A Sister Sets Sail – Sailing Around The Meditteranean With Kids Aboard

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I have two very lovely sisters who both live in Scotland, Mairi and Morag.  No, you don’t get more Scottish names than theirs.

Mairi is the eldest sister.  Morag and I agree it’s a marvellous thing to have a big sister; someone to copy and learn from your whole live through, someone to look after you.

So this week Mairi, her husband and their two children are finishing packing up the family home, packing up their boat and preparing for a year of sailing around the Meditteranean.  It’s a big week at their house.

They are brave, don’t you think?  I very much admire their adventurous spirits and their derring do.  Their boat is not big, but the waves they face will be.

Mairi on left and myself, 1965. Those were the days!

Mairi and her husband have been on a trip like this before.  About 20 years ago, my Dad packed up his life and went round the Med for a year in his beloved boat, the glorious vessel Penelee.  Mairi and hubby were with him for most ofthe year.  They survived the savage seas, mind you that would have been a doddle compared to surviving a year in close proximity with Dad who was a difficult complex character.

Dad pokes tongue out

Here’s Dad being daft on his beloved yacht Penelee.

Dad finally drank himself to death in August 2009.  Our whole family dynamic has changed enormously and one upshot is that Morag, Mairi and I are all feeling the pain of that tyrant distance much more than we did before. We’re closer.

I’m excited for Mairi and full of admiration. She blogs here about simplifying her life and she will blog about their year at sea at www.28feetafloat.com

Our Dad had many faults, but he did take us sailing when we were kids, he gave us the great gift of being free on the sea, with the main and jib flying and the water gushing along the decks as we sailed close to the wind.

We ran wild across beautiful Scottish islands and rowed into our own imaginations. We sang sea shanties as we thudded across great huge waves and we wondered why our Mum was so worried.

Mairi and I more recently; as you can see, we haven’t changed a bit.

It’s a wonderful thing that Mairi and her family have got that adventurous spirit still and are letting themselves break free and go, packing this week, setting off the next.

I’m grateful to have sisters and feel very blessed that we are emotionally close even though we are all so physically far apart.

Here’s a quote I read years ago which I loved so much I  had a friend  paint a little picture of a boat at sea for me, with the words enscribed below.


Ships in harbour are safe, but that’s not ships were built for.


Do you ever long for adventure?  

Are you safe in your harbour or boldly setting sail?

Update: Mairi and her family returned to the westcoast of Scotland after their year afloat. They wrote lots of blog posts about the trip, some written by the teen twins. Fascinating, click over to www.28feetafloat.com.

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Posted on: June 3, 2011


  • Oh Seana, you have an adventuring, non-consumer and blogging sister! She sounds wonderful. Sorry to hear about your dad though….

    Yes, I am always wanting to cast off to foreign shores. I love sailing and would love to do a big sailing trip though definitely not with any kids on board:)

    I think it’s good to have a safe harbor to hang out in and come back to but yes, I’m definitely a ship that needs to sail off regularly:)

    • Reply June 6, 2011


      Yes, I need my safe harbour, but long to venture out of it more than I do at the moment… Thanks Annabel.

  • Reply June 4, 2011


    Wow, that sounds SO exciting! Aren’t you jealous of your sister? I sure would be! oO Heading over to look at her blog! ;o)

    • Reply June 8, 2011


      Hi, have to say I don’t feel jealous; I’m a crew person not a captain and would be horrified at the thought of taking all my kids on a small boat. But I would love to go and find Mairi and her family on their journey. I don’t think that will happen though – boo hoo.

  • Reply June 4, 2011


    Hey Seana!
    Wow! You have had an adventurous life!
    I have never sailed, like never really sailed, only have been on a small boat and gone for a boating ride! 😛
    I wish I sail soon, your words “the water gushing along the decks as we sailed close to the wind” have forced me to do so!
    And sister love, sister love is just amazing 🙂
    I have posted a little something about my sister and me on http://www.myendlessthinkingprocess.blogspot.com , I would be glad if you read it.
    Thanks for posting this.

