So last night we were having drinks with some friends and we began talking about the disconnect between the perception and reality of life aboard a boat. From cooking to showers, to closet space, these nitty-gritty details of cruising never make it to the silver screen. Even in the movie Captain Ron, a story about a delinquent delivery captain, the heroine still had perfect hair, manicured nails and was wearing the latest fashion, as she sailed into the sunset.
Now we are loving our time together on the boat, but after a month in Kingston, I thought I would chronicle a few of the realities of life aboard, in case you forget in the years to come.
Space is the first limitation, and while your rooms are small, you have never before had a queen size bed and ensuite bathrooms (or probably again) so you think your digs are pretty good. They are decorated with Taylor Swift posters and collages of your friends back home and really don’t look much different than they did in Yellowknife, except they’re a third the size.
Here is the master bedroom and there are no covers since we haven’t used blankets since leaving Florida. When friends write and complain about frigid temperatures back in Canada, we all secretly wish for just a few puffs of that arctic air during those hot, sticky nights. The milk crate sized closet is not an issue when your wardrobe consists of three bathing suits and a pair of flip-flops. Mommy has more worldly needs than I do, but I guard my little closet with my life, lest I encounter wardrobe creep. Here are our closets and Mommy had me hold up a ruler to accurately demonstrate how small her space really is in case you be suspect us of doctoring the photo. We do have one hanging wardrobe but it is used for foul weather gear…not considered a fashion garment in any setting! The take away here is…she always looks great.
Now our bathroom is luxurious by any nautical standard, however, they didn’t design them with women’s cosmetics in mind, but really after sunscreen what else do we need?
Lately you have both been engrossed in reading various book series and it is all we can do to get you to play video games or watch television. When we do, it is on a 12 volt, 25 inch screen with insufficient volume to overcome the noise of either the generator or the engines. This helps mute the endless Glee, making it almost bearable.
As you can see by the number of electronics, it seems like we brought Steve Jobs along on this trip. The only downside is that they consume a ridiculous amount of power which is an issue if you need to generate it first.
Which takes us to the kitchen. Now fridges are often the defining element of any boat, and while ours is supposed to be efficient, it is not convenient. In fact, nothing on a boat is convenient. Today your mother is baking a cake and must first get the flour and other ingredients from the “pantry”. Then she needs to dig into the fridge to find the eggs and milk. Only then can she try to throw a cake together in 35-degree weather and 80% humidity. Our oven is propane which is pretty cool since it uses the same fuel as the barbecue, however, we need to light it with a lighter which invariably leads to a minor explosion and singed hands.
No kitchen would be complete without the bar and Rafiki comes with a swanky, back-lit designated bar. In we carry only the finest vintages…
Once dinner is prepared and we are ready to sit down, we can either eat inside at the table or outside which can comfortably seat 8-10. Luckily cruisers are so cheap that they are not picky about either the food, booze or company so we often have dinner parties and have accommodated up to 27 people at once. Interestingly enough because provisions are not plentiful and budgets are tight, when folks come over for cocktails they usually bring their own drinks and something to eat.
While we were in Canada we were all shocked by the amount of time that we spend on the road. Here you two zip around the anchorage in the trusty family “Ford” and we are already starting to argue about access to the family vehicle; premonitions of things to come I am sure.
You would think that living on a boat all the time would afford us unlimited access to fresh fish. Besides the fact that Alex won’t eat seafood, no one is really keen to catch, kill and clean the slimy little critters. So, like the stock brokers of Manhatsurfboardsise around in their BMWs with mountain bikes and surf boards strapped to the roof, we carry a complete array of rods that have yet to yield a meal.
On this trip we have met some fascinating people and have developed some wonderful friendships. You and your sister have met a very special group of kids that are mature, accepting, interesting and worldly. Likewise, their parents are outgoing and all have a similar frontier spirit and, without the daily responsibilities of home, everyone is free for cocktails or dinner so there is a very active social network. It recently struck me that there is little interest in what people did professionally before they started their voyages, or where they “came from”. There is great interest in where they are going to, and the experiences and trials that they have endured to date, but the concept of keeping up with the Jones’ doesn’t exist and this attitude extends to the children as well. Clothing, accessories, make-up or dating seems secondary to having fun and exploring the islands. It is a healthy environment for both youth and grown-ups alike and allows you to develop at your own pace, not society’s.
Although life aboard is not all sand, sun and Mai Tais, the good far outweighs the bad, and I believe that we really are on an adventure of a lifetime. We are so grateful that we have chosen to do this trip when you are young enough to join us (or perhaps you just didn’t get a vote). Although most of the sailors we have met are retired couples, we feel very lucky to be able to do this journey together as a family..