The first night that we spent on our boat as liveaboards passed without ceremony. There were boxes to unload and items to store away, clutter to clean and areas to tidy. Garrett and I moved around one another, quietly, until my head hit the pillow at 10:30, bone tired.
The second night that we spent on our boat as liveaboards was much more fun. We decided to put aside our moving responsibilities for the evening and instead enjoy our new living situation. I popped a mini bottle of champagne, Garrett poured some mezcal. We toasted our new backyard and took a sunset dinghy ride to dinner.
It was the second night, not the first, that really set the tone for our liveaboard life. Since then, we've been enjoying our little floating home more than I could have imagined. It's true—our tiny, 385 square foot apartment really prepared us for moving onto our sailboat. We were already used having to move out of the way to let each other pass, used to spending all of our downtime in extremely small quarters. Being in a small space hasn't really been an adjustment. Here's what has:
- Being 100% prepared to leave the boat. This has been my #1 challenge. We live about a four-minute walk down the dock from the parking lot, which doesn't sound long, but feels really long when you have to do it over and over again because you left behind your towel or the car keys. We don't have a shower on board, so when we leave our boat for the day, we need to bring our shower caddies, towels, toiletries, work clothes, wallets, and anything else we might need. I guess when you leave any type of home you have a checklist of belongings that you should bring with you, but our checklist has definitely grown since moving onboard.
- The weather! I don't know if it's my East Coast upbringing or Irish genes, but I've always been interested in the weather. I still check the forecast daily, even through 3 years of living in Arizona (every day: sunny and hot) and 4+ years of living in San Francisco (every day: cool and comfortable). I thought that I was pretty in tune with the weather before moving onto the sailboat, but I've been proven wrong over and over again.
Now, if it's windy, I think, "What halyard is going to be clanking around? Will we be able to make it stop? Is it going to keep us up at night?" Or if it looks like rain, I ask, "Should I secure all of the hatches and close all of the portholes? Do I need to move that cushion out of the way of that pesky leak?" The weather now has much more of a direct impact on our day-to-day lives and well-being (ahem, sleep).
- Storing and cooking food. We don't have a refrigerator; instead, we have an "ice box" that we need to wire so it functions as a fridge. Until then, though, we can't really store any meat, dairy or perishable items on board. We luckily live walking distance to a market, so we can just drop in there for food once daily if we need to.
I make smoothies for breakfast every day (made of almond milk, banana, cacao, sun butter, collagen), and so far all of the ingredients keep fine—though I do need to get through the almond milk within a few days. Garrett and I are fortunate to work at companies that provide catered lunch, so the only meal that we've really been scrambling for has been dinner.
Which brings me to the cooking part. When we first moved on board, we made Easter Brunch, homemade linguine bolognese, and a few other beautiful meals. But then...we ran out of CNG (compressed natural gas), which is what fuels our oven and stove. The closest tank refilling station is only open during our own working hours, so we haven't had a chance to refill them yet. We do have a grill, so we've grilled out a few times, but...we ate out more than I'd like to admit during this first month.
- Not having a great WIFI connection. We'd been (too) spoiled by living in San Francisco - you can basically get anything and everything by the click of a button. Now, on our boat, we feel a little more disconnected from technology and, in turn, more connected to the physical world around us. This has been a major plus in our lives, but...sometimes we just want to tune out and watch Netflix. Our marina provides internet, but it's pretty weak, so movies can be blurry or take long to load. We've been relying on our cellular hotspots, too, but get close to exhausting our data at the end of every month. This isn't the end of the world (and maybe an indicator that we should watch less television), but instead a small frustration that we have to get used to.
- The head, AKA toilet. Since we now live with our holding tank, we're a lot more conscious of what goes in our toilet, if you know what I mean. The tank gets pumped out by a service every two weeks, but there was a mix up when we first moved on board and our tank did not get emptied when it should have. Because of that, we had to live with a full tank for a few days and avoid using it as much as possible, which was not fun.
So. This boat life isn't glamorous, but we are liking it! A lot. For some reason, all of the things that I mentioned above haven't really brought us down. We're looking at this chapter in our lives as an adventure, and because of that, are able to put up with a lot more than we might have in any other situation. I also think it's been such a positive experience so far because we've been really appreciative of one another. I appreciated how helpful and calm Garrett was during our 30-day transition period out of our apartment and onto our our boat; in turn, he appreciates how happy and game I've been for this whole living on our sailboat thing.
This month has been busy, though, and I'm curious to see if our feelings will change once we get some downtime. Things are slightly slowing down for us in May and we'll have less distractions. I'll report back! But before I go, here are some pictures from my favorite moments in our first month of liveaboard life!