On the water

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Standing the test of time

By Ilene Little

How many of your friends took to the water during this last long weekend; celebrating their own freedom with nature and re-connecting with memories of a lifetime?

Whether it was 35 years ago, or right now, if you’ve ever experienced a “boating lifestyle,” some things never change – like the challenge of Mother Nature and the enduring love of island cruising that many of us share.

Molly Hall aboard the catamaran Yollata with her family.

Molly Hall aboard the catamaran Yollata with her family.

Casco Antiguo resident Clara Hardin spent the national holiday cruising the San Blas Islands onboard the catamaran Yollata with Australians Tracey and Scott Hall and their two children Will, age six, and Molly, age four.

Hardin called me when she took a break from sun bathing, and I could hear in her voice how much fun she was having. I listened as she reflected back on her own years as a cruising mom.

Thirty-five years ago, Hardin lived aboard. “From our two home bases in Coconut Grove and Naples, FL, we spent a lot of time cruising the Bahamas and the Florida Keys with our family on our boats Mystic Turtle and Mystic Turtle Two, a Morgan Out Island 51,” said Hardin.

Cruising this weekend with the Hall family triggered her reflections on the advantages, to kids, of experiencing a boating lifestyle.

“What kids learn from the cruising lifestyle is respect for the environment and an awareness of what’s real,” Hardin said.

“There are some lifestyles that instill independence and coping skills at an early age,” said Hardin, “like growing up on a farm where you are driving at age 10.” The same is true to an even greater extent as you experience the wider horizon of cruising.

Growing up on a boat builds early confidence, knowledge of your own strengths and limitations, and an appreciation for the perils of Mother Nature. “Many of the children who live aboard develop street-smarts and display maturity beyond their years.” said Hardin.

Hardin lives now in Casco Viejo, where she is gratified to see a level of independence among the children of the community. “I see small children running errands to the store and interacting in the community at a younger age than you typically see children accepting responsibility elsewhere,” said Hardin.

What she witnessed in the attitudes of the cruising family with whom she chartered revealed a truth. Much has changed with the cruising lifestyle; for example, the Internet has changed the whole concept of home schooling onboard.

The foundation for personal growth, however, is standing the test of time.

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