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S/V Kandarik Freya 39' sloop - Homeport: Ft Lauderdale, USA

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Pam & Andy WALL + Samantha & James - One of Women and Cruising's founders, Pam Wall, reflects on her family’s cruising years - sailing with 2 children from infancy to adolescence, including a 7-year circumnavigation. - More about the KANDARIK family

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1. The biggest challenge you faced in getting out there?   7. A great moment?
2. Is there a best age to take children cruising?   8. How did you handle: HEALTH and SAFETY?
3. Any modifications to the boat for your children?   9. How did you handle: EDUCATION and FULFILLMENT?
4. Any advice for would-be sailing families?   10. What did you like BEST / LEAST about cruising?
5. A typical day at anchor?   11. How about the transition back to land?
6. A typical day on passage? Your kids' responsibilities?   12. A recipe for cruising families?

1. What was the biggest challenge you faced in getting out there?

Leaving the dock!

KANDARIK comes out of the mold in California
to be put on a truck to Fort Lauderdale

We were so very anxious to get going after years of building our own boat.

Our goal was to build a boat that would take a small family anywhere safely and comfortably. Andy and I worked together to earn a living, to have a wonderful family of a little girl and a little boy, and in-between, working to build our dream boat.

Ten years of scraping and saving, having two children, and putting together a vessel kept us in focus with the anticipation of sailing around the world as a family.

The biggest challenge we had was leaving the dock!

I am sure that no one believed we would actually leave the dock and head towards Panama. And no doubt Andy and I ourselves also wondered if we would ever be able to do just that. But every year we seemed very fortunate to get closer and closer to our dream.

The biggest challenge we had was leaving the dock!
(KANDARIK at our dock in Fort Lauderdale - 1976)

We had two young children, Sammy, 7 and Jamie, 4. We had my parents and sisters and good friends and jobs and a house we owned, a car, insurance, payments to make and all the things that could have kept us from leaving our comfortable life in Fort Lauderdale.

There was so much to organize for the voyage, but even more to do to put our life in perspective and take care of all we were leaving behind for an undetermined amount of time.

Eventually, ten years after laying up our hull, we departed on a most wonderful journey that in spite of our imagination was more incredible than we ever dreamed it would be.

What we had to do TO GET TO THAT POINT was be ruthless with our time, our energy, our belongings, our bills, AND our depression with leaving behind our family and friends.

We found that if we could have everyone we loved anticipate and enjoy our good luck to be able to sail away on an adventure of a lifetime, then with their help we could do just about anything!

Our family was fantastic; they lead the way for the excitement of adventure. They all pitched in and helped make it happen with their confidence in us, our boat, and our need to do this! Without this kind of encouragement it would have been too difficult to leave the lives we were leaving behind. Step by step we organized what had been our everyday lives; we tried to anticipate what we would need to keep in touch with our family and friends, and tried to economize what we left behind.

Our biggest challenge was to cast off, at last, after all the preparation, after all the anticipation, after all the worry and commotion of leaving so much we knew and loved.

BUT, once our sails filled as we sailed out the breakwater, after our waving goodbye to loved ones on the pier, and the first green water covered the bow, the cobwebs were blown away, the only thing to think about was the next landfall, the next meal, the navigation and the weather!

Our dreams were alive, our fears left behind, and our adventure had begun for all of us!

2. How old were your kids when you left? Is there a best age to take children cruising?

Sammy in the Bahamas one year old,
matching sailing dinghies
Teaching Jamie to hold his breath mimicking his Mom!
Just under a year old
Pam and Sammy (age 3) in the cockpit in Maine

Samantha, our daughter, had been sailing with us since she was a newborn baby.

Before we left to sail around our world, we had been taking Sammy with us every summer to Maine, Canada, the Bahamas and Bermuda. Even though our boat, KANDARIK, was a work in progress when she was a baby, we still went away every summer for a couple of months. Sammy was almost literally christened by the Gulfstream. When we departed on our world voyage Sammy was 7 years old.

James, our son, was also a water baby.

From the first months of his life, he too was sailing with us during our summer months of cruising somewhere wonderful. His bunk started out as a padded box secured in the turn of the bilge. He was cruising with us before we had a cabin sole! Jamie was 4 years old when we cast off on that momentous day in 1985.

Our two children were a joy and a pleasure to have with us from the very beginning!

I think it was much easier to have infants aboard than later on when they grew up to become crawlers, then walking, or even youngsters turning to teenagers.

Infants take to living on a boat much better than adults. After all, it is what they only know, and they adjust so well to wherever they are!

How easy it was to know they could not get out of their little bunks, what a joy to put them into their car seats lashed to the mast, and feeding them from Mummy was the easiest way to stock a boat with food for infants!

I refused to carry cloth diapers, and you should have seen the various clever ways we had of stuffing the boat as full of paper diapers as possible!!!

It was easy for us as parents to watch over them, and it sure made a comforting and terribly close-knit family situation.

In hindsight, I think that the BEST age to take children cruising is when they are very young and do not leave anything behind they might really miss!

Our two grew up living on KANDARIK, it was normail life for them, nothing special -- just the way it was!

Several years, 5 to be exact, after we returned home from our circumnavigation, we sailed away again bound for Europe.

By then our two were teenagers, and this time it was very difficult for them to leave a life ashore behind them. But, once underway, that all disappeared, and they immediately loved the cruising life. It was just LEAVING that was difficult for them.


What is the biggest difference betwen cruising with small children and sailing with teenagers?

