Australia Beats France

The boys discover their rugby playing roots in the Gambier Islands.

November 25, 2014
France (left) chases Australia (right). Mike Litzow

The French national team beat Australia at rugby this week.

You might have missed that result. We would have, except that we found ourselves in the company of two rugby fans – one French, one Kiwi – on the day the match was broadcast here in the Gambier.

A couple days later, the enormity of this outcome finally sank in.

The boys discovering their rugby roots with a Kiwi enthusiast and a French enthusiast on Taravai Island, the Gambier. I was safely on board Galactic, doing some science thing or another. Mike Litzow

“How could France be any good at rugby?” I asked Alisa. We were in the comfortable confines of the Marital Seabunk, enjoying the sleepy 15 minutes of independence that we enjoy every day, between the time the boys go to sleep and the time when we nod off.

“I mean,” I continued, warming to my theme, “it seems to suggest that there’s something lacking in my understanding of France. Or of rugby.”

Alisa didn’t have much to contribute on the theme, so I went on.

The boys couldn’t have enjoyed it more. Mike Litzow

“Think about it. France is good at so many things. And Australia is good at so few. And then France went and beat Australia at one of the few things Australia is good at. Hardly seems fair.”

Meet the crew of Galactic: Mike and Alisa Litzow and their sons Elias and Eric. “When we left Alaska to sail to Australia with our toddler for crew, we thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. But then we had our second child, and bought our second boat, and sailed across the Pacific a second time. We’ve been living aboard for seven years now. Sometimes we wonder how long we’ll keep at it, but all we know for sure is that the end doesn’t seem to be in sight just yet.” Follow their story at


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