I have spent the last 7 months living aboard a sailboat. 5 1/2 of those months in the Bahamas.
One year ago today, I still had no idea how people lived on boats. I certainly had no clue how MANY people live on boats. I had never seen a YouTube video, never seen a blog about it. I was completely and utterly clueless. Oh, how I wish I had researched it YEARS ago!!!
I hadn’t really ever spent time on boats, other than a few ventures on canoes or kayaks.
I DID step foot on the deck of a party catamaran in Jamaica (I can’t even remember if it was a sailboat or not) and really couldn’t visualize what my husband was talking about. He was pointing here and there and trying to paint me a visual image of how ‘our’ boat would look. I was picturing sleeping on the deck of this big flat boat and… and what? Where would our stuff go? How would we cook and eat? Where would we get dressed? Go to the bathroom? It was even worse than I had been imagining (my previous mental images were something like an RV parked on a floating barge like structure). I couldn’t picture these “cabins” that Patrick insisted were below deck. How was there room for ANYTHING down in those tiny, narrow hulls? (Hell, I didn’t even know they were called HULLS)
When I watched movies, I didn’t notice the boats, the marinas or that there were catamarans and monohulls. When I read books that featured scenes in or on boats, I just kind of skimmed those parts and barely registered anything because I had no visual picture in my mind to go with it.
I had no idea that Trimarans existed.
But one year ago today, all of that started to change in a BIG way.
Patrick and I had just come back from a vacation in Cozumel. It was awful. I forgot my luggage and had no contacts, swimsuit or clothes for the week. The bugs were so bad that I had scars on my legs from the bites for nearly a year. The beach was underwhelming, the food was unimpressive and the whole week was just… depressing. The plane ride home was terrifying as we hit the middle of a HUGE storm above Houston, TX and spent over an hour circling the airport in heavy turbulence because the airport wasn’t letting anyone land. We ended up having to fly to another airport 2 hours away and refuel because we were running low, but we couldn’t get off of the plane there, because we were on an international flight. Did I mention I already had a healthy fear of flying? Yeah. Not a fun time. Add to the the fact that the whole experience cost a FORTUNE and I was ready for a change.
After twenty years of Patrick’s “crazytalk” about living on a boat, I was ready to hear it. Mostly because flying somewhere for vacation (especially with our whole family) was going to eat away any money we had and fast. We needed a different plan.
We were sitting in the front lobby of our business in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the couch by the window. Patrick was on his laptop and we were discussing business stuff (things weren’t going as we had planned) and the vacation came up. We had been thinking that vacations would be a good way to explore the world and get a feel for a place that we’d like to retire to in our old age. I was thinking about how expensive our two vacations of the year had been and how terrible the flights had been.
“I think I MIGHT be ready to THINK about MAYBE living on a boat…” I said (somewhat begrudgingly).
“Are you serious?!? REALLY?”
Oh Shit. Now he’s all excited. I tried to backtrack, “Umm… well, I’m thinking that I’d at least like to look into it. Maybe. That plane ride was really shitty and the vacation cost a fortune. But remember, I get motion sick at the drop of a hat. I can’t live on a boat if I’m going to be sick all the time.”
“Well, we can talk about it. It tends to take a year or so to really get ready to move onto a boat anyway.” (Pay close attention to that last line… it is important) We can plan to leave… next December. Before it gets cold. That gives us a year and a half to find a boat, pare down our things and educate ourselves on this subject! Whoo hoo! We’re moving onto a boat in 2017!” He was getting all fired up.
Damn. I shouldn’t have said anything out loud yet. Oh well, a year and a half? Shit yeah, I can do that. That’s plenty of time to learn what I needed to and decide if I really wanted to do this.
Little did I know that my husband had been storing links, photos and sailing/cruising information for years like some men stash porn.
Patrick was tapping away at the keyboard, “What do you think? A catamaran or a monohull?”
“A what or a what?”
“A catamaran has two hulls, a monohull has one.”
“What’s the difference?”
and so on… the conversation went off and on for the next couple of hours with Patrick sending me links to photos of boats for sale and asking my opinion.
I have created a monster.
He finally decided that we needed a multihull for several reasons, but most of all because it would be far more stable and hopefully I wouldn’t get as seasick. That was our first concern, because if we couldn’t figure that out, all bets were off.
Within hours of the first words out of my mouth, Patrick was emailing a guy about a trimaran that he found on some sailboat listing site.
That same evening he said to me, “Does it make sense for me to fly to Florida tomorrow and check out this boat?” (It did make sense and he did)
And the rest… well, here I sit on that very Trimaran, now with her new name 11 Purple Monkeys, in a gorgeous turquoise blue harbor in Georgetown Bahamas, having traveled down the coast of Florida, across to Bimini and down the Bahama island chain over the last 7 months… thinking about where we’re going to go next. At the same time, Patrick is back home in Oklahoma, getting rid of everything we kept “just in case” we hated the boat life (or I couldn’t cure the seasick thing) so that we can take off and head out even further.
When I reread old books and watch old movies that I’ve already seen before, now I notice the boats. I notice marinas and anchorages. I know what they’re talking about when they refer to things inside and on a boat. I understand a lot better when they talk about long passages and I’m incredibly astounded that people used to sail across oceans with no electronics!
I’m still confused as to how these boats seem to be like the Tardis. They really do appear to be a LOT bigger on the inside!
I’m stunned to think that this conversation was literally just one year ago.
One little sentence, one little HESITANT “maybe” sentence changed my life. In an amazing, fantastic, crazy way.
My current back “yard” from an eagle eye view (thanks to Jaedin for the photo!)
I’ve been working on documenting our trip through our own little “reality show” on our YouTube Channel (you can see the Episode Guide here with more details about each episode) if you’re interested, here’s a peek!