Friday, August 1, 2014


Our happy liveaboard boat family.
(Looks like Freja's practicing her pirate "arrrgh" while Matilda is sporting a pirate-worthy black eye.)

Sometimes a change in perspective is all I need. It’s amazing how seeing the world from a new place completely changes my mood, my plans, my status quo. Remember that scene from Dead Poets Society when Robin Williams has all the students stand on their desks to see the classroom from a new vantage point? That’s how I feel right now.

For the past few months I’ve been itching to move off the boat and onto land. I had 101 different reasons, but space was always #1. We were tripping over each other, literally. Also, I was fed up with our marina in Philadelphia where the docks threatened to split apart and float us down the Delaware River a la Huck Finn. I was fed up with packing a bag full of snacks and diapers and a change of clothes just to take the girls off the boat for an hour or two. I was fed up with showering at the dirty marina showers. I was fed up with not having enough space to keep clothes or shoes or food or playdough. Fed up.

No matter how few toys (clothes, shoes, diapers, non-perhisables) we have, they still take up all available space.
The main cabin (living room) is basically a playroom for the girls. Every shelf and cubby has a kids' book or toy.

Then we cast off the dock lines and motored our floating home south to Jacksonville, Florida. The trip was fun and challenging. There were moments when we were on vacation: dinghying ashore for a seafood dinner and cold beers or finding a deserted beach. There were moments that I swore up and down that the minute we landed in Jacksonville I was going to find an apartment: when the girls were constantly whiney and unhappy and demanding or when the food kept going bad in the fridge because our batteries are not equipped for living aboard at anchor. 

Our first marina in Jacksonville - close to the beach but also located on a busy three-lane road lined with strip malls - was nice. It was a real marina with concrete docks and concrete pilings and clean bathrooms. But it also had a large dry dock facility and the atmosphere was tinged with the constant sound of forklifts moving boats and people who seemed more interested in cleaning and buffing and polishing their boats than actually using their boats. So after clocking in my time on Facebook and Pinterest, I was still spending a fair amount of time on Zillow, dreaming of landlubbing.

Sunrise and sunset over the tidal marshes is pretty awesome.
But the no-see-ums and mosquitos? Yeah, they were also marina residents.
Now we’re at a new marina in a new neighborhood with new neighbors and Zillow is a thing of the past. For the first time in years, boat living is really good. The marina is clean, professional, and safe (gated, key card entry at each dock). It has a pool and clubhouse area that is downright spa-esque. Our neighbors are all active boaters - cruisers, some liveaboards, or people who are storing their boats here for hurricane season. The neighborhood has nice bungalows on tree-lined streets, parks, and a shopping center with a grocery store and West Marine a mere four blocks away. I can’t ask for much more in terms of a marina and its location. Oh and did I forget to mention the internet? Free, fiber optic wifi. Phenomenal. And free parking right at the end of our dock. Seriously, why would we live anywhere else?

The pool, hot tub, and marina as seen from the clubhouse porch.
A nice spot to catch the evening breeze - the clubhouse deck.
And a great place to grill our dinner.

Another big change, and it’s a big one, is Hans’s paycheck. Yup. His paycheck! For the first time in over four years, we’re seeing money come in instead of bleeding money out in the form of student loans. That makes it a little easier to make some livability upgrades on the boat: new air conditioning, a new mattress, proper marine shade curtains, etc. We have a long list and we’ll tackle it little by little, but with our new location and the fiscal ability to improve life aboard, we have a renewed commitment to living aboard. It feels good.

No comments:

Post a Comment