Thursday, February 5, 2009

Living Aboard

Now that we have been living aboard for over a week, I feel like I have some merited comments to make on the subject. Imagine your home, apartment whatever. Go into your bathroom. Now imagine that your bathroom is your entire house. Think about where you will put every conceivable thing necessary for living. Not only do you need a functional kitchen, personal affects, somewhere to sit/sleep and eat, you need tools, replacement parts, fuel, extra lines, pillows and blankets, definitely a book or two...but where to store all these things? We have spent days attempting to cram items into every nook and cranny--no square inch of space has gone unused.

Unfortunately, a boat isn't designed for storing personal affects. It's all about function. Storage space under beds or settees? Nope, that's where the water tanks are. How about the cockpit?
Nope, it's full of batteries and ropes and personal flotation devices. Under the kitchen counter? Pots and pans? No, a diesel engine! Imagine squeezing every personal belonging into two small drawers. To make things more difficult, imagine all your storage area 'sweating' with condensation, or worse, leaking rain from outside. Every single thing mounted in, on, or around the boat provides one more possible hole for water to seep into. Every morning, I will open one drawer, or discover a shelf in which everything is soaked with water. Be it from our holding tanks or outside...a home that is completely submerged in water is bound to get wet somewhere on the inside. Nothing is safe.

Other boat-living difficulties include getting on and off the boat. I remember the days when I could just wake up, get ready and walk out the front door. Now the front door is a small hatch that requires excessive clambering, only to arrive at...a sidewalk? No. A huge chasm filled with water with nothing but a small wooden post and rope to get you across. Yes, you have to dangle precariously between a swaying, drifting boat and a just-out-of-reach dock. Try to do this with a large bag of laundry and a heavy bottle of detergent. Try to do this without drowning, or loosing everything into the water. Try to do this every morning without looking like an idiot in front of all the other boaters. Try not to feel embarrassed when you give up and call for help, with one leg on a wooden piling and another wrapped around the dockline of the boat.

These are just a few of the many challenges to life on a boat, none of which I had anticipated. However there are some perks:

-You're fishing (hypothetically) and you catch a fish but you forgot your fillet knife. No you didn't! Because your whole kitchen is just below your feet, and your fillet knife is in the drawer!

-You feel lonely and miss your boyfriend. Well cheerup! Because he is literally, 12 inches away from you, behind that little door!! Go get a hug!

- (If you are Patrick) A cute little net hanging in the galley stores all your produce and keeps it safe while you are sailing.

-You love cuddling at night, but your boyfriend is all macho and hates it. Sleep in a V-berth!! You have no choice but to cuddle because it is exactly the size of two fully grown children.

-You are tired of seeing the usual wildlife. Squirrels, raccoons, etc. Boring. How about looking out the window and seeing a dolphin? Or a manatee, or a shark while you are making breakfast?

- Beautiful curls. (no hair straightener.)

-Gadgetry (ie: GPS, depth-finder, alcohol stove, foot pump sinks, 'hideaway secret table', VHF radio (you can hail Cruise ships! "Ocean Dream Cruise, Ocean Dream Cruise, Ocean Dream Cruise, this is sailing vessel 'Swift Ranger' requesting you to change course and dump all your drunk passengers overboard. This is 'Swift Ranger' standing by on channel 1-6, over.")

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