Thursday, 11 September 2014

Calm Anchorage in Penrhyn


I am writing to you from a calm, flat anchorage on the east side of Penrhyn atoll. The moon is full, the sky is clear, the wind is calm, and the surf is pounding on the reef outside: we are in yet another beautiful spot, this time in front of a village where 50 people live.

We weighed anchor (after banana pancakes for breakfast ... our "regime" is passing ripe all at once) in the late morning, and used the high sun to watch for coral on a fairly straightforward passage across the reef. Many (but not all) of the shallow areas were marked on the chart, and most had some kind of local marker indicating one edge (typically a piece of rebar stuck into the coral with a coconut pierced on top). I drove and Max spent the 2 hrs on the foredeck.

For once, we are anchored in fairly shallow water (<20 ft), and the bottom is reasonably clear of coral heads. The village is pretty & colourful, and we are looking forward to going ashore tomorrow. If the winds stay light (currently <10 kts from the East) it will be a perfect Trickle spot. We have already been welcomed by the pastor, his brother & wife, and daughter, who stopped on their way back to the village after snorkeling for oysters all day (and told us the many sharks we had seen wouldn't bother us...). They invited the children to go to the local school tomorrow, but we will wait a day or so on that one. It is nice to be here long enough that we don't need to do everything the first day!

We are starting to get into the cruising routine! We had another family movie night tonight - this time it was E.T., which we watched in our cockpit (did I mention that it is lovely and flat, calm, gentle breeze, and the moon is full? It is on nights like these that my heart is full as well.) The kids loved it, and since we were not much more than their age when we first watched it, we loved it as well.

I am continuing to read a lot on home schooling, un-schooling, how children learn, etc. The more I read, watch my kids, and think back on my own education (what I remember and what I don't) the more convinced I am that letting them take the lead on what they are going to learn (while engaging with them in what they are actually doing, rather than disconnecting and just doing my own boat chores) is going to be the most productive (and richest) approach. As I have absorbed this concept, the boat has become more peaceful, and the kids have begun to ask more questions. Case in point: I have little (read "no") interest in video games, but since I have been taking this advice and actually asking V&J to show me what they have been building in Minecraft, not only am I amazed at the creativity, imagination, persistence, resourcefulness, etc that I am seeing, but I am also starting to hear more about the books they are reading, their thoughts on the world around them, their questions, etc, etc. Now that they have both read the Ranger's Apprentice series (J has read it twice), their Minecraft worlds are full of medieval castles of every description. We have a school schedule posted on the wall, but I am still not sure what following it is going to look like for us... perhaps we spent too much time in Mexico, but it always feels like we will start following that schedule "manana"! In the meantime, we are learning about world geography, Greek mythology, fish biology, engineering, electricity, art, sewing, metal work, etc, etc. Having a baby who just learns every day, regardless of what I might be doing to "teach" him drives this point home and keeps me humble. Kids are born to learn, and they absorb their environment; my job seems to be to make that environment as peaceful and rich with possibility as possible. I must say that I was unprepared when we left two years ago for my own journey around education (read "I thought it would be easier than this"...) but I am convinced that it will be worth it in the end (and that they will have learned what they needed to know along the way - this is the part that needs the convincing).

I will end with a quote from a source that I can't remember ...

~~ "Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them it has always been big stuff."

As ever, thanks for listening to our stuff!
Much love,
At 2014/09/10 3:07 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 08°57.50'S 157°55.72'W
At 2014/09/10 3:07 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 08°57.50'S 157°55.72'W

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