Years later after we sailed back into Port Everglades, we all agreed that the biggest difference between cruising with small children and then sailing with those same teenagers, was... the MUSIC aboard!

When young, the children had to listen to our music, the music that Andy and I enjoyed.

As teenagers sailing with us, WE had to listen to THEIR music ... which was a challenge in itself!


All questions

3. Did you make modifications to the boat for your children? Any suggestions?

I’ll say we did!

We left with two small bunks, high see-through lee cloths, car seats lashed to the mast for feeding and sitting without being tossed around, and Legos by the thousands!!!

We had to make a secret locker, high out of reach of small prying hands, where Santa Claus kept his goodies, the Easter Bunny had eggs and chocolates, the Tooth Fairy had little gifts, and all the little things that could be used for surprises so necessary like birthday candles, balloons, and more LEGOS!

We had to have a toddy potty, a place to comfortably and safely change diapers, good comfortable safety harnesses (our two never wore life jackets -- too clumsy and hard to balance when learning to walk, or crawl for that matter), and of course all the learning toys for children as they grow!

The very basic car seats lashed to the mast at table level were excellent places to “stow” the children in bad weather, while eating, or for just sitting up as infants. You could strap them in, they could see and observe everything, and they could always be a part of the daily workings of the boat.

As the children grew older, their cradle bunks became their bedrooms. We installed a reading light, a 12-volt fan, and a Pullman-type curtain for their bunks. They each had a book shelf, a hammock for toys, and when they pulled the curtains closed with their lee cloths up, they had their own very cozy bedrooms! Years later when we were home from our seven-year voyage, they could NOT sleep in real beds at home because they did not have their lee cloths! We had to improvise lee cloths in the house!

Sammy in her bunk or bedroom.
Note her pets and privacy curtains.
  Jamie's private cabin on KANDARIK. Note he has his own telltale compass above his pillow, so he can be sure we are on course during his off watch.

4. Anything you wish you had known before you got started? Any advice for families?

Yes indeed there is so much I wish I had known.

  • I WISH I had NOT worried so much about everything.

  • I WISH I had known that sailing on KANDARIK was just life on another level.

  • I WISH I had enough sense to know everything I worried about would NEVER HAPPEN.

  • I WISH I had known that everything that HAPPENED we could take care of.

  • I WISH I had been more relaxed about getting going instead of the frenzy I made it. Everything fell into place so easily once under way.

Why, oh why, didn’t I realize all this BEFORE we got started?


Go with the JOY of remembering you are the lucky ones!!!!


Oh, yes, advice! What a difficult thing to suggest to anyone as so much depends on the families, the children, the boat and the places you want to go!

  • The best advice I can give anyone lumping us all in (as people who want adventure, mothers and fathers who want to take their children with them, children who want to experience a wonderful world of imagination and new faces) is to go with the JOY of remembering you are the lucky ones!!!! Never lose sight of the fact that what you are doing is FANTASTIC! Keep your eyes open to every experience, meet as many people as you possibly can, immerse yourself in the countries you visit, and always remember to watch the sunrise and sunset!

  • As an aside, I think it worthwhile to have everyone aboard write a log or diary of these great times together. From the time our two could write and read, they wrote little diaries of where they had been, what cakes they had made, what fish they had seen, what friends they had met, what storms they had been through, and all the wondrous thoughts that children have about their lives aboard.

  • No screen or keyboard can take the place of a good book! Remember that, and never be without books, and books, and books. Especially intriguing are books about WHERE YOU ARE or WHERE YOU ARE GOING. What a difference it makes when you get to a new landfall and a new culture and new friends!

I truly think after many years of sailing with our children that this was the very BEST thing in the whole world we could do as a family! There is no doubt that both Sammy and Jamie want to do this with their families when they have them. And if that isn’t a testament to the lifestyle, nothing is!

Reading Our diaries

If I were to read about June 22, 1988 in my log, read Andy’s real log for navigation, see what Jamie wrote on the same day, and look too at the drawings that Sammy put in her diary, I would find a lifetime of differences. Yet it was the SAME DAY - the day a lady gave us Tuku the parrot! - and vive la différence!!!!

There is NOTHING better we can do today than read those diaries to one another and REMEMBER!

Sammy's diary


Jamie's diary - Same day

All questions

5. A typical day at anchor?

Off in the dinghy to land! (Cocos Keeling, Indian Ocean)


Andy and I were always up with the birds, always. A freshly ground cup of coffee in the cockpit as the sun rises was mandatory to our lives! We had to tippy-toe around the galley because the children’s bunks flanked the galley. They were both sound asleep, as they say, sleeping like babies!

I would start breakfast to wake the children up after Andy's and my quiet time together in the cockpit! Sammy always asked me to wake her up to the smell of bacon and the sound of stirring the pancake batter! We always had big breakfasts! Sammy and Jamie would take turns cleaning up all the dishes. Sometimes they would trade days, but always they would be responsible for the cleaning up once they were old enough to reach the galley sink and push on the foot pedal.

Bath at sea

Back when they were babies, it was just the same as being at home. All the little things one does for babies ashore are just done aboard the boat! It was not so far to reach for the diapers, not so easy to warm up food without a microwave, not at all easy to dispose of used diapers properly, and the warm bath would require a kettle of hot water to be heated before bath time. BUT mornings were easy, simple, happy, and contented.

School had a big impact when at anchor. School time was about three hours, EARLY, right after breakfast, because we all wanted to PLAY in the afternoon. No incentive to finish up reading, writing and arithmetic was as great and genuine as knowing an afternoon of play or exploring would always come sooner if the work got done quickly.

