Some think our family is a crazy bunch and after 18 years, I am beginning to question my own sanity with our latest adventure. Traveling the world with my wife and 7 kids on a 45 foot catamaran will be no easy feat, especially when my only other boating experience consists of driving a 30 foot boat of an RV across Canada for 2 months. Will the stories from this insane idea be those of some National Lampoon vacation or of cabin fever filled monotony as we sail the pacific for for the next 12 months? How will my 11 month old handle being tethered to the boat? How will my 4 teenagers manage life away from text messaging and internet connections? Will my wife be able to find any quiet moments to herself? Will we encounter any storms on the seas? There are so many questions that we will find the answers to throughout our trip as we embark on yet another adventure, more outlandish than ever before.
The Schafer’s may not be your typical family. We are an adventurous bunch that have had a dream for over 8 years to go on a long sailing trip with our entire crew (family). We have taken some two and three month adventures in the past, but this will be our biggest and longest one yet. Our crew consists of 9, parents Norm and Kirsten along with 7 kids from 18 to 0. As we embark, we have Alyssa (18), Jaeden (16), Dailin (14), Orin (12), Eli (9), Teyauna (4) and Zakary (11 months). With college and other impending pursuits , it’s time to start this adventure if we are to include all 9 of us. As a result, 2013 is going to be our Sailing Adventure. The youngest, Zak, will probably require the most energy and work as we have to baby proof the boat and figure out laundry and biodegradable diaper options (no sense in storing smelly garbage on-board).
Our sailing map illustrates the many countries that may be part of our itinerary in the coming year. The first 4 months will consist of getting financially, physically and mentally prepared as we sail down the California (and Mexico?) coast. We must wait for Polynesia’s hurricane season to be over in April before completing the 12 month adventure that will take us to dozens of islands in the South Pacific. Our big 25 day (plus or minus a few days) Pacific crossing will take us to the Marquesas Islands before we continue on to islands like French Polynesia’s Tuamotu and Society (Bora Bora, Tahiti) Islands. From there we may see Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, Samoa, Wallis and Fatuna (French Speaking), Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia before continuing on to the Great Barrier Reef and Australia. The islands we encounter may be anywhere from uninhabited to popular visitor destinations.
View Schafer Family of 9 Sailing Adventure in a larger map
But who really knows where our family will go? Our itinerary is purposefully flexible, as this is an adventure and no true adventure has a rigid timeline or itinerary. We are on a quest for incredible experiences that will not only bring our family closer together but that will also provide us with some incredible memories that will last a lifetime. These experiences will be shared through this Blog, our videos and social media.
People ask me, “What will your kids be doing for school?”, “How will you keep them from getting behind?”. My answer is quite simple. Schooling this year will not be based rigidly on textbooks and tests, but rather on subjects such as scuba diving, marine biology, french immersion, linguistics, physical education, celestial navigation, astronomy, physics, classic literature (Robinson Crusoe, Carry on Mr. Bowditch, Dove, Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island), music, photography, film making, video editing, human psychology, creative writing (blogs), fishing, survival skills, food preparation, food storage and so many more real life skills.
Our adventure is about to begin in January 2013, only days away! We encourage you to share this blog with others who you think would be interested in joining us for the adventure. Subscribe to this blog to be updated with all of the latest news on what our crew is up to as we fulfill a dream and set sail for the South Pacific. Who knows, maybe you’ll feel the rolling waves, hear the beating rain on the sails or even see the setting sun dipping below the sea as you join us on this real life adventure.