A Year Living on a Boat
It's been a year since we sold the house and moved aboard. That year went really quickly! People often ask us about the transition from house to boat:- how we cope with sharing close quarters without killing each other, and life in general bereft of luxury things like a washing machine or our lovely snuggly deep plush sofa.
While there are times I do miss aspects of life on land, the pros overwhelmingly outweigh the cons thus far. I think too, that when people hear we're living on a boat they're visualizing a cramped, dark, dank, cold, smelly tub with a one burner camp oven, no refrigeration and an overflowing port-a-potty behind a curtain. So I think it's time to dispel any myths and organize a boat tour! Let me preface this by saying our boat does NOT look like this when we're going sailing. All the fou-fou stuff is packed away, counters and shelves are cleared of any potential projectiles and all our cabinets and drawers are locked.
Our galley comfortably accommodates one person and for me, is quite well equipped. We have a refrigerator, a two burner stove with gas oven, a freezer, two sinks, a microwave...just about everything we had in our house, just miniature. We don't have a lot in the way of small appliances these days, just a stick blender and our Nespresso coffee maker. I used to have a Kitchen Aid mixer, large blender, coffee maker and espresso machine, toaster, kettle, juicer - an infinite array of every gadget in creation that sat under the stairs gathering dust because they were so rarely used. In our simplified life, I'm content with a nice set of knives, a collapsible box grater, a wooden spoon and a whisk. We eat pretty well aboard Eione, and I've yet to be stymied because I don't have the right gadget. With my limited storage space, I've become a huge fan of anything collapsible - bowls, colanders, graters, whisks, salad spinner - pretty much all used on a daily basis but tucked away nicely when not in use. Our oven is tiny, so no 18lb turkey for us this year! We have a toaster-oven-sized set of ovenware which is the perfect size to cook just the right amount for two of us. We have a set of nesting pots and pans (dutch oven, skillet, 3 saucepans with lids) that fit nicely under the sink when not being used. We only have two drawers in the galley, so it's definitely a case of "everything in it's place", and I love that all I need is within arm's reach. Sometimes, depending on how many there are for dinner or what I'm cooking, space is at a premium and I'm not ashamed to admit I use the companionway stairs to stage my food prep!
When we first bought the boat I was seriously concerned we wouldn't have enough storage space, but even with all the stuff we have now, we still have lockers we haven't used. Our cozy salon is where just about everything other than cooking happens. Daz works, we watch TV, we nap (occasionally...well...) read, have friends over - all the normal things one would do in a living room in a house. We have a great surround sound system and stereo and a good sized TV. While the cushions aren't as deliciously comfortable as our sofa was at the house, the added bonus is that we can drop the table, pile on the cushions and quilts and have a lovely snuggly double bed to lounge in on lazy/cold/just because days. We have lots of storage behind the seat backs and under the seats, and we keep all sorts of things like food, fuel filters, cleaning products, batteries, luggage and laundry supplies stowed in these areas. We also have storage under the floor.
Our bathroom, or "the head" in sailor-speak, enables us to shower on board without schlepping a dobie bag up the dock. We can shower at anchor too! While certainly not spacious by any means, we're comfortable and we can live high on the hog with a whole 5 gallons of hot water before it's out and we have to wait for it to heat up again. We have an electric flush toilet, which is very glamorous considering our previous boat had a manual hand pump and dials had to be turned to pump the right way and back again and blah blah...so we feel quite fancy with this lovely push button one! No double sinks here, but even if we did we'd never fit in together anyway, so one is just fine.
The nav station has many uses. We monitor our solar, water and battery levels. We turn things off and on. We talk on the radio. We can use it to do "nav" stuff. We can use it as a makeshift bar when we have guests over. We can use it as a general hold all for things such as bags, keys, wallets, phones, chargers, lipsticks, odd coins, screws, bits of wire, hats and glasses - a deplorable shambles of random crap (and truth be told, this is how it is the majority of the time). Think of it as a junk drawer we can't close.
Our aft cabin is where we sleep. We have a very comfortable queen sized bed, two hanging lockers, cabinet storage space and lots of storage under the bed too. Plenty of room for our clothes, linens, towels and shoes. I think I'm more comfortable than Daz though - he sleeps on the inside so he has to climb over me if he wants to get up at night.
Our forward cabin is our guest room and sometimes garage, depending on what's happening on any given day. When not accommodating guests, it tends to be piled high with assorted items such as paddle boards, drones, cockpit cushions, cameras, winch handles, multi packs of paper towel and toilet paper - pretty much anything we haven't put away but can close the door on if unexpected guests drop by.
Our cockpit is where we like to spend most of our time on nice days. It's great to watch the world go by, eat dinner, read a book, have happy hour or three with friends, nap - anything you want really. We can comfortably seat about 8 people, (10 if they're all really good friends) and we enjoy being out there any time of day.
Important information right here folks: Tides (not the laundry detergent, but the moon/water/up/down thing) matter when doing laundry. We don't have a washing machine on board, so we do schlep up the dock when we need clean clothes. The first time I did this in Ensenada, I took my cart full of clothes, sheets and towels up the dock to find the ramp perpendicular to the dock. It was low tide. I found myself pushing the cart up the ramp with my hip, stepping sideways while holding on to the rails for dear life and pulling myself up as I went. It was obviously a miracle that the whole lot, including myself, didn't end up going over the side and into the water as evidenced by the astonished looks on the faces of the workers on the next dock over. Astonished at a miracle or sheer stupidity, I'm not sure which. In any case, I've now learned to check the tide tables when I plan to do laundry, and time it accordingly. Makes life much easier. And I look much less like the marina idiot. I think.
We've not had any thoughts of throwing each other overboard yet - well I haven't anyway...well maybe once...no not really :) All kidding aside, we genuinely like each other and love hanging out together. We used to count the hours until the weekend when we could be together all day! We don't have to do that anymore and we love it!
So there you have it, our comfy sailboat home! Is it as you imagined?