(Quebec) Do not know as long Forns Marcus and his wife Johanne Gauthier, I would certainly agree with those who are crazy to engage in a round the world sailing with seven children, ages 2 months 11 years old.
But while the couple, its foams and their young labrador dog named Haze currently sail on the St. Lawrence towards the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, I think rather it be envied for having believed so passionately and as long this family dream they finally touch.
And believe me, if there is a family that can meet such challenges, it is that! Because apart from the youngest, Florence, born in May, there was no room for big surprises in the meticulous preparation of the residents of Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon, on the South Shore of Quebec.
“I understand the reaction of people,” says Marcus still the captain of 41 years. “” Irresponsible, “I heard. But I do not think it is irresponsible, “said the teacher in transportation, which put his work on break for this adventure.
Family, friends, “they know where we come from. They know our background … “says my old colleague of study at Bachelor outdoor and adventure tourism, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. A guy as comfortable on a bike to cross Canada with Johanne and their first toddler to face the cold in the north in winter camping. Or to compete in the St. Lawrence aboard their first boat, a 26 foot. “You know me,” JS, “I’m not a guy who takes risks. We’re not crazy heads … ”
After an eternity to dream and three years to prepare the boat and plan world tour with family, beautiful “crazy” like Marcus, Johanne (38), Raphael (11), Thomas (10), Charlotte (8 ), Juliette (6), Felix (4), Alice (2) and Florence (2 months) have cast off for good on July 3 in L’Isle-aux-Coudres.
A trip they were to present me that Sunday aboard the robust Pinocchio, their two-masted sailboat. The ketch of 43 feet dry dock for the winter in L’Isle-aux-Coudres had just been returned to the water and waited patiently before take off.
Unless the weather got involved. Just hours before I take the road to reach the whole family at anchor, I learned that Pinocchio was ahead of his departure to avoid bad weather which promised.
Finally, it is only a week later, while Forns-Gauthier were docked in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, in Haute-Gaspésie, I could reconnect with them by Skype.
The sun on the deck, the family went about their business in a good humor, after this first week of the river. “There was no sea sickness, this is a big plus!” Launched into a laugh Marcus, referring to the preparatory trip two months last summer on the St. Lawrence. It must be said that the band had been hit hard in the time during the first days …
A year later, the family of sailors has the stomach stronger, but it must regain its reflexes in the sea. “It is almost square,” outlines without much surprise the captain. While he can count on his wife and two oldest to the maneuvers, Marcus notes that the choreography remains to refine.
“One day at a time,” the philosopher chief of the tribe, who gets no pressure to this extraordinary journey that should stretch at least four years, if all goes as planned. “With children, we do it more quietly, that’s it!”
Iles-de-la-Madeleine in New Zealand
Pinocchio The first will focus on the Îles-de-la-Madeleine for the summer. An extraordinary gaming field to further the learning of young and old. Then it will be a free press descent from late August to the south along the east coast. The goal is to reach the Bahamas in December. “We want to stay there a bit to enjoy the place. In what has been said is an exceptional place for children, “says Marcus.
Then, Panama and its canal around February-March. Ideally New Zealand in November 2017. In May next, Australia and Indonesia continuing round the world to the West. So much for the outline.
“It’s very far away all!” Marcus weights, while Johanne agrees on the screen. For the duo knows that the plans will change along the way, just to give priority to the safety and experience of the band.
If necessary, a crew could be called up, particularly for penetrations such as the Pacific, where shifts are enchaîneront without much respite for the 20 to 25 days of travel. “We could not have problem to welcome someone aboard. But him? Does he want to meet us? “Laughs Marcus sweeping hand the boat deck swarming with children.
Adapting to new lifestyle
A holiday atmosphere clearly floated above the Pinocchio after a week of travel. “I have trouble imagining party for me so long,” says the captain. The new lifestyle will take a while to settle in, he believes. “Maybe when we will see more of spruce … or when we’ll see palm trees!”
An adaptation that children must also. “Leaving friends, that’s what they find most difficult, says Johanne. Especially that there is no Internet all the time at home … “But the activities on the Pinocchio abound: fishing, kitchen, navigation, exploration with Annex neighboring shores … the world opens to Forns-Gauthier.
If the return is not imminent, the family still kept his ties and kept her free duplex party to Saint Etienne. The other half will provide revenue to help cover the budget of the trip is $ 1,500 per month. If the need were to be felt, Johanne could resume remote translation contracts. But nothing like this in the near future.
The school will be on board in collaboration with the School Board … Navigators! Equipment was provided by the School of Chanterelle and Johanne, who herself was educated partly at home, take care to adapt the learning explorations of everyday life.
“Motivation” and “discipline” are the watchwords that will ensure success of the initiative, believes Johanne, business translator. Although they see education as the greatest challenge of the travel distance, the two lovers have no doubt that the experience will be greatly beneficial to children.
A crew that has not finished to turn heads in every port he tours worldwide. “It creates reactions,” laughs Marcus. “People make the jump when they see us nine on deck!”
But for Forns-Gauthier, it is then their reality in what is more normal. Even away from home.
“Traveling with kids, it’s not much different from the home family life, shows Marcus. This is our daily life, to be with lots of children! ”
To follow the adventure brumeetpinocchio.com