Eleanor turned 3 in March, and I was just thinking about when she took her first pensive steps on Caprica’s teak sole. It’s hard to believe that she has almost 5,000 nautical miles under her belt already. With two summer cruises to Maine, one to Cape Cod, and maybe Bermuda in 2020 leanor will have a few stories to share for show and tell.
During that first summer, Eleanor and was on deck for a near capsize and a breaking wave over the bow. She loved the near capsize but was genuinely angry at the surprise whitewater in the cockpit that engulfed her. Thanks to the Sea Swing, courtesy of our friend Reg, Eleanor spent countless hours safe, secure and on deck with us as we first navigated New England. She watched the sunsets over the North Atlantic as we pushed up the Eastern Seaboard, waved to gulls, pointed at the stars and rampaged down below while Caprica heeled.
During the second summer, she sailed to Cape Cod, swam for the first time in the Great Salt Pond of Block Island and drove the dingy around Onset Bay. We were known as “those people with the little kid that drives the dingy,” in various harbors. We were sometimes approached in town by people that would say “I know you. You have the little girl! We saw her (insert: climbing, playing or running on deck).” Eleanor explored the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, and Cuttyhunk Island. We built cairns, climbed “mountains,” disrupted one noble speech on the 4th of July and ransacked one particular ice cream shop.
At sea, she has seen sharks, whales, turtles, seals and a few UMOs (underwater mystery objects). She has experienced gales, storms and rock-strewn coastlines enshrouded in heavy fog.
Outside as she walks the pier, Eleanor stops along the way to survey the nature and beauty that surrounds our home. She watches for the lone loon crying out across the pack ice or the rosy tips of dawn caressing the treetops. She admires the osprey and eagles and wonders where the diving wood ducks go.
Sometimes we lay at night in the warm salon and stare through the hatches at the moon or the distant stars. “Luna,” she says excitedly and points to the full moon. Her arms comes back to her lap, and she continues to stare at the bright moon with a fulfilled smile on her face.
Eleanor is brave beyond words, strong, intelligent, kind, persistent and full of curiosity. She is having a different type of childhood and is surrounded by a loving family and an ever-present framily. She’s learning life lessons, adventuring and developing genuine skill sets.
So when people ask us about how it is raising a child aboard, the answer’s easy: it’s the most fulfilling, exciting, beautiful, and amazing adventure we’ve had aboard. With 5,000 miles of proof so far, Eleanor is living a life that is less ordinary that is preparing her for a wild world in which she will be able to navigate (we hope) with ease. And at times when things get tough, we hope she remembers that she always has a home with the sea.