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                                                     A young cruiser’s
through the green canopy of a Costa
Rican rainforest, and sailing through
the remote islands of the South Pa-
cific, where...

                                                                                          the activities...
Staying at Le Tahaa Resort in French Polynesia, opposite. Above,
 smooth sailing aboard the Burgess’ 50-foot catamaran, Ze...
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Sailing At 11


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Cammi, our daughter, gets published at age 11 in Bluewater Sailing Magazine; March 2010

Published in: Travel
  • You write very well for an 11 year old, I am learning to be a journalist at university and I think that many people in my classes could not articulate themselves as well as you do! I hope that I see your name in magazines in the years to come.
    Keep up the good work and best wishes from Australia, Murray
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Sailing At 11

  1. 1. LIVING ABOARD A young cruiser’s unique take on T by Cameron Burgess he first time we went family life afloat cruising, I was so young that I don’t remember much, but pictures and video show me what we did. When I was three and my broth- er Cole was one, my parents took us memory is vivid and I have come to Panama Canal and the South Pacific on a two-year journey around the Ca- appreciate life as a cruising kid. Islands. I love living on a boat and ribbean and Bahamas on our 51-foot I am now 11 and we are sail- meeting new people along the way. sailboat, Uliad. After returning, we ing on a 50-foot catamaran named We have visited amazing places that lived in Newport, Rhode Island for Zen. We set off from Newport in can only be reached by sea and have seven years. Then, it was time to November of 2008 and are headed had many fun experiences, such as set off again. This time around, my for New Zealand via the Caribbean, diving in the Galapagos, zip lining 34 Sailing at 11 Blue Water Sailing • March 2010
  2. 2. through the green canopy of a Costa Rican rainforest, and sailing through the remote islands of the South Pa- cific, where in some areas, there are no airports or resorts. BALLET ON BOARD Many people ask what I miss the most about home. After friends and family, ballet beats everything. In Newport, my world revolved around my daily ballet classes, but that changed when I moved onto the boat. I don’t have much space to practice, but I make the best of it. If you pass by Zen, you’ll probably see me dancing around the saloon in my pointe shoes. My electric piano has replaced ballet for the next couple of years, and I love learning new songs. Many people say that my brother and I have a way with music, so I was thrilled when I found out we had space for a small electric piano and guitar on the boat. FAMILY MATTERS Another big change in our cruis- ing life is always being with my Opposite, Cameron scuba diving in the Galapagos. Above, family. When we lived in Newport, the whole Burgess family ziplining in Costa Rica my Dad left the house at 5 a.m. and didn’t come home until 10:30 p.m. turous life on the sea. Things we to trade these slight inconveniences I was extremely happy when he take for granted on land are often to gain the cruising lifestyle. I love would pick me up from dance and replaced with simpler but still very knowing that I can jump off the back just the two of us would go out to effective alternatives. A large closet, of the boat to go swimming. The dinner, or when he would get home for instance, is replaced by a few weather is almost always warm. Our early enough to kiss me goodnight. I small cabinets. A dishwasher is re- schedule is laid back and we spend basically didn’t see my dad for seven placed by a sink, two kids and some most of our days relaxing or reading years. Even on vacations, he had his elbow grease. There is never free a good book. Of course I fight with computer and cell phone with him. flowing water and electricity, so ev- my brother sometimes, but when For us, going cruising means having erything needs to be conserved or we living on a 50-foot boat, our parents a dad we see every day. This amaz- will quickly run out. We make fresh know about everything. When we ing experience has given our family water for drinking and washing with can’t find other kids to play with, I a great chance to form a wonderful our water maker, and we produce love to sit down and read or work on bond with each other. our own electricity from the sun and a bracelet made of string. Since res- wind. Even simple things like flush- taurants are not just down the street, THE CRUISING LIFESTYLE ing a toilet can be very different on a my mom uses her talent for amazing Living on a boat is very different boat, as you must hand pump toilets cooking, and everyone always enjoys from living on land. We make do 20 times for them to flush. her meals. We can’t help but watch with less in order to live our adven- At the end of the day, I’m happy her as she cooks down in the galley, 35
  3. 3. LIVING ABOARD the activities. That could mean that we skip school altogether or just postpone “class” until the afternoon. Occasionally, I even find myself do- ing multiple days of school in one day. My brother and I like to talk to other kids about home schooling and even do projects with them. My favorite part of home school- ing is going to places that I study in school. If I studied a country in geog- raphy or history, it’s really cool to get there and already know the back- ground and topography. The hardest and from that Cole and I are learning when you live in a foreign country part of home schooling is contacting from a great chef. for a while. For several months, we our teacher on land. Sometimes I cruised Venezuela, Columbia and have a question that my parents CRUISING KIDS Panama, all Spanish-speaking coun- can’t answer and we might not get Although our paths may stray, we tries. My Spanish became pretty good an e-mail back from our teacher for are usually playing with kids from because I had to use