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Join the family, lend a helping hand.

About

Hello all! We are a family of 4 on a 50' sailboat and we are looking for people who are the same kind of crazy as us to become a part of the family.

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The Boat

Our boat is a 50' Hudson Force 50 Ketch Rig, built in 1986. She is an old boat, but a great boat. I should restate though that she is old, and thus requires a lot of love and maintenance. The boat has two *somewhat-private* cabins (we don't have doors, just curtains that create the privacy), a middle area that we refer to as the "boys' room/play room", a common area/kitchenette, and one bathroom. We technically have another bathroom forward, with a shower and a composting toilet, but both are currently out of commission. Since it is normally only us aboard, or like-minded people, we are normally okay with sharing the one toilet and we all bathe outside on deck...different times of course.

 

Our kitchenette has a small three burner propane stove/oven, a freezer, and a small fridge. We just decommissioned our second fridge because the compressor isn't running as it should, so it pulls more power from the batteries than it should be when it is working properly... opposite the kitchenette is the common area (salon), where the "dining table" is at, and we have an interior helm station here too. Our boat is almost fully "off the grid". We have a battery bank that powers the boat, and it is charged by solar panels most of the time. When there is no sunshine, we use the generator or the boat engine to charge the batteries. At the moment we are fairly careful about energy consumption, but perhaps someday when we can afford lithium batteries- we'll be less anal about when we charge devices and how we use our energy, For now though, the best time to charge USB devices is during the day. :)

 

Our boat holds 400L of fresh water. One of our big projects is to make larger tanks. One of our bigger projects is to buy a large water-maker. At the moment though this is what we hold, and we are careful to use the fresh water sparingly. (saltwater showers with fresh water rinses, dishes washed in saltwater and rinsed with fresh, etc....) I think that is the boat in a nutshell.

The Project

The boat is currently located in Tahiti, French Polynesia. We plan to sail to an atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago in May/June and live there - on the boat at first while we get a lay of the land - but long-term goals include building structures on the land that we can live in....a house someday when we can afford it. So our plan is not quite sailing/cruising around French Polynesia, but it also isn't completely land based....it is a bit of both worlds. This location will be fairly remote, we will only have two "close" neighbors, it'll mostly be just us out there on coconut tree covered land and pretty water. As my aunt who's land we'll be anchoring off of would say, "there is nothing". This isn't true though, there is a lot....but not in the way that most people would think.

 

Several big projects we plan to do upon arrival:

  • make a mooring for the boat (maybe a few) and drop them where they need to go

  • clean out cisterns already there (water catchment tanks) so we can use them for water collection

  • explore this area, and another area where I will hopefully be able to build my house someday

  • slowly tidy up the area to build a large garden/chicken farm

 

............we just want to be self sustainable with our own place living our lives......

At the bottom of the page, I'll include a more in-depth write up of our "big dreams" for the motu, and the wish-list for people out there who might want to sponsor us.

What Kind of Help Are We Looking For?

The same kind of crazy that we are LOL responsible, adventurous, courteous, independent, curious, innovative, intuitive, minimalist like minded people who like kids. *we don't need the generic "boat crew" but we also don't need the generic "aupair"* ... we are looking for a combination of the two that will become family for the time with us and I'm sure long afterwards.

There will be some sailing involved, some boat projects, and lots of downtime with our two baby boys just hanging out with them during "work hours" having fun, exploring, changing diapers, handwashing kids laundry (I normally do the stomping in a bucket method) etc... I need another single mom I can tap in when I have to get work done, and then when I'm tapped back in we can hangout or the person can for adventure on land if wanted. For more details on the location, loose plans, and what we're looking for - contact me. I'm working on a little youtube video to communicate this more clearly....but in a nutshell just think of it as spending time on a deserted island with a family.

Duration

2 weeks + longer stays are nicer but people always have the option to leave if this just isn't one's cup of tea. There is an airport near by on the atoll. We will never ask someone to stay with us who isn't enjoying his/her time.

 

What does the Helper get out of this: lodging, eating with us, experiences that most people don't even know are out there... some sailing in french polynesia, occasional trips with us to the atoll's village where there will be lots of local interactions, adventure, solitude, headaches from young energetic boys, mosquito bites probably, lots of fresh fish, paddle boarding or kayaking, beautiful locations....it can be as beautiful or ugly an experience as you make it. I'm sure whoever stays with us will become family for life and always be welcome back.

