After their infant daughter became ill and required military rescue, Eric and Charlotte Kaufman have defended their decision to sail to the South Pacific with their two young children.
When 1-year-old Lyra Kaufman developed a fever and a full-body rash, her parents couldn’t take her to a doctor. They were at sea, 900 miles off the coast of Mexico, in a 36-foot sailboat called the “Rebel Heart.” The San Diego couple maintain that they “prepared as well as any sailing crew could.” Eric Kaufman is a Coast Guard-licensed captain, according to the Associated Press.
However, some family members “saw the potential” for danger. Charlotte’s brother James Moriset told NBC San Diego:
"I don't understand what they were thinking to begin with. I'm sorry, I don't even like to take my kids in a car ride that would be too dangerous, and it's like taking them out into the big ocean?"
Charlotte’s sister Sariah English was initially skeptical, but trusted that the couple was careful and capable. She told the Associated Press:
"They were not going into this blind. I knew they were doing this wisely," English said.
Charlotte Kaufman was subject to doubts as well. She wrote that the struggles of parenting were exacerbated by the challenges of life at sea:
I think this may be the stupidest thing we have ever done. 'Stupid' is the number one word that resonates throughout my day as we tick the slow minutes away to the kids' bed times each night. 'Why am I doing this?' 'What the f--- was I thinking?'
At the passing of a week on the “Rebel Heart,” Kaufman addressed Lyra in a blog entry:
WE are the nutballs who decided to set to sea with you. Trust me, we have no one else to blame for bringing a 13 month old to sea than ourselves. I keep telling myself that Bora Bora will be worth it, worth what I'm now calling 'extreme parenting.'
Morale appeared to improve in the following week. In a March 31 entry, Kaufman wrote that she was “in good spirits.” Days later, the “Rebel Heart” was taking on water. The vessel was sunk by authorities to prevent it from becoming a navigation hazard, the LA Times reported.