Boating with Little Pirates

Bruny IslandJames had made a vast improvement with his Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease and as a result we were able to get away on the boat to meet up with Nick and Poppy for Friday and Saturday night.  Nick’s mate Marcus was heading to South Bruny with his family on their super fast boat, so James and I hitched a ride.

Nick and I have had many amazing experiences on our boat over the past six years and after welcoming two little pirates to our crew, have had to make a few adaptions.  Poppy’s first experience on the boat was at 8 days old!  Fortunately, we are incredibly blessed with the quality of cruising waters right on our door-step in Hobart with the D’Entrecasteaux Channel providing an array of sheltered coves, remote beaches and safe anchorages.

In recent years we have met new ‘boating’ friends who also have young families which has really made a difference to our experiences on the water.  There is the obligatory SMS banter between ‘Captains’ prior to any trip about the weather and proposed destinations.  We gather, we giggle, we catch fish, we watch our children play in the shallows and we drink G&T’s. I feel so blessed that Poppy and James will grow up on these waters, with their little boating friends, learning, watching and making new memories.

Barnes Bay

Boating with children can however present challenges at times but Nick and I have slowly worked out what works best for entertaining our little (and big) pirates on board.  These are some of the handy hints we have trialled with numerous successes:

  • Get those little whipper snappers off the boat and onto the beach as soon as possible if the weather permits – cabin fever can soon set in and tensions can rise if you are all crammed onto the boat for too long.
  • Arm yourself with colouring and activity books, pencils, paper and other crafty items.  James spent hours playing with Poppy’s pencil-case on Saturday – tipping all the pencils out and putting them back in one-by-one, which is fantastic for little pirates’ fine motor skills.
  • Allow imaginative play.  Poppy loves playing with the boat fenders (see image below) and nicknamed them Charlie and Sousie.  She tied them up, patted them, took them for a walk and gave them a swing.  She was so engrossed in this activity it enabled me to savour most of the latest Instyle magazine – uninterrupted!  Bonus.
  • When we move from one location to another, we try to plan our journey to coincide with James’ sleep schedule.  There is nothing more soothing than the rhythmic sounds of a boat engine complemented with a gently rolling sea. This works a treat for big and little pirates!
  • Plan simple meals!  Our go-to meals include:  Chilli Con Carne, Sausages, Curry with Rice and hopefully freshly caught fish, abalone or crayfish.
  • Popcorn is the best!  I buy the classic old-fashioned version and cook up in a dash of oil.  My little pirates love hearing the popping sounds against the saucepan lid.  A quick snack to make and one that is super healthy.
  • Pancakes, although great in theory and super yummy, aren’t the best breakfast as everyone gets edgy waiting for their circle of happiness and look on with envy as their fellow crew-mate is devouring their creation.
  • I bring along my MacPac Possum Baby Carrier which doubles as a high chair for James and a backpack when we go for a wander along a beautiful remote Tasmanian beach.
  • A bundle of fashion and design magazines are a must for Mrs Pirate.
  • If all else fails – bring out the trusty iPad where you have loaded numerous episodes of Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly plus a TInkerbell, Toy Story or Finding Nemo movie.

We have found by following a few of these simple guidelines our little pirates are smiles all round (generally)! Xx

Big smile


Boating with children

James in his Macpac Possum

Pirate Poppy and James

Sneaky Pirate James

Little pirates

Mac David

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