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"On" Hours

Let's discuss this, because this isn't a normal situation and we will need to talk with through with the person so we're all on the same page. Trust me, we don't want you ON all the time, we'll just have to figure our days/times together. This may also change when we are actively sailing, just because my husband and I would normally be ON full time, and may need full-time help with the kids at that point. Sailing should be longer than 4 days at the longest, and that would only be the trip to the atoll from Tahiti.

 

We may ask for some $$ contributions to buying food on the way there...but once we are there no one will be spending much money because we'll be in the polynesia boonies.

 

This of this and helping us try to build our little off the grid community in the middle of the ocean... :)

Image by Julie Molliver

Wish List

  • gas powered chain saw, with 3 extra chains, and file for sharpening chains

  • Ax and file to sharpen

  • 2 normal sized shovels

  • gas powered wood chipper, various spare parts that wear out fast

  • 2 hammers

  • various sizes of nails and screws

  • 2 hoes

  • 2 spade

  • 2 rakes

  •  small gardening shovels

  •  conex container lg or sm

  •  post hole shovel

  •  lg pry bar

  •  saws

  •  4, 5 gallon gas cans with gas

  •  2 gallons of 2 stroke oil

  •  come-a-long (power puller)

  •  600 ft of ¼ inch polypropylene rope

  •  1 spool of wire mesh 6mm / ¼ in

  •  seizing wire .032 in /.813 mm

  •  various screwdrivers

  •  socket set standard and metric

  •  various veggie seeds and or sprouts

  •  5 gallon buckets

  •  50 gallon drums as many as we can get

  •  galvanized corrugated metal sheeting as much as we can get

  •  galvanized gutters, downspouts, elbows, ect.  as much as we can get

  •  sheet metal cutters

  •  metal hack saw

  • 10 tilapia

  •  chickens

  •  cinder blocks as many as we can get

  •  200 pounds of concrete

  •  bamboo

  •  various pliers

  • solar panels, batteries, inverter, power cables and connections

Community Garden

Project Motu

Big dreams take time, and in our case, a community.

Our goal is to create a fully self sustaining community that helps feed the local population with fresh organic produce on a motu (islet) of the atoll AHE, one of many atolls that consist of the Tuamotus. Locals are normally required to ship in produce (or anything really) at an higher price and it doesn’t necessarily always arrive in the freshest condition (they don’t receive and/or eat rotten food, to be clear, but a farm on the motu would certainly cut the shipping costs down and provide truly fresh organic produce to these wonderful people).   We would also like for this project to formulate into a place where people who help build it, as well as others with interest, can visit and stay for some time in order to reconnect with themselves and nature, while also helping us and the community live off the land.   Living on an atoll in the south pacific almost forces upon people a more simple life that involves living off the ocean, the land if it is cultivated, and reverting back to a more collectivistic lifestyle.  For this project to work, we will benefit from a lot of help and support.  It is going to require time, patience, and lots of preparation work.  It is also going to require many tools and skills.

Stage one of Project Motu can be broken up into two separate, yet corresponding parts: to set up a basic communal living area with the natural materials of the land (coconut trees, kahaia trees, etc) and to start and work a fully functioning farm. Stage two consists of setting up a dome that will be the center of the community and serve as a water catchment, storage facility, provide security for the community if it gets hit by a hurricane or other natural disaster. Really, we are trying to get back to a simpler time, a time and place where people aren’t consumed by material goods. We are truly looking forward to some good, personally fulfilling hard work, quality fresh food, great company.

We are going to need help to get this project off the ground and running, and we will gladly accept and welcome anyone who wishes to help and be a part of this project.  You might be asking yourself how you can help contribute? Well, there are a few different ways in which you can help out in Project Motu:

This project will require some money in order to buy the things we need that we can’t necessarily make ourselves, such as durable plastic cisterns that will allow us to retain any rainwater we might catch, as well as other things (power tools, hand tools, etc). Thus, charitable donations are very much welcomed and highly appreciated! Donations of tools or other things that the project might need (a list of required supplies above) will also be accepted with the utmost appreciation.

