of Scilly with friends. Life seemed so simple while onboard, bringing us a sense of freedom I guess with quality family time.

Spirit of Mystery is a very special boat, she’s handcrafted in larch on oak by locally skilled traditional boat boulders, solid as can be with giant oak beams running through her interior, as if cradling us to keep you from harm, keeping us safe in any weather. We say she’s a small boat with a big heart that feeds the soul. Although she looks old she was only 7 years and felt lucky to have to benefit of a traditional but new boat. We were the sconed owners and while ours we made endless adjustments to the interior to suit us as a family, to keep the girls safe and food out of sight for Isla – even then. She had no luxuries as such, but found we had what we needed – only a cold hand pump water-tap, we’d heat water on the gas stove or the little log burner that we’d load with driftwood we’d collected keeping us warm and dry down bellow whatever the weather and also cook on it from time to time making the most of the heat.

This simple way of life is a choice we make, looking at it as life education for the girls, teaching them that sometimes less is more and we really don’t need much to be happy and comfortable. They have been born into this world which we feel is very materialistic today and we like to step back from that a little teaching them different ways of life. With the simple skills learned they will grow up to be very adaptable which we feel is important in this fast-changing world. Living onboard a boat is the most economical way of living which is also another great life skill to teach our children. So as time passed Isla slowly achieved her goals, which meant a lot fewer appointments and we found ourselves managing OK. We’d always known that when Isla reached 5 her insatiable hunger would kick in, so with this in mind we needed to make the most of life on board our little boat while we still could and have some more adventure in our lives, not knowing what might be round the corner. So by this time, we were able to venture that bit further, then sold our house and moved full time living aboard.

While Isla was a baby we had a picture of the future in our head of being housebound! – but we seem to have found a way – I admit, it’s all a bit harder with a child with PWS and sometimes I wonder why we do these things! we settle and then we find ourselves needing to do more exciting things again!. While living on board we’d follow the winds and tides to coastal ports exploring new places ashore, there’s always interesting folk to meet with a story to tell. We’d also meet other fellow sailors traveling in the same direction as us following the same winds from time to time. We’d start our days with the home schooling then we’d be ready for adventure. We’d always scout out the local parks where we ‘d be guaranteed to find other nippers to hang out with. Our provisions were bought at the local markets, which is always an experience in its self. We’d carry everything back to the dingy, with a short dingy ride out to the boat on anchor. The girls like to row their little inflatable boat they have and go on little adventures together, always close by, off the beach, around the boat or visit friends to a neighboring boat. We’d love to swim whenever we could – off the beaches, within sand dunes or off the boat whatever might have suited us at the time, always keeping in mind the changing of the tides.

We’d often cook on the beach where we’d spread out, enjoying our surroundings and connect with nature. Lola’s favourite thing to do was to build fairy houses and dens. Isla’s very tactile and loves getting messy with the sand and of course lots of swimming and family games too. Remembering these good times has inspired us to do a similar thing again, but on our land yacht exploring around New Zealand. So we keep going, in-between craziness of life we plan our next project!

We realise that sometimes our adventures have to stop, I think this is part of the drive that keeps us going – Live for the moment as nobody knows what the future holds. I feel when times get tough – love always pulls us through and keeps us going : ) Where there is love there is a strength.