For those of you who may have had a line on how long I'd last on the boat, today marks my three-month anniversary of moving aboard. Like the extreme tides we've been having, I've had some highs and lows even in this short time afloat. Living with pets aboard is a challenge that complicates life when simplicity is often the goal, but the cats seem to have adapted well and the dog is managing, though she certainly dislikes the narrow finger pier after slip-sliding down it on Christmas.
A flurry of activity from the neighbors when I tossed some bread off the bow this morning.
I had looked seriously into living aboard a few times prior to this adventure and although it would not have worked in those particular times, places, and circumstances, I wish I had taken this leap of faith much earlier in my life. But better late than never. It is certainly not the lifestyle for everyone, nor the romantic one many imagine. Gratefully, I went into it more focused on managing systems, winter challenges, and repairs, and less focused on sunsets and palm trees.
Among the less glamorous aspects of my life aboard, I disposed of a large bucket full of rotting fish and line that had been left some months ago on the dock and which pup dog had repeatedly gotten into. One night she threw up pieces of line; very dangerous. This was definitely a task I should have donned a face mask for to dull the smell, but going into it, I did not know quite how bad the contents of the bucket would be. The photo really doesn't capture the full ickiness of it. Yuck!
On the upside, this little milestone date was marked nicely by my first somewhat "real" meal cooked aboard: veggie patties and quinoa cooked on my propane stove. I first tried out the Kitchen Aid tea kettle for a cup of coffee; the kettle never whistled because the lid leaks steam, so it will likely be returned and replaced with a better quality one. Having the stove working ends the feeling of "camping" that I had anticipated would last about three weeks, but turned into three months.
Good fortune also came to me by way of an inflatable dinghy being gifted to me. I'll have to patch a leak and come up with an outboard for it, but it will be a nice addition to my nascent fleet and a good addition for mobility around town. I am also still looking forward to a hard sailing dinghy I am being given, as well. It will let me get comfortable with fundamentals of sailing and a "feel" for the wind on a simpler scale than my boat. I guess my deposits to the karma bank are paying off.
Liveaboards are different. Both "different" meaning "odd," and different because of what they do and don't take for granted, different because they have to be especially adaptable, creative, and patient. The tide will go up when it will, and no amount of pulling, pleading, or money will change that. And even though some liveaboards are loners, for the most part they seem to be an especially communal bunch. No matter how skilled one is, there will always come a time he or she needs someone else to catch a line. The liveaboard friends I have made in this short time are priceless.
I don't think becoming a liveaboard has changed who I am. But I do think it has unshackled me from the trappings, "things," and roles that somehow begin to define us and box us in. I lost my real self a long time ago to the expectations and demands of others around me. Somehow moving aboard let me break free from that curse and be the bare-footed mermaid I always have been.