Ok we are 5 months into our living on a boat ‘experiment/dream’. Some insights:
- The gorgeous little people are thriving from constant one on one attention. They are much better behaved, they understand reasoning and why we are doing certain things. They don’t need a continuous supply of new toys, Ipads (ok I admit they do have an Ipad each for long passages but don’t touch them apart from that), screens ( by some modern societal miracle we have survived for 5 months without TV!!!) to keep them happy. They do like reading, Lego, exploring nature and using their imagination playing with other kids. (the latter we have struggled to find unfortunately). They don’t mind the odd day of childcare once a month (we have had the luxury of doing this so we get an adult day and they get a break from us) but 2 days straight or longer brings meltdowns for both children and parents as we are so used to being together as a family.
- Similarly the parents lives have not ended without a constant supply of emails, deadlines, reports, 2 hours of commuting etc. Not entirely surprising one would think but we had great employers which made work less ‘worky’ but our mini company is bringing us more fruitful rewards than we could have ever imagined.
- It’s actually not as easy or relaxing as one might have hoped for. The weather element makes it really hard work!! We are always planning 3-4 days ahead due to the weather forecast. (Ric is sitting across from me at this very moment planning where we should go for the next 4 days). We don’t plan where we want to be by a certain time but where we would like to be if the weather is having a bad hair day. ie Windy and swell = marina. Flat and no wind = some heavenly island anchorage. This way every one is happy and rested no matter what mother nature throws at us. Yes not as relaxing as we thought but still a gazillion times better than attendance at the standard groundhog day of work!
- People are awesome! We have met sooo many wonderful people in the boating community from all walks of life. From owners of 85ft multi million dollar cruisers to the smallest yacht being sailed single-handedly. 99.9% of everyone we have met are wonderful people who would do anything for you at the drop of a hat. Testament to this was ‘Merv’ who on Friday turned up at the boat yard and helped Ric ALL DAY with installing the new gear box in the 30 degree sweatbox that is the engine room. We had only spoken to him for a total of 5 mins the day before and even turned up with a punnet of strawberries for Ric! Likewise ‘Wim’ who also turned up to help for the day and ran Ric around in his car to get everything he needed. God bless these generous wonderful human beings.
- Space is over-rated. We went from a 5 bedroom house on a huge block to a space you could not swing a cat in. We find we get edgy if we have been onboard with not much land time for over 3 days but hey I think we went more nuts if we were in a house for 3 days straight. it’s weird but the longer you are onboard the bigger the space feels.
- We have a new-found love for being resourceful and considerate of our environment. ie I used to whinge at home that we did not have enough room in 2 otto bins for my weekly rubbish collection. I can now cut up and squeeze a whole weeks rubbish for a family of four in a 3 litre milk bottle. I love hearing stories of powerboat vs sailboat fuel consumption. We have a 50ft motorboat in the berth next to us that uses 250L of fuel AN HOUR!!!!!! That is about $400 an hour in fuel!!! How does one live with a) producing that much pollution b) cutting up 8 hard earned pineapples every hour just so you can cause the pollution??? Me not compute……. I also love that we are solar powered to charge the batteries up and when there is a breeze it costs us nothing to get anywhere. Doing our bit, as little as it may be.
- Do not attempt something like this unless you have a well-built vessel and an accompanying Macgyver as a partner. We have heard countless stories of new boats having deck’s break away from hulls, steering snapping, keels twisting and all sorts of structural problems with mass produced new boats. Yes we have had our issues but nothing that jeopardizes the structural integrity of what essentially keeps us afloat. Macgyver has also come in very handy for whatever issue we have with his piece of string, sticky tape and mullet.
- What we miss? A bath!!! and seeing close family and friends but really that is about it.
- Finally we would like to say to everyone reading this who is currently stuck at work. Do what ever it takes to realise your dreams. Work will always be work and we guarantee there will be no shrine erected in your honour when you leave. Family and friends however will thrive and grow with every moment you have together and these will be the memories you will cherish in years to come. Bit serious I know but doing this has really changed our perception of the world and how we participate in it.