Finally, perhaps one of the most unique and exciting ways that you can help us out is to donate your time and come join us in making this project a reality!  The end result of this ongoing mini self-sustaining community will be no-doubt amazing, but building it will be a unique learning opportunity in itself.  It will be an opportunity to construct local buildings (thatch fare ni’aus), made of natural materials provided by the land, and it will be a memorable experience in which we will learn as a team how to cultivate land most might assume as sterile. If you decide to come and help us out, it’s not like you’ll be required to work all-day, everyday. Work will be divided up and you will be responsible for completing a task with others in a predetermined amount of time.  We also highly believe in Siesta (aka. lunch and NAP time), and free time to enjoy what this beautiful atoll and lifestyle has to offer- clear lagoon water, fishing, surfing at the pass, etc.  You will definitely have enough free time to go and explore the area we will be living in.  Also, if you have specialty skills that you think would aid in this project, please let us know as we can always use more help…. many hands makes light work, or in Hawaii, they say laulima.

Stage one will consist of setting up the basics for living and a working farm.  We will have to clear some of the land so we can set up the living quarters, communal kitchen, bathrooms, eating areas, workshops, and gathering areas. Some land will also need to be cleared for the farm area(s).  Our general idea for the farming area(s) is raised planters, so we have control of the soil. We might consider doing some aquaponics so we can, essentially, hit the ground running and not have to worry about how long composting may take nor how long the wait might be before freshly grown food is made available. The natural soil on the motu is made up of sand, coral, and a little bit of dirt; not the best for farming. So in order for the farm to be successful in producing various kinds of produce, we will need to compost, and compost a lot.  The composting will take months of work before any results are seen and then months of growing to see if our hard work pays off.  As stated above, we want a fully functioning farm that will feed all of us within the community of workers, and then enough to make available to the rest of the atoll inhabitants.  There is not enough “bio waste” or composting fuel in our area to do this right off the bat, so it will take awhile to create and catch (via fishing) our compost.  The goal for the farm will include around 20 or more planter boxes, each planter box to be 3ft wide by 12ft long and 2ft deep (roughly 3 feet to 1 meter for our international friends). Fruiting trees will be in two different sized planters: the first size will be 3ft x 3ft and 3ft deep, the larger sized will be 6ft x 6ft and 3ft deep. We are also planning on raising chickens, pigs, and ducks, so we will have to build livestock areas for them to live in (but that may become a later project).  The first stage is the hardest but if we get it all done and fully functioning, we will have set up a community that can fully support itself and others in the area.

In Stage two, we will construct the dome, or to be more specific, a sphere with half of it underground.  The sphere will be made of steal reinforced concrete, which will provide a safe place to wait out any storm, provide a place to store any expensive tools or supplies that might try to walk away, and also act as an additional water storage area.  The interior will have three levels.  The uppermost area will be for storage and might double as a radio/ satellite communication/ Battery storage area.  The exterior half of the sphere that will appear to be a dome will have four levels of ascending built-in terraces that will act as additional planting areas. The top of the Sphere is where we could set up a sizable solar panel array, supplying us with more power then we’ll need.  We could also set up VHF, SSB, and/or other radio and satellite communication antenna and receivers- giving our little community an opportunity to keep in touch with people abroad. Yes, one of our main goals is to come to the motu to get away from everything and reconnect with ourselves and nature, but we all have families to stay in contact with.  Fun fact:  we may not have have the greatest cellphone service, if any, and international cellphone services add up regardless of how conservative you might try to be.

Both stages one and two can be done at the same time if we have the man power and resources to get them accomplished.  We’d really like some feedback and/or suggestions for this project, seeing how we have never attempted something remotely close to this, so please feel free to contact us. If your feedback is negative, however, such as “you guys are nuts, stop now” or “ how much are you paying us”, any negative thoughts or comments really, please keep them to yourselves.  This is a judgment free zone!  We understand that some people may not agree with, nor believe in our project idea, and that’s perfectly fine and natural, but we fully believe in this project and we believe in the satisfaction that working together, planning together, and organizing together as a team will bring everyone involved.  So if this still sparks your interest, get in contact with us and we will keep you informed on timetables and any other information you might want to know.

The start date for Project Motu is currently undecided as we still have a lot to plan and organize but we are thinking of breaking ground some time in 2022/2023.