After a quick light lunch, off in the dinghy to land, to snorkel, to fish, to explore, to meet new friends, to play with old friends, to shop, to do all the wonderful, exciting things you get to do when at anchor!

Sammy and Jamie on sunken drug plane
(Norman's Cay, Exumas, Bahamas)
  Jamie and Pam sailing in our dinghy in Tahiti
Our pet manta ray in Bora Bora 1986   Sammy on the beach in Australia


Tea time was always important, mostly in the cockpit before the "movies"!

We “went to the movies” every day we were aboard KANDARIK, at sea or in port.

"Going to the movies" was a very special time every day at 4PM when the entire family would sit in the cockpit, and I would read out loud a few chapters of a very good book we all enjoyed. Those wonderful hours at the "movies" were the best time of day for all of us!


Sammy (age 3) in hammock on deck in Maine

Then a "kip" or nap before dinner, or writing in our logs and diaries, or just lounging around.

With babies, we always took them with us. We did enjoy the quiet time of napping twice a day. Andy and I would have time to ourselves to make repairs, talk quietly to one another, read a good book, and I remember so fondly those few hours when the children slept away to renew their strengths for more activity.

A huge dinner would follow with either Mom or Sammy or Jamie, or Sammy and Jamie doing the cooking! Daddy would always clean up dinner dishes. Andy was never allowed in the galley except to make tea or hot chocolate for the next person’s watch at sea! He could dirty every dish and pot and produce nothing edible! We kept him as far from the galley as possible!!!!

At anchor our nights always ended with everyone in the cockpit and Andy teaching all of us about the stars, the planets, the comets, and the moon. The heavenly constellations became our friends and companions.

"Fresh air poisoning" would have us all in our cozy bunks not long after we said goodnight to Orion, or the Southern Cross, or the Scorpion!

Funny enough, we never thought of the sun hurting their baby skins. In those days we didn’t know the dangers of the sun's rays. Our two were "brown as gum nuts" everywhere, and clothes just didn’t seem necessary unless in public. So laundry was not a problem when they were babies. Just the diapers!!!!!

Laundry: “You wear it, you wash it”

I Hated Doing Laundry,
so we dressed in as little as possible

I hope I will make you laugh when I tell you I Hated Doing Laundry, so we dressed in as little as possible!!!!

Laundry was usually a hose found somewhere, a bucket, soap, and four little hands doing their own laundry.

Our mantra was, “You wear it, you wash it”. It is amazing how well that worked!!!!

Need I say more? When in isolated anchorages, the dinghy full of fresh rain water was always a treat for a bath or a perfect place to wash clothes! Very little, if any, clothes were ever washed in a machine!!!!

Pegging the clean clothes on the life lines became a sort of art to peg them "just so", so they would dry quickly; like pillow cases facing forward into the wind to blow them open and dry them in half the time! That sort of thinking became a way of life!

All questions

6. A typical day on passage? Your kids' responsibilities aboard?


Jamie (age 8) on his watch - New Zealand to Fiji

In the beginning of our voyage around the world, Andy and I did all the watch-keeping.

But by the time we got to the Panama Canal, Sammy (7) and Jamie (4) were taking full-blown watches of two hours! Mind you, the self-steering was doing all the helm work, but the watchkeepers were the little people aboard as well as Mommy and Daddy.

The watch systems worked like this:

  • Andy on for two hours, Sammy on for two hours, Mommy on for two hours, and finally Jamie on for two hours.

  • The watchkeeper had to remain in the cockpit, tethered in, watching the compass course, keeping a careful lookout, and determining the sail trim and weather conditions.

This was a huge responsibility for such young children. Andy and I stressed the importance of this large responsibility to both Sammy and Jamie. They knew how very important this part of living was aboard KANDARIK.

And they quickly learned to enjoy these watches, as did both Andy and I. There is something mystical about being alone in the cockpit, especially at night! The motion of KANDARIK, the sound of the wind and waves, the lure of the moonlight, the hope of the dolphins' breath and squeaking greeting, it was almost intoxicating, and this is what we passed on to our two little children. I don’t think they were ever afraid of being on watch, especially at night, as we taught them to take this very seriously, but also to enjoy it!

It was the very special private time in your daily routine, and we hope this is how they both felt about this precious time when they were in control of our time at sea.

Mind you, Andy ALWAYS slept on the quarter berth at the foot of the companionway when the two were on watch. His innate knowledge of the motion and sounds of KANDARIK would have him awake instantly if anything changed. Sammy and Jamie always knew he was right there if they needed him. We did not trust everything to those little eyes, ears, and heartbeats!


Sometimes in cases of wild weather, Sammy and Jamie would take their watches together.

I wish I could have recorded those conversations while they were up there in the cockpit!!!

They were priceless as they discussed every aspect of what they should do on the watch: they argued about whose turn it was to look around the horizon, they peeked down below to make sure Andy and I were below, and they talked about so many wondrous things together as only two left on their own could do.

So, our typical day at sea started at dawn, as I always wanted the 4AM to 6AM watch. I love the early lightening in the eastern sky, I love the sweetness of a new day about to dawn, I love watching the stars disappear one at a time, and there is an indescribable joy of communing with the sky and the sea just before the sun appears over the horizon.

Andy always got up at the change of every watch. He would circle the deck, check aloft, adjust the trim, and of course put down anything pertinent in the log book.

Then he would wake up Jamie with a cup of cocoa and finally go back to sleep. Jamie would have the 6AM to 8AM watch, and of course I would be below making breakfast for all of us. The smell of coffee and FOOD would wake the off watch, and we would all eat heartily in the cockpit if the weather was fine, or below if it was wet on deck.

