30 October 2017

10 Questions for Delphinius

Paul Thornton, Jayne Eames-Thornton, Lily Eames-Jevons and Sky their dog have been cruising since 2013 aboard SV Delphinus, a Bavaria 44. They started in Croatia, cruising around the Mediterranean for a year before moving through the French Canals up to North France, and around the Baltic. They then sailed to Cape Verde,across the Atlantic, around the Caribbean, and are now on the east coast of Central America. 

Editor's note: Lily, age 12, completed this interview

She says: "We started in 2013, but plan to stop in 2018 and go back to England so I can do my exams. We technically don't have a hailing port. The boat is registered in Hull, Yorkshire, but it's never actually been there. We just keep going, rather than taking our boat back to the UK.  

In 2010, my dad died from a heart problem. A few years later, my mum met Paul, who had been sailing small vessels for a while, but had never actually owned a boat of his own. One day, Mum and Paul went to Scotland for a sailing trip. After that, Paul asked Mum, "Do you want to sail the world with me?"

And that's how it started! Paul sold his house to buy a Bavaria 44 called MyWay, and we flew to Croatia to hop onboard. As we were heading up the French Canal, we renamed our boat "Delphinus", because we're not common cruisers - we are world sailors! ...sort of. We haven't actually made it all around the world yet. But we have made it to the Caribbean Sea from the Adriatic Sea, and Mum and Paul even got married on the Island of Dominica."

You can learn more about their voyage on Lily's Facebook page or blog.

What advice would you give to parents thinking about taking their children cruising? 

Well, first off, don't just think about it! If you have the opportunity standing right in front of you, don't treat it like it's part of the wall. Reach out, hug it tight and don't let go! 

Your kids will thank you for that... as long as you make it fun for them. That's the point of cruising, right? As well is being educational, it's also exciting going to different places and seeing different cultures. "Make it their dream, too" as said in Voyaging with Kids by Behan Gifford, Sara Dawn Johnson and Michael Robertson - which I'd highly recommend all parents read if they're considering taking their kids cruising. It'd loaded with basically everything you could ever need for a successful family cruising trip. Okay, that's a bit of a lie, since you need to learn how to sail first and all, and you can never predict what the weather will be like. So let's just say it gives everything a book about voyaging with kids can offer you. 

What advice would you give to other kids thinking about going cruising?

Enjoy it to the max! You're going on an adventure of a lifetime, so make it feel that way for yourself! Do everything you want to do, and don't look back at the things you've done in the past until you've finished cruising. Then write a book! Write a huge fat hardback of the story of your sailing, and add your favourite pictures to it! That way you can recap on all the exciting thrills you've had - good and bad (you obviously have to be realistic: if cruising was all sunshines and rainbows then everyone would think they could do it!

What (if anything) do you wish someone had told you before you started cruising? 

I don't think there is anything. I've been really happy with cruising for the past four years, and I don't think anything anyone could say could improve my lifestyle - now or before. 

Where was your favorite place to visit and why?

I think it has to be Grenada. Like most places I've been to, I only went once. But because we stayed there for six months, I think it's that it became a comfort zone to me. I met so many of my current friends there - and it was just an all-round beautiful island - literally. All the vegetation and historical sites are really interesting to learn about. Grenada also introduced me to some foods I would never have dreamed of eating before. Guava is now my most favourite fruit, and nutmeg my favourite spice. 

What is something about the cruising culture you like and what is something you dislike?

I love how I don't think I've ever met a single cruiser who hasn't been kind to us, and after knowing them for a while have become good friends. 

But this has its flaws, which leads me to what I dislike about the cruising culture. There's always going to be a time when you have to part ways with them - whether it's in a week, or a month, or a year. And it hurts, even though you know you can still keep in touch and that you'll probably see them again eventually. 

Tell me your favorite thing and your least favorite thing about your boat     

Well, my favourite part is that it's a home you can take anywhere you like in the world (as long as it's linked to oceans, obviously). You don't have to worry about packing things in a suitcase every time you go somewhere, and it can all stay right where it is while you take the boat there. 

On the other hand, it often seems better to stuff your things into a bag rather than having it all lain out when you're about to go on a long passage that's bound to be rough. That's when you gotta stow everything away, and you're never sure whether or not that box of all your craft stuff will tip over if you put it on your shelf behind some nylon strings... that's why I dread coming into my bedroom after a rough passage. 

What do you enjoy about cruising that you didn't expect to enjoy? 

Before we started cruising, I had next to no appreciation in the beauty of nature or history. Nowadays, I love taking my dog for walks through greenery and examining the different agriculture - especially in the fascinatingly colourful tropics. I also love going to museums and reading about the past of all the countries - how Colombia was attacked by English pirates, how they made rum in the 1800s in Grenada, all that. 

What do you dislike about cruising that surprised you? 

I started writing a diary before I crossed the Atlantic from Cape Verde to Barbados. Reading back on it now, I'm surprised to see how excited I was to come to the Caribbean. Nowadays, over a year later, I'm just really excited to get away from the tropics. I'm fed up of the heat and beaches I once found gorgeous. Obviously, I'll probably dream of coming back here in the future, but for now, I just wanna see a bit of snow or something!

What do you miss about living on land? 

I miss having familiar grounds to roam around on. I miss going to school, especially since I never got the chance to have the secondary school experience. I miss being able to see my friends whenever I like. 

What question do you wish I would have asked you besides the ones I've asked you and how would you answer it?

It would've been interesting to answer this question: did cruising change you at all? If so, how?

I'm not sure if this would've applied had I not started sailing, but I do think I've changed since before I began travelling. Before, from what I can remember, I was quite gullible, naïve, attention-hogging and I never used to eat anything that was outside of my comfort zone. Now I've changed, though: I've learned not to take people so seriously (probably from living with Paul for the past four years), I prefer to be the mob rather than the centre of attention, and I eat a lot more things now. So all's a-gooden!