Like any new parent adjusting to their role both James and I have had some uncertain moments. But it’s par for the course and a necessary part of feeling more confident in the choices we make for our child.


We feel confident that being able to both be around Rocket all the time gives her a great sense of security and happiness and we’re certain of just how fortunate we are to have stumbled into a lifestyle that allows us to do so.


But, as we are discovering, life with an infant on board is like getting onto the boat for the first time all over again. Getting used to negotiating your way around the boat while it’s moving at anchor or on passage is like learning to dance in time with the rhythm of music. Once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s second nature. Yet, that instinctive bob and sway is connected to your own weight and balance. The addition of 12 pounds of bouncing baby inevitably changes your equilibrium and it takes a while to regain your steadiness.


Likewise, with anything that needs repair or replacement on the boat we balance out the pros and cons. Can we afford it? If we take the financial hit how do we level out and cut back our spending elsewhere?


The two are very much interconnected when it comes to our dinghy.


Ahhhhh, dinghy. He was once a noble inflatable chariot of a thing, bought second hand in the UK and the subject of awe by one who saw him in St Kitts (“You got a boat to get to your boat?!?”). Alas, no more. Having survived his accidental arson attack this January our beloved dinghy has now fallen prey to the inescapable demise caused by 2 solid years of tropical sun exposure. We happily unpacked him upon leaving the marina and observed that he now has more holes than a cheese grater – not a desirable feature in what should be an airtight vessel. To add to this the oars are now a rather motley, mis-matched, half-broken set which leaves the whole thing looking rather sorry for itself.


So now the balancing act. Were it still just the two of us we’d probably just continue to patch, make do and mend with the old one.


However, when coming back to our freshly anchored boat the other day we were confronted by the tail end of tropical storm Sonia causing trouble in the bay. The system was directly to the West of us, meaning that there was nothing between the open sea kicked up by the storm and the shoreline except our anchorage. Suffice to say that as we approached and saw our boat literally surfing breakers at anchor we decided that not only would this be the worst possible first attempt at getting back on board with our babe but that we would also most definitely not be spending the night onboard either. A rapidly deflating and sinking dinghy was definitely a contributing factor to that decision as we stalled, like a horse refusing to jump, and limped back to the marina docks in our soggy rubber duck.


We hunkered down in a friend’s boat for the night, again confident in our new-found parenting skills. Plus the verdict is in: we’re replacing the dinghy.


Times have changed... no oars, plenty gaffer tape and, oh yeah, no air.
Times have changed… no oars, plenty gaffer tape and, oh yeah, no air.


Dinghy in his glory days.
Dinghy in his glory days.