– by Maya, 11
*This article written by Maya was published and first appeared in the December issue of 2014 Caribbean Compass p.33
My School is NOT a Building
Hello people! It’s Maya here. Today I will be writing about things I like and things I don’t like in this Nomadik boat-life.
My mom asked me if I’d rather live on the boat or in the house back in Canada. That was probably the hardest question, harder than god-forsaken math! I think I like the boat better. In the house I was always scared of the dark and I still am and I always will be. I’m willing to hold my bladder till the morning instead of going to the bathroom at night. And also I was scared because I was young and I believed in monsters. My room was the biggest in the house not to mention it was pretty empty. I’m pretty much the opposite of claustrophobic. Here in the boat my room is small proportional and cozy. The house was ok though. We had a huge TV, a leather couch, a big kitchen, and all that cool stuff. But it was boring when my brother wouldn’t let me in his room, my parents watching movies that are not for kids, and I had nothing to do. So yeah, I defiantly pick the boat. We travel, meet new people, we go sailing and see remarkable islands. It’s really great.
But let me start with one thing I don’t like about cruising. The worst part of sailing is that every single thing gets salty wet. And we have to wash it by hand! I wash my clothes or bedcovers and the next day we go sailing. And a huge wave splashes on top of everything which really really sucks. Then comes the worst part: washing again! I have to fill up a bucket with water, and then I put all the bedcovers in it with detergent. Then I mix and scrub and I leave them to soak for about half an hour, and again scrub scrub scrub, then squeeze the water out, then rinse twice with fresh water, then put them to dry on the safety bars on the sides of the boat. So now you know how I wash my stuff by hand. But you guys on land have your washing machines, right? To be honest, your way is a pretty lazy way of doing it.
The really cool thing I like about saltwater is saltwater itself. I have become a professional free-diver and if you don’t believe me, your loss. I dive like 7-8 meters deep. Pretty much as much as my dad but I’m sure I will learn to go deeper. I can hold my breath for 32 seconds. We did a test at the beach in Martinique. But I’ll learn to hold it even longer. I have never been so proud and happy for myself. Just a couple of months ago I was terrified by deep water and the creepy animals lurking inside the vast ocean: sharks, barracudas, remoras, and stuff like that. But now, when I dive deep to the ocean bottom, I feel flawless, fearless, and careless of what’s around me. I feel like I’m the scary great white shark chilling on the ocean bottom. It’s a feeling not everyone can feel, it’s as though I can breathe underwater. I am blessed to have this superhuman power that King Neptune has granted me.
But the best thing I like about cruising is friends. Back in Canada, I had only a few friends that you can count on your ten fingers, at school and in my neighborhood combined. But since we are on the boat its genius, so many new friends: old, young, everyone is awesome! I love going to the beach and other places to meet new local kids and also other boat-kids like me. It saves me from going crazy on the boat. Meeting new friends is easy. I usually ask them: Hi, do you want to hang out? Or Hi, want to be friends? And it almost always works! Worst case scenario- they, don’t want to hang out with me.
But so far, since Guatemala, I really miss my best friend Noial from s/v Friendship. I do really miss her a lot. The day we met at the pool, she came for a sleepover, just a couple of hours later. I miss playing with her, I miss swimming, drawing, sleepovers, chatting , climbing mountains, exploring canyons, jumping from waterfalls, making our own braking news videos I still keep on my phone, and also when we recorded ourselves dancing in the cockpit when Vik was dj-ing his music. I still have that on my phone but it’s embarrassing so I won’t show it to anyone. She helped me at school in Guatemala, because I didn’t speak Spanish in the beginning, and we went together to this local school with the local kids for a few months. Also, Noial thought me how to dive from the steps of our catamaran. We used to jump in the water after school with our clothes on. I feel like crying while I am writing these happy memories… Noial and me, we were born almost at the same time. We celebrated our double 10th birthday together. That was the day I saw her for the last time. We hugged, wished each other happy birthday, said see ya tomorrow, and never saw each other the next day, or ever since. We had good wind and we sailed away… I always wonder what she does right about now. We did argue more then we should have which I totally regret doing, but like they say: you only realize what you had after you’ve lost it.
Of course, leaving is one thing I don’t like about cruising. Every time we meet cool people and make new friends, we have to leave, or they have to leave, and who knows when we will meet again…
Another thing I like is hiking up mountains and volcanoes. I have a list of all the best climbing we’ve been doing: we climbed Mount Scenery in Saba, Morn Diablotin and the Boiling Lake in Dominica, la Grande Soufriere in Guadeloupe, Mont Pelé in Martinique, and not to mention the great one and only Pico Duarte in Dominican Republic, the tallest mountain in all of the Caribbean! It took us two days to reach the summit and we had a guide and two mules: Margarita and Pintero. It was Awesome! We also visited all types of waterfalls and natural pools.
Green became my favorite color. Not the money-green, but the vegetation-green of the Caribbean. All the beautiful plant, trees, fruit, vegetable, and insect-green. The Caribbean is a great place, I will never ever forget it, and it’s just wonderful! Not that I am bragging but all I’m saying is that I’m proud with all the climbing I did. I lost a lot of fat and my legs became the legs of Hercules because of walking, climbing, and free-diving. I’m fit now.
Everyone we meet asks me “What about school?” It’s really getting on my nerves. I do actually go to school. And I also have something to teach you today: MY SCHOOL IS NOT A BUILDING, it is the world!
I have this huge book on the boat fully illustrated and alphabetic and it’s called: The Random House Children’s Encyclopedia. I learned a lot from it, and when I opened it on “K” and read about knowledge it said: „If learning took place only at school no one would ever graduate.“ It also said that the three steps of learning are: 1. Traveling, 2. Reading, and 3. Growing up. I’m doing all three steps at the same time!
There is your answer to your really annoying question.
Did I like school back in Canada? Not so much. But school on the boat is pretty great. I bet I learn more traveling and talking to people in one day then any school kid does in a classroom for one week!
Anyway, I wanted to write this because it’s all facts and I think I will end it here. Thank you for taking your time and reading!