So I was musing last night on some of odd, clueless, and downright bizarre questions we've gotten over the years as live aboards. I thought I'd include a sampling:
Do you have heat?
Really? No, we spend the winter in Parkas gnawing on narwhale blubber. Of course we have heat. We run electric heat when at dock and propane when we aren't. We've also used kerosene and wood for heating,
Does the Cat ever run off?
Magellan is a people person and a bit of a homebody. He's chipped, of course, and if he did go astray I have a Tile tracking thing on his collar so I can find him with a phone app. Besides, I can use his Tile to help find my phone. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement.
You have a house too, right?
|Magellan's stylish Tile is so we can find one another.|
No. We live on the boat. We travel on the boat. We sleep on the boat. No house, no apartment. . . what would be the point?
Do you have a bathroom?
No, we just pee over the side. Of course we do. We have a composting head. We don't have showers on the boat, so we either use a sun shower in the cockpit or use the rather nice showers at the marina, weather and location depending.
What kind of shoes do you wear?
Scratching my head at this one. Often, weather depending, we don't. The rest of the time we mostly live in Crocs. They're waterproof, comfy, and wear like iron.
How do you get exercise?
Well, for one thing, just BEING on a boat is exercise. You're constantly--even at dock--having to shift to keep balance. It's a low level, unending core exercise. We walk a lot in good weather, either just to do it or to do our shopping. That's mostly every day. In winter, we have a gym membership which we try to hit every couple of days.
How do you do laundry?
It's either hand wash, or the laundromat, neither of which is a lot of fun. Many marinas have laundry facilities. Ours, sadly, doesn't.
What do you do with the litter box?
What do YOU do with the litter box? We scoop it and put it in the trash. When we're underway, it goes in the trash bucket on deck until we can dispose of it properly.
Do you have guns for protection?
Good lord no, and I wouldn't tell you if I did. Look, I've lived in Watts, I've lived on the South Side of Chicago, I've lived in NY and Miami and freaking Baltimore, and I've NEVER needed a gun. Besides, a bullet would go through several boats before it stopped, and I'm not doing that to our neighbors. I do have a perfectly good cutlass, like a proper sailor, and I know how to use same.
Does the cat sharpen his claws on the mast?
The Mast is aluminum, and, as large as Magellan is, he's not MechaGodzilla (MechaMagellan? Frightening thought). He has a scratching pad, and goes ashore and uses the trees when we're at the marina. It's not enough, and we still have to trim his claws from time to time to keep them from growing back into his footpads.
Do you eat fish all the time?
We do eat a lot of fish, because, well, we live at the water. We're both former restaurateurs, have eclectic food tastes, and we eat well. We take advantage of what's locally available, which, yes, often is fish or shellfish. And, yes, Maryland crabcakes are killer.
Did you ever think of putting a bigger motor on the boat to go faster?
The simple answer to that is: no. First of all, we're not in a hurry, and sailing is it's own reward, the trip being as much an objective as the destination. Second, this is a displacement hull with 3000lbs. of lead underneath it. I could put a Space X Raptor engine on the back and I'd still top off at the hull speed of about 7 knots. Google "Hull Speed" if you're wondering how that works.
Do you have an air conditioner?
No. Seldom needed it on the water. We have a nylon cloth wind scoop for the forward hatch to catch breezes at anchor, and the boat has a number of 12V fans for those close days.
What do you do with all your stuff?
We got rid of most of it. The downsizing is a big part of moving aboard (or into a tiny house, or into a caravan, etc.) We have a storage locker for family stuff we can't figure out what to do with and furniture pieces we don't want to get rid of. We might just say "screw it" and dump all that since we rarely need/think about any of it.
Would you ever move back on land?
It's not out of the question, but right now we're enjoying travel and the independence of being on the water. I could see one day going into a tiny home or cabin ashore, but never into an apartment or full sized house. Just not appealing. The water, frankly, suits us fine.
What do you do for a living?
We're. . what. . .semi retired I guess. We have money from our pensions, I'm a novelist (you can find my books HERE
, feel free to go into a downloading/purchasing frenzy. Really proud of the new one.) and write for some boating publications, Gail is an artist and sells her artwork. If we need additional money, one of us will sometimes pick up a part time or short term job. Otherwise, we do just fine. This is, if you're careful, a monstrously cheap way to live.
|Gail had to downsize to artwork she could do aboard. |
Do you get seasick? Does the boat move around a lot?
|Web based businesses like writing and publishing are perfect for live aboards.|
The boat, especially in high winds, can move around quite a bit, even at dock. It makes sleeping difficult sometimes in stormy weather. Otherwise, it's pretty stable. Fortunately, neither of us suffers from motion sickness. BTW if you do go on a boat and get sea sick, note that it tends to go away after a few days for most people and never returns.
But where do you really live?
Much more later
PS as an update, the Barrel Shantyboat Book is complete and now all I have to do is format the thing. Stay tuned.