Then Andy would take over the watch from Jamie, and then Sammy would take over the watch from Andy, and so on.

The ONLY time we abandoned the WATCH system was when we "went to the movies" in the cockpit every afternoon; then we were all ON WATCH as we listened to the "Tusitala", the story-teller, me!


We never did school work at sea. I just was not up to that as well as watch-keeping, cooking, running the ship, etc.

there never was a dull moment aboard while at sea.

It’s funny, I never remember at any time having to “take care of” Sammy and Jamie.

When infants, of course, I did have to take care of them as a mother would an infant anywhere. But once they became little people (4 and 7 when we departed Fort Lauderdale), I NEVER had to entertain them.

Sammy and Jamie and friends on deck crossing the Pacific
Galapagos to Marquesas 1985

Caring for Sammy and Jamie while offshore was so easy!

Their little minds were like sponges! All they had to be is interested in what was happening all around them! Their little minds and bodies were so active that the two of them were never at a loss at amusing themselves.

Every empty egg carton was made into two exotic caterpillars, empty cereal boxes created doll houses. Ken and Barbie dolls were fantastic. We had weddings, birthdays and costume balls for these delightful friends.

Of course after the Panama Canal, Sammy and Jamie had their watches to take, so this took up some of the daily routine.

We encouraged lessons in navigation, steering, watch-keeping, and of course we read books, and we read books, and we read books. Books were devoured so quickly, it became necessary to eek out chapters to make them last across the vast Pacific.

Andy was always teaching them the arts of the sailor; knot tying, stargazing, and navigating mysteries became daily lessons!

It was wonderful to watch these little ones become so very comfortable and knowledgeable about their lives at sea.

Even when they were very young, since we had the luxury of two children, they always found wonderful ways to entertain themselves together! Remember, there was no computer, no DVD or cassette player aboard. But we did have music on cassettes that became a part of our lives! I think songs and music touch heartstrings as much as anything in the world!

Jamie's birthday at sea - New Zealand to Fiji 1988

Sammy and Jamie every day spent a few hours baking something spectacular!

This involved hours of time for figuring out what to make, getting all the ingredients ready, taking turns measuring, stirring, licking the bowls and spoons, lighting the oven, timing the baking, and of course TESTING the final product.

Often elaborate decorations augmented the dessert, taking time and effort!

All those yummy, warm baked goods kept KANDARIK so fragrant!

We left the Galapagos Islands with a huge complement of eggs, butter, flour, sugar, etc. but by the time we made landfall in the spectacular Marquesas, all the cake making ingredients were GONE!

The most fun they had at sea was catching and then dissecting globs of seaweed.

Sammy and Jamie would perch themselves up on the bow pulpit for hours looking for the perfect ball of seaweed. If they saw one in the distance, we sometimes had to divert from our course. Andy would spear the weed with the boat hook and drop it into a waiting bucket of sea water, and then the scientists began their detailed investigation of this little sphere of life!

It is utterly amazing what you find in that little ball of weed in the middle of the ocean. There are crabs, tiny lobster-looking creatures, miniscule little fish that look like grouper and all kinds of jellyfish, and remember: all on a tiny, tiny scale! EACH ball of weed they would bring aboard held different life; it was just fantastic.

Can't you see it Daddy,
there it is!!!
  Whiling away the idle hours at sea
inspecting large clumps of seaweed
in the bucket speared from the wavetops


After the hour or so of squeaks of pleasure and joy at what they found, they would throw that world back into the sea and dash below to draw every little creature they had met.

It was a wonderful scientific expedition into a different world and took up hours of life at sea!

what the children were responsible for in daily tasks

We had a rotating list of what Sammy and Jamie were responsible for! They made the calendar to be FAIR with distributing their daily chores.

A few items from that list were:

  • Washing up the dishes
  • Cleaning up the cabin daily
  • Sweeping up the cabin sole
  • Coiling the lines in the cockpit
  • Making the tea in the afternoon
    (This is what Jamie had to work on the MOST, as getting him up for his watch at night was always a challenge for Andy and me!!)


“My Boat is my home”

The following article was written by Jamie when he was 7 years old. It is published at kidsaboard.com and was posted online on May 9, 2005.

Hello. My name is James and I am seven years old. There are four in my family. I have an older sister. Her name is Samantha. She is eleven years old. I have a mother and father. Their names are Pam and Andy.

I do not live in a house. I live on a boat. Her name is Kandarik. She has a white hull. She has no windows but she has three hatches that suit her very well.

She is made of fiberglass and wood. Our chimney is made from steel. We have three cabins. And a companionway.

My father built our boat because we wanted to sail around the world. So my home is a boat. I like our boat because it sails. I have learned to row our dinghy. I can make tea all by myself.

My favorite place is up forward in my Mummy’s and Daddy’s bed. I share my toys. I share with my sister. I do the drying and my sister does the washing. My sister and I share rowing the dinghy.

Yesterday Mum set the sailing rig up so that I could sail the dinghy because the wind was nice to sail in. I had a really fun time. It has a red sail.

In our main saloon (living room). I like our table. It is varnished a light brown. It can lift two sides and make a big table sort of. In the middle there is a rectangle. It can lift out and there is a well. I like it.

My mother has a telephone. It is a Ham radio. Mommy talks on it a lot. It can reach much farther than a regular phone. Mommy can talk to her friends all over the world.

