Our Family (& other animals)

This is us…

Fred / Michael

Walking a delicate line between grey-suited corporate journeyman and wannabe swashbuckling Jack Sparrow, Fred /  Michael’s schizophrenic character was only enhanced by changing his name from Michael (given name, still used at work) to his childhood family nickname Fred.  Everyone agrees Fred is a ridiculous name for a fully-grown man, but somehow it suits him.  Like most Skippers, Fred labours under the illusion that he’s in charge.   The rest of the family indulge him in this (until asked to do something they don’t want to, that is).  Someone please tell him his goaty doesn’t make him look like Johnny Depp.


Bruce Springsteen has nothing on Rebecca “The Boss” Nolan, who has now retired from bossing around most of the Beachlands community in her capacity as local GP and PTA Chairman, to focus her attentions on bossing around her family.  And who can blame her?  Lord knows they need it.  Rebecca is multi-talented, balancing strong sailing experience with provisioning the boat and organising the home schooling programme, focussing especially on the skipper who needs more schooling than all 3 boys put together.  We can rest assured that the boat medical kit will contain enough gear to cure most sick people across the Pacific – and should provide a helpful back-up for boat parties when the alcohol runs out.


Luca “the lion” Nolan, named less for his skills in mercilessly hunting down his prey, but more for the flatulance that follows a good feed (have you ever been near a lion cage at feed time?).   Luca sails his Optimist with some skill (and occasional scares), and can dance like a demon – a useful skill to have on a boat with 2 back-up ipods.    At 10 years old Luca is a bright and huggy child – he’ll hug anyone within 1 km radius including complete strangers looking like they need one.  Much like his father, he lives in a world of his own.


Gabriel leaves behind his finely tuned skills at scootering (mastering his first full tail-whip just weeks before departure) and a burgeoning rugby career to focus on developing his admirable yachting abilities.  At 9 years old he has already steered a 42ft yacht most of the way from Great Barrier Island to Auckland in 30 knot winds.  Like his mother, Gabriel knows what he wants and generally gets it – the rest of the family just find it easier that way.   Not huggy – don’t attempt it.


At 3½ years old, Jacob has had to fight his way up the Nolan food chain, and has honed his survival skills in unarmed combat with his brothers.  Jakey will be our main defence against any pirates we encounter.  He may also come in useful as a handy trade if money gets tight (only joking…..  that will be Gabriel).  Otherwise Jakey’s antics guarantee to entertain, be they free-form jazz dance, dive-bombing cushions , or talking the hind legs off donkeys.

Warning:    This won’t be a quiet boat.  Don’t anchor near us.

…and other animals:  Pudle

The family cat was left behind, enclosed in the arms of Ella, the 3 year old daughter of one of our best friends.  Not a backward glance did the wretched cat give.   Yes, Greta, the cat is called “Pudle”, pronounced pud (as in pudding) – ul (as in faithf-ul, someone our cat clearly isn’t).

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maitland
    Jul 31, 2011 @ 20:18:34

    Great blog guys. Really looking forward to the updates. You know yourselves so well and brave enough to write about it. I do agree about the goaty – gotta go. Have great time.


  2. chrissy and shayne, gulf retreat
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 17:08:29

    Hey the Nolans, we loved being close to you in the final stages of frantic packing, organising the boys entertainment, getting the boat ready: so many parcels arrived at your temporary stay in Maraetai, that we wonder, what might still arrive, once you have left. Hopefully nothing essential.We wish you a save journey, looking forward to reading about your adventures.
    Always a hand of water under the keel, that from Chrissy and Shayne


  3. biddy turner
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 22:51:20

    I’m assuming you are now at sea – having mastered the skype thing I hope we can set up sometime soon and do it again! So So proud and excited for you and have been nauseating my friends with your potential adventures! Now racing towards the beginning of a new term – looking at Universities for H, trying to get M to work for GCSE’s and stay away from Facebook, driving A round country to swim and play endless netball J going climbing in Ireland next month and I’m already getting excited about seeing you all at Easter! Hoping we can stay in contact. Lots of hugs and kisses to all Biddy xxxxx


  4. Fiona James
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 22:14:41

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY REBECCA 4 2m! Have just thoroughly enjoyed reading the blog. Fred you missed your calling- I can see a writing career coming on….
    Caught up with Lynne Alo the other day who said to tell you Nozzer/Nozza? is alive and well. I’d forgotten about that connection.
    Love to you all and happy sailing….


