Well, we made it through. The boat didn’t sink, we still love each other, and I am back at my desk with the rocking feeling of the boat still under me.
I’d say for a trip that involved several days of living on a boat things went very smoothly. There were some issues and challenges, but they weren’t catastrophic and were or will be fixed. One will require a trip up the stick to change the anchor light, and the other will require me to learn more about the one system I’ve procrastinated digging into: the head
(the macerator pump, specifically). From my time on this forum and books
I have read, it seems one is not a proper boat owner if he/she has not had to deal with marine
sanitation issues, so I will consider it my initiation. Fortunately, the issue didn’t arise until we were back in the slip yesterday afternoon, so it didn’t impact the entire trip.
Enough with the bad; here’s what I learned:
1. It is different from camping, as space is far more limited. Accessing one item usually means moving three or four others, which can require a lot of patience. I am certain that this improves over time as you adapt to living in a small area.
2. Organization is critical and must be strategic.
3. All areas of the boat serve multiple purposes. By living in a house we are engrained with notions that certain items/activities only belong in certain areas, but on a boat that just cannot be the case…at least on our small boat. For instance, when cooking
, it wasn’t uncommon to prep items or have them set aside on the chart table, cockpit
seat, or companionway
steps. All areas have names, but in reality they are just surfaces and provide a lot more benefit than their name suggests.
4. I tend to worry a lot, and I worried a lot more on this trip than expected. In fact, the first night at anchor I didn’t sleep at all and was a bit of a nervous wreck. The second I closed my eyes my head would fill with “Are we dragging?” “Are we visible enough?” “How are we doing on battery
power?” “What the hell was that noise
?” I’ve never been so relieved to see the sun come up, which incidentally, was breathtaking.
5. Guests don’t get it. We had overnight guests come out for the last night, and they just didn’t seem to get it. Not that it is entirely their fault, but the idea of self sufficiency requires thought, planning, and fairly significant responsibility. While I very much enjoyed their company, I also noticed how easily they would forget to turn off cabin
lights, or want to blast the stereo for hours on end without considering the source of that power. Finding a balance in the conveyance of such issues without being a tyrant adds another layer of stress, and can be a bit frustrating.
tastes better in the cockpit
. Conversations are better at anchor than they are on land. Sunsets are incredible as they dance across the water
. Sleep (when had) is deeper and much more fulfilling on a boat.
7. It takes a bit of time to realize that it is ok to have nothing to do and to relax, but it is wonderful when you finally do.
8. And lastly, I am going to be a father. My wife informed me that the dreams we share of a life aboard will now include at least one more. Astounding, a little terrifying, and overwhelmingly exciting.
All in all, I’d say it was a success, and life altering in more ways than one. We’ve got a long ways to go and a lot to learn, but we become smarter, stronger, and a more cohesive team each time we set sail, drop anchor, reef the main, land at a dock
, chase an elusive electrical
issue, etc. I can’t wait for more, and really appreciate the support and encouragement of the folks on this forum.