Our Family

Who are we?
Well, my name is Chris and my wife is Sheila and we have been married a long time. We have two boys, Joel (born '94) and Gerrit (born '96). In late 1993, we mused over a very simple goal: "Sail away, April 2002". And we did it!

We used to live in Calgary, Alberta, located on the eastern foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Prior to this trip, I spent 12 years as a natural gas marketer and prior to that I was a land surveyor. I have a Bachelor of Commerce degree (marketing) from the University of Calgary and a technical diploma (honors) in Survey Engineering from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Since the birth of our first son, Sheila has kept our home and done a wonderful job raising our two sons. She too has a technical diploma (honors) in Survey Engineering from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and worked in that industry prior to kids.

Joel and Gerrit are both fantastic and outgoing boys who are very enthusiastic about the trip. They were home-schooled, though (as Sheila is fond of saying) we didn't intend to let school interfere with their education. Prior to our trip, both Joel and Gerrit attended a French immersion elementary school, École St. Luke.

In September 1999, at the age of 3, our youngest son Gerrit was diagnosed with Type-1 (juvenile) diabetes: he is insulin dependent.

Why did we go sailing for 5 years?
There were a number of reasons why we chose to go on a multi-year sailing trip. First, there was the lure of adventure. In the mid-80s, Sheila and I had toured Europe for almost a year in a VW campervan and still vividly remember those good times as if they had happened yesterday. Second, we love camping and exploring and kids have only added to the experience. In the years leading up to our departure we often camped out 30 to 40 nights a year. Finally, there's more to life then getting up, going to work, coming home to your family dead tired, and repeating that day after day. Before the kids became teenagers, we wanted to spend prime time as a family and to give our kids life skills and experiences they will never forget.