I live on a boat. I went to the top of the mast in a bosun’s chair. I put a line through a block for the burgee. It was fun.

7. A great moment?

This was not a single incident, but happily happened time and again. This was part of our lives as a cruising family.


Sammy as lookout on the bow as we negotiated
the pass into Moorea, French Polynesia

There is no way to describe those two words unless you have crossed an ocean!

It means you have done a good job! It means you will sleep the night through soon. It means your water and fuel and food have been appropriate. It means your navigation is pretty darn good. It means your vessel is sound and laughing at you! And it means the ritual of a new landfall begins with everyone aboard.

There is a flurry of activity aboard KANDARIK when the landfall is near! It is always the same for us.

Sammy stays below cleaning every inch of the galley, the head, the bunks, the bulkheads, the stove; everything is made into perfect condition below deck.

Pam and Jamie and Andy begin the huge cleanup on deck: the guys for the downwind pole, the vangs and preventers, the sheets and the halyards all coiled just so; mainsail furled to perfection; anchor brought on deck and put back on the bow; chain attached to the anchor again; burgee and American flag back on display; and the entire deck made spotless as if 1000 or 3000 miles had NOT just been crossed. Everything on deck is shipshape before we enter a harbor.

Once the anchor was down and secure or we were properly tied to a dock, Sammy would always serve hot tea and fresh snacks for the entire crew.

It is our little ritual; it is our little family working together to make KANDARIK look beautiful. We were all so proud of our little ship. We sailed around the world together, and together we'd prepared for new adventures.

8. How did you handle: HEALTH and SAFETY?

Keeping the kids safe aboard

ALWAYS keeping one hand on the ship,
in this case TWO hands!
  Sammy in her home-made harness
swinging on mast hoops 1978


From the first time our children could walk or crawl, the most important lesson we taught them was to ALWAYS have one hand for the ship! There was never a move to be taken without holding tightly onto something secure aboard the boat. That applied to down below and, of course, mostly in the cockpit and on deck.

We tried bulky, uncomfortable and hot infant life jackets. They were impossible because the children lost all possibility of balance, they were uncomfortable on bare skin, and they restricted important movement aboard a rocking and rolling deck.

I made up infant safety harnesses for them when they started to move about the deck. This allowed them the freedom to move about the boat tethered-in but reined-in enough not to go over the side. Sammy and Jamie ALWAYS had to wear those harnesses on deck, and the tether had to be secured. This worked really well.

I used very soft nylon webbing and fashioned a harness for each of them that was easy to put on and take off, was almost not apparent when being worn, and most importantly had a crotch strap and tether. I was smart enough to make them adjustable, because nothing grows as fast as adorable children on a boat!

Teddy came wherever Sammy went (Hopetown, Abacos, Bahamas)

A side story about keeping kids safely aboard may have helped to remind Sammy and Jamie about the dangers of falling overboard.

Their favorite little "pet", a stuffed lion that wound up and nodded its little head and roared, was on deck with us as we were departing the Perles Islands. We often had our "pets" on deck!

We were screaming downwind with a poled-out genoa heading for the Galapagos Islands some 900 miles away.

Somehow poor little Lion fell overboard, and the screams of terror and grief were just so awful and sad! We could not turn around to save poor Lion as he quickly disappeared from sight in our churning wake.

It was a sad, sad day aboard KANDARIK for hours after the frightening incident. But, I really do think it was so engraved on our children’s minds that it gave new meaning to “one hand for the ship”.

Caring for the kids in rough weather

Rough weather was never a problem.

The kids actually loved the watches in the worst of weather.

I think they had such confidence in their Dad and KANDARIK, that bad weather was never something they worried about. They knew everything would be just fine, so why bother with being at all scared. It is so very cozy below in a secure bunk when the wind is howling out on deck, and it is so comforting to know Mom and Dad and KANDARIK can handle anything. We taught them the wonders of nature, and I think they, like us, stood in awe of what Mother Ocean and King Neptune could throw at us for a little excitement!

One funny story to tell about Sammy (at age 14).

We were in quite a terrible gale in the Mozambique Channel. The seas were the biggest we had ever encountered. We were down to storm trysail and spitfire jib and screaming along, climbing the steep crests and plunging into the troughs. The noise was incredible as only a strong gale can be on a sailboat with all its standing rigging singing in the wind!

Andy had been on his watch. Steering in the rough seas was imperative; no self-steering gear could work as we would lose the wind in the deep troughs and then get blasted by it as we reached the breaking crests.

It was Sammy’s watch next. She got all geared up in her foul weather gear and harness and tied her hood on really tight to keep the lashing sea spray from getting down her neck. Only then did she realize she would be out in the cockpit all alone, steering KANDARIK, and THE HATCH BOARD WOULD BE SECURED so she could NOT see down below!

This really terrified her as we normally never closed up the hatch completely. You should have seen her WIDE EYES as she went up there on deck to relieve Andy from the helm! You could tell she was NOT a happy camper! Andy assured her it would be an easy watch, and it would go by quickly as there was so much attention necessary to steer a proper compass course in the heaving seas. Then Andy came below and closed the hatch up tight!!!!

All of a sudden, above the shrill scream of the wind in the rigging, we could hear Sammy singing, “Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect, and whistle a happy tune!”. When I relieved her of her watch two hours later, her only comment was, “This was totally awesome!!!!!”

Kids at sea!!!! What more can I say?

Keeping the kids healthy / getting medical care

Keeping kids healthy, well all I can say is, when you are in a small environment that YOU control like being a family aboard a small vessel, you eliminate so many outside influences that could cause health issues.

