Transiting Down the Coast with a Toddler


I wouldn’t say we are cruising yet. So far we are really just transiting, rarely spending more than one night in a place and averaging 100+ miles every two days. A day of rest and boat jobs, sometimes just a day of boat jobs, alternates with days or nights of travel. We have been travelling at night quite a bit which has its pros and cons. On the plus side Fynn sleeps during the nights, and gets to run some steam off during the day, and it is easier on Kyber. On the downside, it is tiring on everyone and the next day is a bit of a right off. Sleep has been a bit elusive as we are often anchored in the swell and pitch and roll all night. Thankfully Fynn tends to sleep through even the wildest rides, but then she might wake up in a calm anchorage for unknown toddler reasons. Basically I feel tired all the time.


This constant on-the-go and get things done is very hard on me. Most of our landfalls have been streams of to dos- get groceries, find laundry, find Internet, find boat parts, arrange repairs, etc. Fynn gets dragged along as we work through the challenges of finding stuff in an unknown city without a car. Of course by age two she has her own agenda – find stuff to climb on, run down hills, eat snacks… it can feel very frustrating at times when we are time constrained and have very different to do lists. I find myself stressed out way more than I did at home, where a 20-minute walk to the store 5 minutes away is irrelevant.


It is also harder living on the boat as we tick away the miles. I spend most of my day below decks with Fynn, keeping her entertained, keeping her company, taking her to the toilet or just helping her stay upright as the boat rolls beneath her. I feel like I have missed out on most of the trip down, seeing only the familiar wall of Asunto’s interior. I crave time to myself to read a book or just watch the horizon. Often I feel nauseous and tired, which is probably compounded by my second pregnancy. By the time Fynn is asleep around 8pm I too am exhausted and head off to bed.


Fynn is naturally a very busy, active and independent toddler. She would hands down rather be climbing a playground than anything else. She is also headstrong and I certainly haven’t found the most effective parenting strategy for our current situation. At home we would just go outside- go for a walk or the playground. Or we might go and visit friends or go swimming, all of the time filling activities that I took for granted. On the few days that we have been on a beach life was certainly easier. Fynn has heaps of fun playing in the sand and swimming around or going for a ride on the paddleboard. She can easily spend hours at this without it being overly challenging for anyone. So of course when I feel like I can’t cope I try to remind myself that this state is transient and it will certainly be easier for the months in the Baja. But then I think of Hawaii and Alaska with a toddler and a newborn and I panic again and wonder what the hell I am doing.


I also wonder if parents cruising with toddlers have the same challenges, or if I just am no good at coping. Of course I have read people say it can be difficult at times, but is this code for total break down and want to go home? Or difficult as is ‘sigh, well that was tough’; I would like to know if I am alone in this. Kolby and I discussed my expectations of the trip last night. I think that I hadn’t really given these two months of transiting enough thought. I mostly had them written off as I dreamed of playing in the Sea of Cortez. I didn’t expect it to be particularly easy, but I certainly hadn’t taken into account the effect of the constant swell, which effectively puts Fynn’s independence level around zero, a state that frustrates both of us. Luckily Fynn herself is a pretty happy sailor, who never gets seasick. This trip certainly isn’t nearly as hard on her as it is on me. She loves seeing Mom and Dad all the time, and thinks dolphins passing by are the most amazing things. But she can pick up on my current state and we can certainly get into a bit of a downward spiral, which is something I am trying to work on. Being totally honest I feel disappointed in myself for not having better control over my emotions. I need to find some balance and some peace and start to enjoy whatever the day throws at me. I need to remember to breathe.


Note: I wrote this right when we reached San Deigo, and it is an accurate reflection of how I felt after a month moving down the coast. Now, after resting in San Deigo for the last week, I feel completely recharged and the author of the above feels like a stranger. This will be nice to remember the next time I feel wiped out- a week of rest and then I am back at it!