Life presents itself with opportunities and coming to visit the Morrin family on the final weeks of their three-year adventure afloat Rafikki, was one that I knew I could not pass up.
As I embarked upon this trip with my 18-year-old daughter Emily, I realized that this was indeed a trip that would be out of my comfort zone. I’ve always been someone who is up for adventure; excited to expand my horizons as I learn about different cultures and environments. The idea of living on a boat for a week to many would sound easy and fun; but for me (an uncomfortable swimmer who cringes at the idea of submersing her head under water and isn’t at all at ease in confined spaces), this was a step into a world unknown and foreign. But I was ready for the challenge.
My husband always reminds me that I am indeed fortunate to have friends that I can truly call life-long ones. Robin Morrin is one of those friends; we go back a long way! So when I broached Robin and Ingrid with the suggestion that Em and I might join them for a week of sailing, the response was a resounding ‘yes’! I was excited, intimidated and exhilarated all at once!
We arrived at night and were greeted by Robin and his eldest daughter Katharine at the Marsh Harbour airport. Following a short taxi and dingy ride and we were aboard Rafikki IV where the open arms of Ingrid and Alexandra welcomed us.
It was night time so getting our bearings to the geographical environment was not a possibility. Getting a fast tutorial about boat life from Robin, Ingrid and the life-saving necessity. Everything from how to use the bathroom to life saving devices, were quickly taught to us before we were served a welcoming dinner.
Upon waking, we were overwhelmed with the surrounding beauty. The colour of the water and the warmth of the breeze were a lovely change from the snow and cold temperatures we had left behind in Kingston.
Each day we learned something new. We learned how to read navigation systems and how to calculate the most effective ways to use solar, electrical and water supplies. We learned how to tie a variety of knots, how to drive the dingy and how to make dinner in confined quarters. Most days started with breakfast and a discussion of the plan for the day. Charts were set and off we went to literally sail the oceans blue.
There were many highlights of course. Just the sheer experience of being aboard the boat and getting a glimpse of what life is like afloat was an education in itself. Added to this however were visits to small islands in the Abacos with their own unique flora, fauna and animals. One day we were searching for beautiful sea turtles and the next we were feeding the swimming pigs and piglets on No Name Cay.
There were lots of surprises! I was sincerely surprised at how quickly Em and I adapted to boat life and hopefully the Morrins were also pleased with our assimilation to this new way of life. I actually slept on the boat and swam in the ocean and both Em and I got used to one minute showers! It was amazing how we could live on so little. It made us often reflect on how overly abundant our lives at home are.
One of the best surprises however was an unexpected foam fight on the beach. Robin, Ingrid and the girls had purchased some huge canisters of foam in South America and had saved them for several months to surprise us! And it worked. It was indeed a highlight filled with laughter and joy!
We came away from this trip with a deep appreciation for the commitment that Ingrid and Robin have made for the past three years to the education and life experience of their children. They worked tirelessly on their children’s education, home-schooling each day. What an education it has been for all of them. Katharine and Alexandra have grown into mature, respectful, grateful and adventurous young women. They welcomed us with open arms and took the time to teach us about the life they have lived on Rafikki.
Ingrid never wavered in her kindness. I can truly say that she is one of the most giving people I have ever met and this trip secured a bond that was always there.
Robin, O Captain! This trip will be added to the many memories we have of growing up together. How fortunate we are to have the opportunity to continue our lives in parallel to one another. Our families have a wonderful fondness for each other and I am so grateful.
Thank you Robin, Ingrid, Katharine and Alexandra for such an amazing week. We love you all and we look forward to many more adventures together!
Martha and Emily Thomson