“Our life is one big school trip”

Circumnavigation of a large family of Giffords

When the couple Being (Behan) and Jamie Gifford (Jamie Gifford) 10 years ago decided to go into the world with the children (4,6 and 9 years old), they only had one problem — none of their child couldn’t swim.

“We’d have won the competition for worst parents of the year! — laughs Biin after 10 years and 58,000 miles. Our children learned to swim in crowded public pools in Seattle, and it has not brought result. We knew that once out into open water where everything is much more interesting, it will take quite a different turn. A few months later, our senior trip was to swim like a fish”.

47 ft Stevens 1982 cost the spouses $190 000 a year left on her preparations for the journey. On the ship, which is called the Totem, three cabins, two baths, and a engine 75 horsepower.

When 48-year-old Biin and 52-year-old Jamie left to travel his full-time job, they look for new ways of generating income to cover the costs of fuel, fees, food and other needs of travelers. Now they advise about life under sail. Jamie also gives technical advice on this subject, and Being on top of that — the author is a freelancer. Year of life on the boat costs the family $30 000. As for the education of the children, now they spend much less than on land.

Life is like a school trip

One of the difficulties faced by the Giffords at sea is the lack of regular access to good books. Their salvation became an electronic publication. Since the beginning of the trip the family have not read one hundred books. Some of them set in places that the family visited. This also applies to books by Herman Melville “Tajjpi”, which takes place on the Marquesas Islands in the Pacific ocean.

“It is incredible to read a story, and then to walk to places, which you just read. The book comes to life in front of you. In the late afternoon, around four, we usually anchor and go for a walk, during which lunch. We talk about the history of the area, about the colonization of the seventeenth century, — says Jamie, listing my favourite beaches in the Seychelles, Namibia and the Maldives. — Our whole life is one big school trip”.

Children and life on Board

Back in Washington, to visit family and give the boat time to dry, the Giffords convinced that not behind the times, while traveling. Their eldest son Niall (Niall), who is 19, was admitted to the first year of Lewis and Clark in Portland (Oregon), named after the two famous explorers. During his journey the Giffords made a short break in 18 months, staying in Australia for earnings. Being at that time worked in an advertising Agency, and the children attended school in Brisbane.

After the experience of life on Board the school seemed to them too strict, and particularly strange was the fact that children’s attention had to switch from one subject to another with no time for quiet assimilation of information and discussion.

Therefore, after completing it, the family no doubt went on.

“The moment when children would say to us that are tired of life aboard, did not come. After a very short time after the start of a journey they are accustomed to living on a yacht, home teaching and visiting new countries.”

“Be prepared to do without it”

Sometimes the Giffords make a long transitions at 17 and 19 days, and then all they see ahead is just the horizon line. But usually they travel consists of short trips of about 40 miles, and at night they drop anchor near the shore. This approach together with careful route selection helps them to avoid severe storms and to protect the yacht from damage.

They want to advise people still do not grasp the mysteries of life at sea?

“If you can’t fix something on Board, be prepared to do without.”

Sometimes such a necessary thing, like going to the nearest mooring point shop helps them to keep fit and train your skill of hitchhiking.

As for swimming, the Giffords vengeance explore his new levels. As on Board does not fit suits for diving at all, they decided to learn freediving, and the results are impressive: Jamie can dive to 65 feet in just a few moments, and his daughter, Siobhan Maron and dive to 35 feet.

Another early hobby was fishing, but they decided to abandon it, when off the coast of Thailand and Indonesia saw heavy damage to the sea brings poaching. Instead, the Giffords are now exploring the cuisine of local cultures, exchanging recipes, and other useful knowledge.

“I like to perceive the world including the taste — shares Biin, listing his favorite dishes: Thai, larb, South African bobotie, Sri Lankan and Maldivian cotta wt-Hoon. — I think we managed almost every place to scout out a new dish!” Good wine South Africa was another opening.

“The main rule — don’t be stupid”

Keep in mind, on Board, travelers will find not only adventure. The family of Giffords have medical insurance, which costs them $2,500 per year, and several times they had a chance to go to clinics in different countries. “The Americans in terms of medicine rather short-sighted. What can I say, our healthcare system leaves much to be desired. In other countries we can easily receive the necessary support”. Moreover, the Giffords now I can safely say that the risk of visiting unfamiliar countries is greatly exaggerated. According to them, they never felt in danger.

“The basic rule is not to be stupid. If in some countries there is need for precautions — follow them.”

For Giffords these countries were Papua New Guinea and South Africa, where they not risk travelling at night. They also refused to visit certain areas of Colombia and Venezuela. The Giffords relied heavily on “coconut mail” — local original method of communication between seafarers and on the website of the US state Department, but the second one is too dependent on context and cannot always be relied upon.

In General, the Giffords feel on Board even safer than on the shore.

“Many people tend to think that we take too many risks. Education of children, their socialization, and other such things. And it is given repeated examples of cruelty in some American schools! There are things in our world is more dangerous than travel”.

“We are always looking for ways to help in those places where we stop. In Mexico this way was a donation. There is no blood Bank in the United States. And if it is needed urgently, people can only rely on the help of family or friends. When I donated blood at Santa Rosalia, I’m always asked, who is it for, and my answer for anyone who need was perceived with astonishment. However, in a remote area of Mexico, the need for blood was great, and in return I was subjected to the most rigorous screening in my life,” recalls Biin.

“We learned a lot, becoming freer”

With the coming changes. Now the Giffords are planning the next step of their adventure 18 months living in Mexico, this time four.
From there they will travel to South America and to the southern coast of the Pacific oceanto add to the list of 48 countries, which have already seen new unexplored places.

“One damn important thing we realized in making this lifestyle that we have time. We should not follow strange schedule, which is so fond of these crazy people on the land says Jamie, and it seems to me, in his words is truth. We learned a lot, becoming freer”.

On materials CNN.

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