  • Reply June 4, 2011

    keepcatebusy (Cate)

    Great post! What an exciting adventure! I would love to go on a real adventure one day. We were invited to go sailing with friends around the Whitsundays for three months (not quite the open seas), but unfortuntately (fortuntately for me though) coincided with the birth of our first bub…and now she’s nine – and still no adventure. Sigh, better go and brave the daily adventure of the pooey nappy 🙂

    • Reply June 6, 2011


      Thanks Cate, my next adventure will be chasing the cat and trying to get my 11 year old to switch his light off, to be followed all to soon by a rousing early morning wake up…. being a mum is its own sort of adventure.

  • Reply June 4, 2011

    Mairi Stones

    Ah! Seana, what can I say but thank you.

  • Reply June 4, 2011

    Benison O'Reilly

    You did move to the Antipodes, Seana, so you’re not without your own spirit of adventure. I have a lovely sister whom I’m much closer to now that we are older – she bossed me around too much when we were young (!) – but she would say I’m the adventurous one, as I have lived overseas and changed careers half a dozen times whilst her life and career have remained pretty stable. You’d never get me on a sailing holiday, though, as I don’t cope with the cold and the wet and motion sickness at all well!

  • Reply June 4, 2011


    Wow – what a beautiful way to speak about your sisters. I have two girls now, we’re contemplating adding a third baby to the mix, my husband would like a boy, but I’m secretly wondering whether 3 girls would just be a nicer mix. We’ll see. Anyhow – the relationship between girls is just lovely.

    So brave and adventurous of your sister and her family to up and travel for a year – how inspiring! I’d love to do something like that. My husband is from South Africa so we have contemplated a year long working holiday there…maybe when the kids are bigger!

    I love that pic of you when you were wee – so sweet!

    • Reply June 6, 2011


      Thanks Renee, now be careful with that third child. I hoped for a third, it took a while to have a succesful pregnancy and it was twins – oops! Totally unexpected… but not uncommon.

  • Reply June 4, 2011

    Jodi Gibson

    Sounds very exciting indeed.
    I would have loved a sister (an only child). But now have four daughters….how cool!
    I love that pic in the pram too x

  • Reply June 4, 2011

    Hear Mum Roar

    I’m sorry for the loss of your dad. How wonderful that you have such a great bond with your sisters, though

  • Reply June 5, 2011


    Sister-love is the best kind of love. Mairi, Morag and Seana, huh? Three gorgeous Scottish lasses full of beans. x

  • Reply June 6, 2011

    Sophia Whitfield

    Lovely post about your sister.
    Like you, I am so grateful for my sister.
    Thank goodness for Skype and blogs. Makes the long distance sisterly relationship a little less distant.
    Love the photos – you haven’t changed a bit.

  • Reply June 7, 2011


    Lovely blog Seana,I have printed of a copy for my dad to read and enjoy since he isn’t into the net thing (being 80 it’s not surprising).

    Lots of love to you and family


  • Reply June 8, 2011

    Debra Edom

    Hi Seana, I know your sister Mairi very well. I’m proud to say she’s a close friend of mine. I really admire what the whole family is doing and I know they’re finding this week the toughest, packing up and getting on the sea but I know once they start their journey everything they’ve been through to get there will fade away.

    Here’s to Mairi, Ashley and the kids wishing you the most amazing and joyful journey.

    Seana, you have a wonderful sister but I’m sure you know that.

    • Reply June 8, 2011


      I do! Lovely to meet you Debra.

  • Reply June 7, 2013

    Amanda Kendle

    How bold and brave of them – I would be terrified (not a terrific sailor myself …) though my husband would think it marvellous (except that unfortunately he gets quite seasick). Must have been a life-changing experience for their twins though, how fantastic.

  • Reply June 8, 2013


    Your sister sounds like a brave lady, as does her family.

    I long for adventure and would love to take my boys travelling one day.

    • Reply June 8, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Wish my children were better travellers… they are not as keen as I am, not even nearly…. maybe we’ll all go backpacking when all our kids are young adults – easier I bet.

  • Reply June 9, 2013


    I was a keen sailor before I met Bearhands, but my priorities changed after that! I would love to take the kids on a year long adventure. I’m sure we’d make family memories that would last a lifetime, but unless we win the lotto I can’t see we’ll ever be able to leave the farm for more than a couple of weeks. I keep buying tickets though! 🙂

  • Reply June 11, 2013

    Allison Tait

    Love this Seana! I can just see you all running wild in Scotland, sailing the high seas. I hope that Mairi’s trip went well. Thanks for Rewinding.

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