I honestly cannot remember any time that we had a real health issue with the children.

Sure, Jamie split his chin open when attempting to dive off the bow pulpit at age six! Yes, once Sammy got a boil right on the tip of her lovely nose, sometimes little cuts and scratches got infected and needed extra care, but our cleanliness routine aboard kept us pretty darn healthy.

We never were at a loss for good healthy meals with our huge freezer, we always took lots of GREEN fruit to consume as it ripened, and our diets were well-rounded always!

We stressed the fact that most accidents happen at home (aboard KANDARIK), so it was inportant to be extra-specially careful no matter what you were doing. Aside from two medical incidents that Andy had, I felt we were all pretty healthy.

I do recommend having a really good and comprehensive trauma and first aid kit plus medications for all purposes aboard. I also recommend KNOWING how to use them; I took a comprehensive medical course for emergency medicine and trauma care at sea which I felt was very important.

We relied on the Ham Radio a couple of times, especially when Andy had coral poisoning. We could always find someone, a doctor, on the ham radio who would give assistance, and it was a wonderful comfort knowing that was always available.

I once got violently sick after leaving Aitutaki for Samoa. I ate some bad chicken at a restaurant but didn’t have symptoms until we were underway and screaming downwind too fast to turn around and try to beat back to Aitutaki. But Sammy and Jamie never suffered from Montezuma’s revenge, and if you could see the places we ate at ashore around the world, you would consider that absolutely amazing or just dumb luck!!!!

9. How did you handle: EDUCATION and FULFILLMENT?


Sammy doing her schoolwork in KANDARIK's main saloon


Schooling was always the one thing that everyone wanted to do least, but I must say that a huge part of the education of Sammy and Jamie did NOT come from SCHOOL but from the experiences they had and the people they met.

However, you cannot get away with just that!

Calvert School correspondence classes

We left home with a huge locker full of assignments and books, pencils and paper for the Calvert School out of Baltimore. I felt that a GOOD SCHOOL was absolutely necessary for the well-being of our children, and we did NOT want to have them fall behind their age group once back in school. So, school work we did!

Homework, ugh!
There's Teddy again keeping an eye on things.

Calvert was very comprehensive and expensive! I had to buy two different classes because of the four-year age difference between Sammy and Jamie. While everything was the same for both classes as far as the syllabus was concerned, naturally they were on different levels for the different ages.

What I did find, and I can pass this on, is that if I had ONLY paid for Sammy’s 7 year-old grade, Jamie could easily have followed that structure as it was almost identical to his 5 year-old class. I could have saved a lot of tuition fees, and both children could have been “in school” in the same KANDARIK classroom.

We never did school work at sea. We did read a lot, but never real Calvert School work!

So our actual classes were limited to the joyous days in port.

And herein was the difficulty!

When in port we always wanted to explore, play, discover and enjoy where we were. So, the compromise was to get up really early, have class until lunch, and then away we would go! But I think concentration was very difficult for both teacher (me) and students as we were all thinking about the wonderful afternoon ahead. But we carried on and did all the work the Calvert School demanded.

School in Tahiti

Jamie (age 6) and his classmates in Papeete, Tahiti 1986

When we got to Papeete and decided to stay there for a year, things were quite different! We wanted Sammy and Jamie to have the marvelous benefit of going to school in this new and exciting island!

So, both were enrolled in the local schools in Papeete. Two different schools were necessary because of their age difference, and the class room aboard KANDARIK was closed down.

I feared that they would now face an enormous challenge, to learn French.

I was so worried this added obstacle in school would confuse and frustrate them.

But, I needn’t have been! They took to French like ducks to water, and in less than a week Jamie was actually talking in his sleep IN FRENCH!! That’s how little children adapt so much better than any adults!!!!

I remember the first spelling word my son, at age five (!), had to study and learn; it was rétroviseur or rear view mirror! Even I had trouble spelling that one! If you were to meet Samantha or Jamie today, you would find that they speak French just as well as English! What a fantastic good fortune for them!


Back to "Kandarik schooling"

As we progressed further westward, we went back to home schooling on board. We did not continue with Calvert but went solely with reading, writing, and arithmetic. Sociology, science, biology and history were all part of our daily lives where no school books were needed.

It was a bad year for little American children to be in school in New Zealand.

It was 1987, the year of the America’s Cup with Dennis Connors from America and Michael Fey from New Zealand competing for this coveted trophy!

Anything remotely American was considered a threat to all New Zealanders; they are such a sailboat-oriented country!

But, as always, little children were more diplomats that enemies, and Sammy and Jamie overcame the hostile environment in which they found themselves due to their nationality!

School in New Zealand

We again stayed a year in another wonderful country, New Zealand.

Sammy and Jamie wanted to go to school there since we were staying in Whangarei. This time they could go to the same school together.

When we finally left New Zealand, we were able to enroll in the New Zealand system of Correspondence School This is the fabulous set of courses through which children in isolated areas of New Zealand are educated. Remember, there still were no computers, so all work and grading of work was done by slow but secure MAIL!

School in Australia

By the time we sailed into Sydney, Australia, Andy’s home town, we knew we wanted to spend a year there as well. So once again as little “foreigners”, Sammy and Jamie went to real school, this time to two different schools, since by this time Sammy was in high school and Jamie still in grammar school.

Australian correspondence classes

When we left Australia, both kids attended the Australian School of Distance Education out of Brisbane, and these were the correspondence classes they had until we sailed back into Port Everglades.

