Please install Flash® and turn on Javascript.

Happy Family 05/03/2013



Imagine packing up your young family, three kids from 4 to 8 years old, kissing the jobs good bye and heading off on a sailboat around the world.  That is what the S/V Totem family did five years ago. I first met them in Mexico where we all nervously awaited our ocean crossing or puddle jump as we called it. Behan organized the HF radio net and all participated in the seminars and parties that the sponsors arranged.  I discovered they were from Bainbridge Island, very close to my original home.  I kept seeing these bouncy “toe head” blonde kids merrily dashing about the docks.  A long friendship started here, now we are in the wilds of Indonesia cruising together after spending time in Mexico, the South Sea Islands, Australia and not Asia.

We rendezvoused on Bali and did the fast catch up. I laughed that they had traded in the old kids on bigger ones; Niall is now a full-fledged teenager, almost 14. We spent some time together and planned joining them in Gili A. I offered Niall to make the crossing with us and he came aboard.  Having him with us for two days was a complete pleasure. The crew took right to him and he helped in the galley and me with some boat stuff. He seemed to like this power boating idea. He helped the girls learn some knots.  I had a blast teasing “mom” via facebook chatting with quips like, “ if you get here late Niall will be hanging out in the bar with me” to which she replied, “so which bar do I find my kid in” and added, “I cannot believe I am asking such a question”.

With Totem moored next to Furthur again, it was like old times, they joined us when I jammed at the Freedom Bar with my good friend Agu. My crew and the kids were inseparable, Sam had two young girls to braid her long hair and play games with.  The perfect name for the Totem family came from my guitar playing, pot smoking and star bright smiling, Rasta looking Indo pal Agu. We finished one of the songs and he welcomed the “Happy Family” and that is what they shall be called for ever more.

The name is well earned; we laughed that if they could make the young girls in pill form it would cure all forms of depression.  Niall is the perfect older brother always attentive with his sisters and they truly look up to him. Jamie and Behan should write the book on parenting, period.  We had to chance to see them out alone last night, sans kids, when I played again at the Freedom Bar. Sam made the comment, “they are really in love”. 

Although the “Happy Family” are amazing, they are not alone. The cruising world if full of happy families living in tight quarters raising multiple kids on the run. The results are families that really love each other, kids that are independent, well behaved, inquisitive, precocious and really fun.  Many young guys read my blog and tell me “someday” when the kids are grown and I always show them the S/V Totem blog, http://sv-totem.blogspot.com/.   Make that someday today.