  5. Robyn
    Sep 06, 2011 @ 10:48:54

    Hi Nolan family – love the blog – have you made it to Vanuatu yet – and how are the cocktails….keep safe


  6. Susan and Brian
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 12:27:46

    Hope you are all well!
    How is Captain Kook?! Hope McTed wasn’t sea sick!
    Susan and Brian


  7. abdac2010
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 00:18:31

    Congratulations for taking the plunge and making it happen – it’s very inspiring! I think back to all those Sunday morning bike rides and hearing about your distant plans. After one year in land-locked Victoria, we are beginning to enjoy a social life here with new friends and Brian is happy so long as he can brew beer and watch rugby. But the all the RWC excitement we are still homesick and miss our family and friends. All the best and we look forward to hearing more. Adriana and the boyz


  8. Mandy Armstrong
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 04:18:42

    Belated Birthday wishes Becky from Molly, Peter, Tim and Mandy!
    (Mum was mortified she couldn’t send you a card!!!)

    Sounds like you are having a great time!


  9. Jin
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 18:15:06

    Great blog. Wonder who did all the work??? 🙂


  10. susiejanna
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 12:24:36

    I’m amazed and gratified to find this obscure and ravishing blog, which I only found after trawling both your facebook pages.
    This is better than RL Stevenson any day. What a wonderful wonderful journey, the whole site is adorable and thank you for such generous prose. Please keep it up.
    Auckland is full of rugby, they’ve tarted it up no end and international visitors are actually thinking we are slightly swishy and spend all our time in restaurants, looking at Art and enjoying worldclass native musicians who perform spontaneously on the street. All of this will go back in the box on 21st of course. Spring is vaguely here, in a wet way. Oh, we have an oil spill. Huge unseaworthy container with 1700 tonnes of oil in sump with drunk captain drives at full speed onto well charted reef off Tga and is still there. Oil on the beach at the Mount an inch thick at this stage. NZ govt is suing captain, who seems to be Liberian (where?) and probably earns about $10,000 a year. Boat is for sale for $1 in hilarious Trade Me joke, I’ll fwd it to you on the hotmail address.

    Serious congratulations on all your achievements. What a trip eh.

    loads of love
    Susie xxxxx


  11. susiejanna
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 12:27:43

    Why does this blog identify me with my wordpress password?
    I expect you know who I am
    Susie Flowers


  12. susan humphries
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 06:59:54

    Coffeeing Maraetai beachfront “Nolan” has become a code word. Semi strangers glance my way, raise a brow & enquire, “Nolans?” Must try to find them we all (well there are at least several people I know) say. This finds you well I know. Dont know where but doubtless hot happy & well away from Malls desperately flkgging


  13. susan humphries
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 07:01:57

    Coffeeing Maraetai beachfront “Nolan” has become a code word. Semi strangers glance my way, raise a brow & enquire, “Nolans?” Must try to find them we all (well there are at least several people I know) say. This finds you well I know. Dont know where but doubtless hot happy & well away from Shopping Malls desperately flogging a cheap xmas message. Susan. x


  14. Mary and James
    Dec 28, 2011 @ 21:50:56

    Just got your Christmas mail – hope this reaches you – dinosaurs have probs with computers! Greatly envious of your travels, enjoy, enjoy.
    JD’c pic looking down as this is typed. Can you imagine him on the boat??
    James and Mary
    ps got new email address but old one works still


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