The Schafer parents had planned for years to take their family on a memorable adventure before the oldest of their children headed off to university and onto other pursuits, but it wasn't until a series of incredible events that their dream started to materialize. With time running short they threw caution to the wind, bought their boat and spent a few months learning the skills they would need to take them from California to Australia on their 45' catamaran “Far & Away”.
“I still remember our first overnight sailing trip along the California coast last March” reminisced Kirsten “the rough seas had us surfing waves down the coast but we had an experienced captain who gave us the confidence we needed during a continuous three day training sail.” These three days of the journey was the first and only time they had formal open-water training with a professional sailor.
Their voyage took them to remote survivor style South Pacific Islands including the Marquesas, Tahiti, Palmerston (Cook Islands), Niue, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Vanuatu. Along the way they had life changing experiences as they learned to cope on a small boat for 24 days without seeing land, battled stormy seas, rescued a child that went overboard, made new island friendships, peered into the jaws of a live volcano, sang traditional Tahitian songs with islanders and grew as a family.
“Our experience was more than a sailing dream come true.” commented Normand, “It was a journey that taught us about ourselves and brought us closer together. We have had life-changing experiences together that we will never forget.”
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