Living aboard Kandu, our Tayana Vancouver 42, in Ventura creates an unexpected feeling of pointless discomfort, akin to living in an RV on one’s driveway while purposefully avoiding the house. We sense how we could so easily be more comfortable living inside a house. In some ways it feels like we are unnecessarily taxing ourselves, navigating the confines of boat living. The challenge comes from straddling two different lifestyles. We have not moved aboard to live a landlubber’s life on the water, as many of our neighboring live-aboards have done. If we had, we would be making different choices, like clothing, galley, and on-deck storage solutions. We are, instead, preparing for long-distance, mostly tropical, cruising and making decisions based on that future paradigm. In some ways, we’re becoming more like the proverbial fish out of water . . . and sucking air is not enjoyable. It’s not evolution; it’s de-evolution. The extra burden comes from having to support a land life, which is so much easier from a house; while at the same time incorporating far-away, self-supportable, small-spaced, warm weather, humid solutions. Schooling and extracurricular activities and all the inter-family networking still occur with homebound counterparts we meet from Bryce’s and Trent’s schoolyard friendships. We’ve done it before, when we lived in a house, and we did it well. But things are obviously different now. In the morning, we will design a large no-see’m net to fit over our cockpit. I’ll order the materials over the Internet, and Leslie will sew it using our bulky and powerful sailmaker’s sewing machine. I make lists as to what all needs to be done before I feel we can safely and comfortably leave America and sail to fifty other countries across multiple oceans and seaways. In the afternoon, we drive to soccer practice, attend a science fair or a choir performance, or drive to LA for a Cub Scout event. Sleep-overs on the boat, while it’s torn apart and we have to use facilities that are 1/4 block away, are difficult to consider and thus, for now, avoided. We do much of what we did from a 1500 sq. ft. house, only now from within a 250 sq. ft. sailboat in repair/upgrading. For this, it’s cramped living. Leslie estimates everything requires 40% more effort to get anything done, especially daily chores like cooking, dishes, laundry, typing emails, taking a shower, etc. Trent states, “You know what I’m looking forward to when we get back? Moving into a house.”
Of course we recognize that this is a transitional period, perhaps the most difficult part of the whole process (so the experts told us last week at the Strictly Sailing Pacific show, another landlubber activity). We get how important it is to get the living space right, to adapt it for our needs and preferences, to work out the kinks . . . but we sometimes feels like we’re Noah, getting ready for the big flood—we’re the only ones in the village preparing a boat for a five-year “flood.” As a result, sometimes you feel you’re a little crazy, and have to talk yourself into the dream again, remind yourself of all the great reasons for taking on such an unconventional and all-encompassing journey. I’m glad we have the time we do to get ready. We need it. We’re getting a lot of great work accomplished. And there’s no place I’d rather be than in Ventura, doing all this “transitioning” . . . but it’s still a pain in the aft.
It’s the night before Easter. Time to go to bed so the Easter bunny can hide baskets and eggs for Bryce and Trent. One thing we’ve learned about a cruising boat–there are nooks and crannies aplenty within which to hide things!