it every day. I’m a week. Although we have e-mail, we other cruising boats. We are always studying French now because we are don’t always have Internet access for happy to find someone on the same sailing to the islands of French Polyne- research. Luckily, there are usually route, but even if they aren’t, it’s sia in the South Pacific. other cruisers nearby, so we try to great to hang out and play at the ma- The worst part about making new use their knowledge. rina or water ski through an anchor- friends is leaving them. When I meet age. Meeting kids is sometimes hard kids who share my love for cruising, TRUE LUXURIES to do, but my brother and I consider it’s not fun to know that I will possi- I have saved the best part of ourselves masters of the art. No bly never see them again. We almost cruising for last: traveling, taking longer shy, we are happy to jump in always exchange e-mail addresses tours, having fun and enjoying the the water and swim over to any boat and I keep in touch with most of the local culture and people. These are that looks like it has kids aboard. people I have met so far. the luxuries the whole family looks Finding cruising girls is not easy, so forward to after a long passage at I have gotten used to hanging out A FLOATING CLASSROOM sea. Unlike a regular vacation on a with boys. Boys are normally fun One of the biggest parts of our day plane, our “vacations” last as long and bring out the adventurous part is home schooling. I am currently as we want them to. Even though of me, but I love to hang out and home schooled in sixth grade, while customs and immigration give us chat with girls, too. my brother is in fourth grade. This is time restrictions, we can usually stay Before meeting another kid, Cole my first year in home schooling and somewhere as long as we please. and I always wonder if they speak I love it. Some cruising kids don’t After arriving at a port, we check in English. Most of the kids we meet like home schooling at all, but I can’t with customs and immigration so we are from other countries, so we are think of anything bad about it. can legally go ashore. The first order forced to learn their language or School starts after breakfast at 7 of business when we arrive is food make up a sign language of our own. a.m. and ends right before lunch, shopping, or as we say on a boat, It’s amazing how you can figure out around 11 a.m., which leaves the rest provisioning. Provisioning is always how to communicate with someone of the day for family adventures. an adventure. A project that takes an who speaks a language that you I have my own schedule, and each hour at home can take an entire day don’t know. day I get to choose the order of my while cruising. The fruits and veg- I have recently become interested subjects. If we are at an island and etables are never at the same place in learning new languages, and it’s have things planned for the day, we as the meats, and the bread and much easier to learn a language do what works best in order to enjoy cereal are never at the same place as 36 Blue Water Sailing • March 2010
  4. 4. Staying at Le Tahaa Resort in French Polynesia, opposite. Above, smooth sailing aboard the Burgess’ 50-foot catamaran, Zen the cookies, which means you may side view of many different cultures. lar and tanned, are also very friendly. end up going to five different places Instead of staying at a hotel, we end The pathways and roads are free of before you find what you are looking up meeting locals who enjoy show- litter, and the simple homes of the for. After provisioning, we love to go ing us their village or city. In Venezu- people who live there are equally well to local restaurants and enjoy tasting ela, we met a nice couple who took taken care of. On the mornings that all kinds of new foods. us on their speedboat for a fast ride we went ashore, we were welcomed Since we always want to do fun around the bay. They also showed by the smiling faces of people picking things when we arrive somewhere, us the mountains and rainforests of flowers off the ground. The anchor- one of the items on our to-do list is the country by taking us on a hike ages are surrounded by towering green finding a tour guide. To find a good near a waterfall. It was truly amaz- mountains. With binoculars, we could one, we usually consult other cruis- ing to climb up the waterfall as the see majestic wild horses and goats ers. This resource is also handy when rain poured down on my head. The grazing high up in the clearings. looking for things like boat parts and couple also took us to many local Home schooling, traveling and food. A tour on land normally starts restaurants and introduced us to everyday life on a boat are very in a cab or on a bus. Sometimes it is new and delicious foods. Even in the different from living on land. You just our family, and other times we dangerous anchorages of Venezuela, come to appreciate the convenienc- join big groups. Typically, one to four we felt safe with them. es we take for granted at home, different tour guides take us by foot, Another of my favorite places such as a washing machine and car or boat to see all of the interest- was the San Blas Islands, just off free flowing water and electricity, ing places on the island that we are the coast of Panama. They were so but after you experience life on a visiting. One of my favorite tours desolate, yet full of cruisers. It was boat, you wouldn’t trade it for any- was on the equator. On our diving great fun to watch the local Kuna thing. Cruising is something you tour in the Galapagos, although the Indians make bracelets and weave will remember forever. There are air was hot, we found ourselves in the traditional molas (patterns on so many opportunities to explore freezing cold water, swimming with pieces of cloth sewn by the women). and enjoy life. The cruising life huge schools of manta rays. The beautiful Marquises Islands of may not be for all kids, but for me, One really cool part of traveling French Polynesia were yet another it feeds my love for family adven- on a boat is that we get to see the in- favorite. The people, who are muscu- ture and excitement. 37