By this time, no teacher was necessary, so I was let off the hook. They were strictly on their own to do their required work and looked forward to receiving their grades by mail in the next port! I no longer needed to discipline the time or frequency of schooling; they did that all on their own as they loved it so much. That, I think, is a real credit to the type of education that Australia offers its students who are too far from any regular classroom.

As a point of interest, when we returned home, both Sammy and Jamie were tested before being able to continue school.

BOTH surpassed all test scores, and the principals wanted to put them in higher classes.

This never happened as they both ended up wanting to go to school in France, which they did, but that is another story! But the point is, their strange and certainly different style of EDUCATION did not hurt them in the least, and most probably was a tremendous benefit to both of them.


Of course like all children, Sammy and Jamie collected many things along the way!

Friends, shells, photos, clothes, books, pareus and other charms, like Jamie’s parrotfish necklace given to him by the Kuna Indian Chief!

We also enjoyed collecting coins and stamps from the countries we visited. Not only did they give us something to search out and learn about, but the collections became something sought after in every port we visited.

Stamp collections became quite the artistic endeavor for both Sammy and Jamie. Their collections were not only practical but beautiful as well! A stamp collection is small, easy to stow, and later will bring back wonderful memories!

Besides their little log books, I think the stamps we found and saved were as precious to each of them as any jewel could be.


Homework in Tahiti - Sammy (10) practicing the Tamare for dance contests during Fête under the awning on the foredeck

Friendships and social interactions

Their school friends around the world were very important to them, and not only do they have lasting memories, they have friends they still correspond with.

Family back home and their concerns

Every couple of weeks we would record on a tiny little cassette recorder little things to share with our family at home.

I would mail it, and we would all look forward to our loved uncles and aunts, parents, and grandparents, and cousins who would also make little cassettes and mail them to us! It was a great way to stay in touch.

And to this day, I still have to insert those hilarious cassettes and listen to those sweet young voices talking into the microphone and telling everyone at home what they were doing!!!

10. What do you like BEST / LEAST about cruising?

I like to steer during my watch, I like to steer coming into harbors and port, and I like to be the helmsperson ALL THE TIME!

I DO NOT LIKE kneading bread!

I like to have a cup of tea waking me up for my watch.

I DO NOT LIKE hearing Andy on deck at night when he has promised to wake me if he has to go on deck.

I like the smell of small children waking up.

I DO NOT LIKE cleaning the grounds of the coffee after breakfast.

I like the smell of perking coffee and frying bacon.

I DO NOT LIKE crusty salt on my glasses at night.

I like helping Andy get his sextant shots every day.

I DO NOT LIKE trying to take a sextant sight myself, mostly because I just do not have the knack of getting that sun to touch the horizon!

I like knowing my children are safe with me and Andy.

I DO NOT LIKE lying in my bunk, sleepless, while waiting for two teenage children to come home to their bunks at night in a new port.

I like making a new landfall.

I DO NOT LIKE departing from a place I have come to love.

I like a fresh washdown from a squall.

I DO NOT LIKE beating to windward in 25 knots of headwind.


I like the smell of freshly-cleaned clothes and pillow cases.

I DO NOT LIKE watching a screen.





11. Has cruising changed your family? How about the transition back to land?

Jamie, Sammy and Andy in Australia

Sammy and Jamie are not here with me now as I write this. Sammy is now 33 years old; Jamie has just celebrated his 30th birthday. But I think I can answer for our entire family.

We all terribly miss our special times together on KANDARIK.

I know it was responsible for a very tight and precious relationship between me and Andy and our two children.

We did not think it was anything special then, but today we look back and realize how lucky we were to have grown up together and shared so many experiences.


None of us will ever be happy staying in one place too long; we cannot imagine a life in one place! We need the stimulation of new countries and people not like our friends at home. We need to see more than we can possibly imagine; the wanderlust has been instilled in our way of life!

I don't know, but I don't think that is too bad!!!! I feel it the same as my children, and it drives me in life as I know it does them.

The transition back to land

KANDARIK coming home
to Port Everglades - 1991
Sammy's 21st Birthday in Horta, Azores
on our way to France
to drop Jamie off at school - 1997


After KANDARIK sailed back into Port Everglades, six and a half years after departing for a circumnavigation, Sammy and Jamie went back to REAL school in Fort Lauderdale.

When they were in school in Tahiti, New Zealand, and Australia, they never minded being from another country (foreigners). BUT when we came "home", they were the foreigners in their schools here!

They were so different, and it is always the different children who receive the most punishment from their teachers and peers. They liked to answer questions; their hands were always up but neglected. They liked to speak and talk with adults, but they were chastised by their fellow pupils for 'making up to the teachers'. They could NOT ride bicycles, they could not play hockey, they could not dream of smoking in the bathrooms, and they just did not fit in with the student profile.

In short, they were too different!

So, they both went to school in France!!!

Sammy became the youngest student ever, 16, to be part of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. She was enrolled in high school in Vannes, France and sent there by the wonderful Rotary program. Jamie followed his sister to France for his high school years. But while she flew to school, we SAILED him to Vannes in KANDARIK!!! The whole family, once again, was aboard for the delivery of Jamie to school in France!

Once Jamie finished his high school, both he and Sammy started university in Toulouse, France.

However, they both knew it would be more advantageous for them to get their university degrees in the States, so they left France to complete their higher educations. Jamie graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in Fine Arts and Architecture. Sammy graduated from Nova Southeastern University in Florida with a degree in Child Psychology.

They both still sail. They both will take their families sailing once they have them. They both now realize how terribly special their upbringing was on KANDARIK.

