Afamilyafloat is still afloat

I realize that it has been a very long time since our last post and even more so since a last real update on our life afloat. We are indeed still afloat. Our life afloat, however, has transformed quite a bit since leaving our boat (Shawnigan) in New Zealand for sale, flying back and buying a new one (Malihini) to sail around on. Not only has our location and boat changed, but as our kids have grown older our family dynamic has changed as well.

Let’s first start with the boat change. Our lovely Shawnigan, the Steven’s 40 monohull served us very well and sold in February this year. We sailed many seas, and anchored countless wonderful anchorages with her. As a family of 5 on a 40 foot boat we managed pretty darn well in our opinion. Time aboard during the three years, basically stationary at the dock in New Zealand also served us well, but also lead us to appreciate the space teens desire. It’s different when living at a dock versus out sailing. For some reason the space actually seems smaller, but maybe that’s also because our lives were that of land lubbers, living in a “tiny house” in a damp and cold environment. Don’t get us wrong, we loved many parts about living in New Zealand, but after a few years of damp boat mold building up and time away from family and friends during COVID, it made the most sense to sell Shawnigan in New Zealand and buy a different kind of boat back in the USA .

After months of trying to sort out the best option for our family and find a new boat that suit our needs, we spotted from our online search SV Malihini for sale in Portland, Oregon. Long story short, we made an offer and started the process of surveys and such from New Zealand. We had already listed Shawnigan for sale by owner and then when we realized it might take more time than we had left in New Zealand, Christian sailed her up the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand to leave with a broker in Whangarei/ Marsden Cove. (You can read more about that here) . During all of this, I accepted a nursing position back at UCSF, the kids were accepted at schools, our offer on the new boat was accepted, and we found a place in the San Francisco Bay Area to sail Malihini to and live aboard.

As Christian settled Shawnigan with the broker, we bought Malihini sight unseen. That being said, Christian’s dad did go take a peak at her for us and gave his approval. Christian flew back to the US ahead of us to go retrieve Malihini and sail her down the coast of Oregon and California to her new home in Emeryville. In the meantime, I stayed back in Wellington with the kids, lived in the Campervan “Sharkie” until that sold. Then we stayed in a friend’s Caravan while I finished up work and the kids finished up school.

Looking back, I’m quite amazed that we did all of that. From the end of July, 2021 we made the choice to shift our sailing plans and move back to the States. We shipped our stuff in a container, bought a boat, landed a job, organized school, left a boat to sell with a broker, sold car and camper. Christian did some hardcore sailing of the old boat and new boat, we flew back, saw family and settled on the new boat by mid November, 2021.

And now I introduce to you our lovely new boat, SV Malihini. She’s a Shuttleworth open 35, performance catamaran . For more details, see our updated “our new boat” page. Yes, we switched over to a catamaran, but she’s not your typical one…. We like our boats and most things in our life a bit different, would you expect any less from us?

So here we are, back in the USA, back in San Francisco, but still living afloat. Nina is now 19, working full time and going to a community college part time in Phoenix. Ellamae is now 14, and choose to go to high school out with her Papa in Alabama. When we flew back here she hadn’t seen her Papa for almost 2 full years due to COVID restrictions in New Zealand, so understandably, she wants this time with him and time living on a farm with lots of space: a big change from boat life! So we see her and have an extra cabin for her when she visits on the holidays. Taj is 9, and a little miniature Christian. He’s going to the Berkeley Rose Waldorf school. He enjoys it, but still prefers life outside and can’t wait to go sailing again. Basically, I still have my hands very full with just him and Christian and myself aboard. Christian is working some part time rigging and private boat jobs and getting Malihini dialed to set sail down to Mexico and beyond again. I took a slightly different and quite intense position as a nurse at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in the Pediatric Critical Care Resource team. I’m loving seeing the friendly faces I use to work with before we left in 2015 , meeting so many new ones, and adding a whole new skill set to my nursing repertoire.

When we set off cruising we didn’t really know what we would end up doing. We had somewhat though we would circumnavigate in one go, but as it goes with sailing and life, you go where the wind takes you. We have had so many great adventures so far and our kids have seen so much. Flying back from New Zealand was a hard choice, but we feel it was the right one. It’s our time to work a bit, save money for more sailing, fix the new boat up, spend time close to family and friends, be near(ish) to Nina while she’s in college, support Ellamae as she goes through high school from afar and keep Taj entertained with school and sports. It honestly feels surreal in many ways, and it’s all perfect the way it is.

A few of our farewell wishers.

4 thoughts on “Afamilyafloat is still afloat

  1. Judy

    So glad to read of your adventures and new chapters in your life. We sold, s/v Milagro (she’s in escrow now closing the end of July) so we have moved to our motorhome that’s parked in our son’s yard in Phoenix. Tell Nina if she needs anything, and I’m serious about that, to call us. I think you have our boat card and those phone numbers and emails are still good. Even if she just wants to come visit and go for a swim she is welcome. Enjoy your new lifestyle.



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