We moved aboard three weeks ago tonight. I am currently in the cockpit with a lovely glass of Shiraz (thanks Lane and Eli!), my adorable pajama pants, and flip flops. (In a week the ice skating rink will be open--that's Maryland.) The boat (and occupants) have come a long way, and still have a long way to go. I have only broken down in tears once so far, though I have sworn like a sailor plenty. While there are many frustrations, particularly with respect to things I cannot (yet) do myself or cannot afford to pay others to fix, I know that, fundamentally, I have made the right choice and was meant to be a liveaboard. The idea that this was a one- or two-year foray had actually never even crossed my mind until someone else asked. This is my home. And, yes, my life will never be the same.
Though early on in this journey, I have already met some wonderful people I will likely know the rest of my life. That, alone, is something I am deeply grateful for.
I took the helm for the first time on her maiden voyage. I learned how to pump out and how to fill my diesel tank. I still have a healthy fear of manual heads. I used the VHF for my first time (and thankfully not in an emergency--unless "pump out, pump out, pump out" qualifies). I learned the value of my boat hook in rescuing my wayward bucket knocked off the dock as I straightened the hose after washing the decks. I learned, (the hard way, with bruises to prove it), that boats are much smaller spaces for certain extracurricular activities.
I was used to deer and foxes passing through my yard. Now, the wildlife has changed. Last night I heard a splash and turned to find an otter crunching away at an oyster on the swim platform of the powerboat in the slip beside me. He paid no attention to me or the dog, and once he finished his dinner, slipped quietly back into the bay.
I am grateful for lots of advice and work I've received, gratis, as I explained by myriad challenges aboard to friends and acquaintances. While advice is oft-conflicting, I am able to gather and absorb the information, sort it according to my needs, the source, and my budget, and proceed in a manner that seems to suit me.
But, as they say, everyone has an opinion... this afternoon someone was miffed that I didn't want to shut up and quietly listen to his advice (though I never asked for it and he never bothered to actually listen to the fact that my problem was not what he was assuming). C'est la vie; I guess there are guys out there who will always think they know best, or at least better than some girl. He seemed to think it was some kind of "punishment" to tell me I could have had his advice free but now it would be $1 per minute. My only regret is that I politely ignored him rather than ripping him a new a$$hole; but there's always tomorrow. I mean, really, I'm a single girl who bought a project sailboat. That most assuredly does not mean I am a helpless damsel in distress; it means I have balls of steel and one hella lot of moxie.