Post a Comment

Posted by Justin Lee on Nov 16, 2014, 08:54 AM EST
Brian and Christie, Really v glad to meet you both at Kota Kinabalu with Dive Below yesterday and thanks again for showing me onboard Further. Being a "city-person / corporate-warrior", your experience and attitude towards life truly inspires me... It takes a lot of courage and a "dare to be different" mindset to embark on this incredible journey. I m very humbled after listening to your story and amazed by how you managed to touch the lives of people that you meet at the various ports. Wishing you all the very best for all your trips + Rescue diver course and may you always be safe and joyful. Will be following your blog and maybe we have a chance to meet again somewhere , somehow .... Cheers Justin
Posted by Kerry on Sep 20, 2014, 10:56 AM EST
Great article in Sea Mag. Congrats !
Posted by Lua on Aug 30, 2014, 08:33 PM EST
So glad you were there to celebrate with us--I loved your speech :)
Posted by Derek on Aug 07, 2014, 12:32 PM EST
Cap't, it was a pleasure to share the journey with you, and I hope for a time again to be in your bright and energetic company. Derek
Posted by Flowpoetry on Aug 05, 2014, 09:23 AM EST
Love it man! It was great meeting you in Madison and wishing you all the best! Flowpoetry
Posted by Spiritmentalist (Ashlee) on Jul 28, 2014, 10:57 AM EST
Brian it was wonderful meeting you in Madison at the first Furthur Test in over 50 years. What a ride!!! Looking forward to the adventure of life and I have a feeling that our paths will cross again. Doc and Bertha Bus Productions would love to work with you when your ready. Stay in touch! Hope to see you at Phases!
Posted by Jonas Lundstrom on May 19, 2014, 05:54 AM EST
Well done (Pops)! :)
Posted by Ken on Apr 13, 2014, 10:41 PM EST
Ulterior motives! Nicely done ;-)
Posted by Unknown on Mar 19, 2014, 09:12 AM EST
I have friends and family similarly afflicted. Your message brings hope. Thank you.
Posted by Radoje Micic on Mar 18, 2014, 04:27 AM EST
Wow, Brian! Thank you for sharing your life story! I stil think you should write that book, and I no more think you should "drop the anchor" to do it; you are doing excelent writing under way! Radoje MY Kitri, Selene 5498
Posted by troz on Oct 22, 2013, 02:25 PM EST
I would of loved to engaged the aux.
Posted by Kerry on Aug 01, 2013, 08:15 AM EST
Brian I have one question for you, Is there ever NOT a smile on your face ?
Posted by Lorraine on May 17, 2013, 03:34 AM EST
Thanks Brian for the lovely tribute. You were a good friend to him and he loved the fact that you shared the same birthday. I am so glad we got to see you at Pangkor Island...what can I say it was just such a shock. He was not complaining of feeling ill and was so happy that we had crossed the Singapore strights. The night he died he said to me "the adventure begins tomorrow." I know that he is still with me even though my life has changed drastically. I am presently back in Melbourne staying with my best friend but will go back to Malaysia in a month or 2 to sort out the boat. I truely hope that we meet again somewhere along the track and he really loved you Brian xxx
Posted by Alison and Allan on May 13, 2013, 04:12 PM EST
Hey Brian! Wish we were there with Totem and you at the Freedom Bar! Very cool you got the privilege of hanging with Naill, an amazing guy. The girls are fantastic, too -- I'm sure they'll be Furthur crew in due time! Big hug to you! A2
Posted by Brenda on Apr 04, 2013, 08:10 AM EST
Hello Captian Brian! Loved reading about your most recent journey. Thank you for all the details about the different marinas and the shopping. Bonne journèe
Posted by Tom Pickens on Mar 25, 2013, 02:38 PM EST
Brian: Linda and I have enjoyed your blog this past year since meeting you at Seattle Opening Day last year. Are you coming back again this year?
Posted by Brenda Prowse on Mar 20, 2013, 02:52 AM EST
Brian, I will forward your latest post to my American friend JonLee who is currently teaching in Salalah, Oman. She has some insights re the Muslim women, their attire and life style. She also taught in NE Thailand for quite a few years so has that experience to compare and contrast. Thank you for the thought provoking blog and beautiful photos. Keep strumming!
Posted by Brenda Prowse on Feb 11, 2013, 03:55 AM EST
Happy Year of the Snake, Pappa hero!
Posted by Brenda on Jan 23, 2013, 10:59 AM EST
Excellent account, Brian. I really like the way you related your experience to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." Robert Pirsig would be proud!
Posted by Unknown on Jan 10, 2013, 09:01 AM EST
que impresionante ju!!!!!!!que hermosa experiencia!!!!!
Posted by Kerry on Jan 02, 2013, 09:13 PM EST
I've said it before but I'll say it again, YOU ARE ONE LUCKY DUDE !
Posted by David on Nov 13, 2012, 05:03 AM EST
Awesome blogpost & story Brian! We are coming for our first visit in Thailand early November & will use some of your dive blogpost for ideas. Cheers, enjoy and will meet on the road someday. That's us if you are interested www.free-to-dream.org
Posted by Silvia on Oct 20, 2012, 08:51 PM EST
Hola July!!!!!!! Estoy con Mari y con Adri en mi cumple!!!! te estamos viendo estas hermosa y felíz te quiero Muuuucchooooo!!!!!!! Un beso enoooorrrmmmmeeeee te mandamos todas
Posted by Radoje on Sep 19, 2012, 11:28 AM EST
Idea for you, Brian: drop the anchor for a while and write the book! Me be the first in a list of pre-orders! Radoje, wanabe in your wake
Posted by Kerry on Aug 26, 2012, 09:19 PM EST
WOW just WOW ! That was scary to read, I cant imagine what it was like in person. Stay safe.
Posted by Kitty on Jun 27, 2012, 05:40 AM EST
Kitty from Thailand remember me Brian and me work in chalong

Sponsored by
Selene Trawlers