Funny, how when you are sailing with your children, you do not realize what a fortunate family you are. It is just life! But when you look back on that family adventure, it becomes the most precious time of our lives!

All questions

12. One of your favorite quick, handy recipes for cruising families?

“Delicious and Easy Banana Bread”

Jamie, 30 years old, eating Mom's home-made banana bread, Fort Lauderdale 2010

DELICIOUS AND EASY BANANA BREAD for all those left-over browning bananas you get in the West Indies and South Pacific!!!

> In a mixing bowl stir together until creamed:

  • 1 stick (quarter pound) of soft butter or margarine
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup (3 or 4) over-ripe bananas (I freeze my brown bananas, and they also work just perfectly if defrosted, really gooey, but good for banana bread!)

> In a separate small mixing bowl, mix together:

  • 1 and 1/3 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder or soda (it really doesn't matter which, just what you have aboard, if none of this, add another egg!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, I prefer walnuts but anything crunchy will do.

> Prepare an 8-inch baking pan greased with butter or oil and sprinkled with a little flour all around

> Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients

> Bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until done (dry toothpick trick!)

> Garnish with varnish and oooohhhh they are so delicious!  (just kidding about the varnish)


BUT here is another recipe from Humphrey Barton, the founder of the Ocean Cruising Club. You may want to TRY this one if you live on a boat!  

Actually, I thought this was soooo funny when Hum Barton came aboard our boat and told me he would make us dinner, and then gave me the recipe for the meal he proposed to make for dinner!!!! You can use this or not, but hope you get a laugh from it too!!!

Rose Rambler Stew

  • 2 pounds rotten beef
  • 1/4 pound moldy bacon
  • 1 bad egg
  • 1 small piece of driftwood (chopped small)
  • 2 feet of old rope  (well shredded)
  • 6 small cockroaches
  • 12 cigarette stubs
  • 2 Tablespoons of diesel oil
  • 1/4 pint of bilge water

    - Wipe meat on engine.

- Heat cooker until red hot, add diesel oil and cook meat until black.  

- Add bilge water and all other ingredients, cover; place on high heat and when steam escapes, place weight on vent pipe.  

- If steam does not escape, take no notice.  

- Cook for 24 hours.  

- Remove from heat and have another drink whilst cooker cools.  

- Garnish with varnish and serve lukewarm.

If cooker explodes, buy another yacht and try again but reduce diesel oil by one third.





About the KANDARIK family

Family in Whangarei, New Zealand 1987

Who was aboard?

  • Andy the Captain, Father, Husband, Mechanic, Navigator, Electrician, Plumber, and mostly the wonderful fantastic HUSBAND and Bread kneader!!!

  • Pam the worrier, the chef or really merely cook, Mother, teacher, Tusitala or Teller of Stories! Mate, helmswoman, dreamer, and Wife!

  • Sammy, Samantha, who sailed with us from her earliest months, graduated from Nova Southeastern University after high school in France. Sammy was a child psychologist with the State of Maine for over seven years. She worked helping handicapped, autistic, and battered children. She is engaged to an Australian, with a Valiant 40 and will sail with him and their children!! She is out cruising the Bahamas with her fiancé! The apple does not fall far from the tree!!!!

  • Jamie, James, who also sailed with us from his first months, is now a wonderful young man. Jamie is busy in Miami driving his architectural business.

What kind of boat did you have?

KANDARIK, a Freya 39, is a thoroughbred of a boat design for sure! She was lovingly built by me and Andy and could not be a better home and voyager for our family. She is moored at the foot of our garden anxious for new adventures.

What are you doing now?

We came home from sailing around the world just as West Marine was beginning to build a new store right around the corner from our house! I got a job as a cashier, and less than a few months later I became one of the assistant managers. That was over 18 years ago! How time flies!!! I have been working for West Marine ever since we stepped foot back on home soil!!! I have been Outfitting Manager and “go to” person for any kind of cruising information. Now I am in a new position as Sales Manager for the Megayacht Division of West Marine.

I have been lucky to be asked by West Marine, and many other associations, to give talks around the country on many subjects that pertain to our cruising life! It is something I enjoy most of all, passing on the dream, the reality, and the ability to go out there and SAIL with your family!

My children sometimes come with me to the British Virgin Islands where I am an instructor for Bitter End Yacht Club’s Women on the Water Week, where women teach women how to sail. What a concept!!! Such fun, such laughter, such a great time to empower women with the knowledge to KNOW how to sail! Any woman, who really wants a good instructor to teach her to sail and ENJOY it, should attend Women on the Water Week, WOW!

Andy is the one who STARTED our wonderful lives together.

Andy at the helm of the schooner VALROSA
(Tahiti 1965).
  Andy and Pam Wall
(North Carolina - 2008)


Andy was the most excellent sea man that ever sailed.

He was a sailboat rigger all his life, and there are too many words I have to describe him to put into this description of our family.

Andy cast off on his final voyage a year and a half ago, in October of 2008.

We know he is on a beam reach and smiling as he looks down on his family, knowing he gifted us with the love of adventure, the love of our family, and the desire to see the world from our cockpit!!! Thank you, dear Andy, for a wonderful life with you.

Your blog or website(s)?

I now have my own website www.pamwall.com. I am using this site to pass along more information, more inspiration, and more knowledge to other sailors and cruisers! I hope you join me on this new fun website!


Read also, on this website (in the Cruising Children Speak series):
Sammy around the world: how it all began, by Samantha Wall


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To leave a comment, email it to Kathy Parsons: kathy@forcruisers.com