|Family photo on the beach in Navadra, Fiji earlier in the season.|
Merry Christmas from the Shaw family a.k.a. the Fluenta Crew!
It is such a pleasure as Christmas approaches to pause and contemplate the blessings of friends and family. We have covered many miles this year - from NZ to Canada (by plane) and from NZ to Fiji and back to NZ (by sailboat). The ups and downs of this journey are on our blog (sv-fluenta.blogspot.ca), so we will just give a few details here.
In May, during a beautiful passage from NZ to Tonga, we turned left and went upwind to Fiji instead. The gift of that decision was two-fold: we reminded ourselves that we always have the capacity to choose a new course based on intangibles like friendship and intuition, and we spent most of the following six months in convoy with as many as six other kid-boats, giving Victoria and Johnathan the gift of the company of kids their age (not to mention a group of like-minded folks for the parents to socialize with as well!) Together we explored the remote islands of the Lau Group, the bustle of the Fijian cities, and the beautiful anchorages of the Yasawas and Mamanucas. We also explored the more subtle terrain of connection, trust, history and stories.
Since leaving Canada in 2012, our family has now spent more than three years with each other 24/7. There are times that it is a tight fit aboard Fluenta, but this is outweighed by the richness of family experience. Victoria (12) loves reading, baking and decorating cakes, camping, and sketching sailboats. Johnathan (10) loves reading, playing with Lego, climbing trees, and climbing the rigging of sailboats. Benjamin (2) loves reading, playing with Johnathan's Lego, helping Victoria decorate cakes, and in general investigating anything that moves, turns, beeps, or flashes on a sailboat. Both big kids love playing Minecraft, especially when other boat-kids come over to "double". More and more, Victoria and Johnathan are able to assist us with our daily tasks, from grinding winches, checking the radar for squalls and traffic, and steering a compass course, to electrical troubleshooting, hydraulic maintenance, and occupying their ever-busy little brother.
In this season of gift giving, I am struck by the generosity of friendships, both recent and long-cherished, nearby and far-flung. It is in sharing of ourselves, from the mundane offering of tools from one another's toolboxes and supplies from our cupboards, to the profound exchange of our hopes, fears, and dreams, that we recognize our common humanity and form community. Throughout the year, we have enjoyed the blossoming of new relationships as well as the renewal of long-standing ones. It is this gift of connection that prompts us to take a moment to pause and express this sentiment: from the woven mats on the floors of Fijian huts to the beautifully appointed houses of our friends and family in Canada and NZ, we have been welcomed and loved. Through our friends and family, we have been nurtured in body and soul, and we are thankful.
The miles we travel are long, but the connections that span them can be instantaneous. We are grateful that you have been a part of our journey, and from our home to yours, we wish you the blessings of this season: Hope, Joy, Peace, and most importantly, Love.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Max, Elizabeth, Victoria, Johnathan, and Benjamin
At 12/23/2015 8:40 PM (utc) SV Fluenta was 35°15.72'S 174°06.83'E