Six Months Afloat. How Are We Faring?

Wow, it is really hard to believe that it has already been six months since we moved onto Let It Be.  This “milestone” deserves a blog post to document it, though I am afraid it may not be interesting to most readers. Still….

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Hanging out on LIB.

24/7 life with a spouse can be challenging. Frank and I definitely went through a period of adjustment when we moved onto LIB. Our lives in Dallas used to run more parallel than together, so we would go about our daily activities, then catch up at the end of the day.

Living together all the time means we have fewer different experiences to bring to the table each evening but our everyday goals and visions are much more similar.  I would say this means that we now focus on the same goals and we work as a team rather than individually.

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“The List” had 88 items!

Initially, all of our energy was put into transforming LIB from charter to live aboard so we had list upon list of changes or additions to the boat. This meant that Frank was the “lead” on all projects as I was seriously less knowledgable about what was to be done and how. I found it difficult to submit to direction and always need help but Frank was patient and taught me a lot. No one will be surprised to learn that the amount we accomplished during our two months in Puerto Rico was amazing! (Changes to LIB part onepart two and part three.)

We are still learning our own strengths and divide our duties along those lines, while trying to make sure both of us are capable of anything critical. Because so much of this is new to us and there are so many factors that influence our sailing decisions, we have a lot of learning and plenty of conversation.

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Of course there have been a multitude of adjustments that have already become ingrained to the point that we forget they are unusual. Like, my last mode of daily transportation had a 450hp engine, but now we drive an inflatable dinghy with a 15hp engine.  And nearly every time we go to shore some part of our body and or clothing becomes wet before we arrive – from waves splashing us or from sitting on a wet spot left by rain or the dog.

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Time to eat?

Surprises have occurred, like our svelte, muscular dog has gained 8 pounds! since moving onto the boat. She is still an energetic and healthy dog, but we have had to cut back on her food intake because we want her to remain healthy. I guess not having squirrels to chase has seriously diminished her “steps per day.” Time for a puppy “FitBit?”

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Frank’s daily attire used to be a button down shirt, slacks and a tie. These days he wears a swim suit 90% of the time with flip flops or no shoes: thus achieving his pre-retirement goal of never wearing socks again.

Dallas was a pretty chic place to live with some serious emphasis on personal grooming, but less personal maintenance is a way of life on a boat. When we lived on land, Frank had a standing haircut the first Tuesday of every month and I routinely visited my favorite hairstylist, Kim, every six weeks to have my hair highlighted and trimmed.

On board, I cut Frank’s hair on the back deck every 6 weeks or so and I no longer color my hair. Fortunately the sun has lightened my hair a bit and gray has not made too much progress yet.  I did cut off about 5 inches of my hair as it was way too long.

I can’t say our lack of grooming has “improved” our appearance, but we are saving time and effort, and we definitely “fit in” with this life style.

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Frank helps a dock neighbor with his bike tire.

Activity: Anyone who knew us in Dallas, knows we were pretty dedicated to exercise. Frank routinely managed about 150+ bike miles per week and I was committed to tennis or other exercise several times a week. Happily we do have our bikes on board, but we have only used them a handful of times.  I brought a beautiful tennis racquet I have yet to touch since moving onto LIB in September. 

Both of us miss our sports, but we find plenty of ways to exercise here. The physicality of boat life compared to the conveniences of land life adds activity without even trying, but we augment this with swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, scuba diving and hiking. Plus we have resistance bands that we try to use regularly, though I admit, we tend to skip them when we have guests on board.

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Laundry – Igloo style.

Laundry used to be such an easy way to multitask while I was handling the office accounting from home. Dump in a load, go about my business and listen for the buzzer announcing it is finished.  Now laundry is a labor intensive activity in our modified ice chest. Combine limited space with limited water and laundry is a no longer the purifying, sparkly clean result it was on land.

Along these same lines….stains. For the life of me I cannot figure out how all of our clothes begin to look stained and worn so quickly here. Maybe it is because we can’t clean them as well or maybe we wear the same clothes more often, but our clothing definitely looks older and tired.

Sometimes I miss my excessively large land kitchen where I could spread out along foot upon foot of countertop space. Our galley on LIB is about a sixth of the size of the one I loved at home, but I actually cook a wider variety of food on the boat than I did on land. This is partially because we don’t have as many choices when grocery shopping and partly because we often anchor in remote places where we have to make whatever we want to eat. Necessity has demanded creativity and because we have more time, cooking is more of a planned activity than something I throw together at the last minute.

That said, more than anything in my galley, I miss the granite counter tops. Little did I realize how convenient it is not to worry about hot pads and a cutting board for every single thing I put on the counter. Hmmm, I guess granite is too heavy for a sail boat????

Air Conditioning was an absolute necessity in Texas, but here we rarely use it. The breeze coming across the water is cooled and we have found we rarely need our AC. There are times when it has been especially hot or humid that it is a relief to turn on the cool air and sit in the shade inside.  Or on excessively humid days, it is a treat to dry out the dampness that clings to the boat and even leaves footprints on the floors.  But in general, our bodies have adjusted to the temperatures and we tend to be cold if the grocery or restaurant is air conditioned.

Some days living on a boat seems “normal” and others I wonder if I have made the right choice, especially when I miss my family and friends.  But on the whole, I am happy with the change in our lives and I enjoy living with greater awareness of nature and our natural surroundings.

Posted on April 10, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. I can relate to all this! Sounds like us several years ago! I remember how our appearance changed from smart to scruffy, no more had colour, no more socks! We put on weight too. I hate washing our things in a bucket, I try to find a laundrette every few weeks for sheets and towels. And the tiny galley! We don’t have a dog though, we have Artemis, the boat cat! Good luck with your new life!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Grace, great stuff!! You guys look great.
    Happy Sailing!
    Grace, peace and safe traveling to you two!

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  3. Beverly Hudson schneider

    Great comprehensive overview of the cruising lifestyle. I have not read much about how you get weather information. The Bahamas and Chesapeake are AWSOME, best wishes for your crossing! Please call us if you stop on Vero Beach, there are lots of cruiser supports here.

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    • Bev, if we stop we will definitely get in touch!
      We have just begun using PredictWind and are about to install IridiumGo. Another boat project!
      I think we will only stop a bit in the Bahamas on our way north and probably spend all on next season there. We shall see.
      All the best to you.

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  4. Thank you for letting me get to know you a little more. Our time together was just too short, I appreciated your “land time” background! What an adventure it has been for you both! I really loved the “freedom” from “stuff” when we were in SVG, and was kind of depressing returning to this big ole house and all its stuff…that’s when we both realized we are ready…for the next big step! Since we’ve been sailing and racing for the last 17 years…We can’t wait!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I look forward to getting know you better as well. You have so much more sailing experience than I do and that will probably make your transition easier. Can’t wait to hear how things go in Martinique!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds wonderful MG and Frank. If you stop in Charleston on your way North please let me know! I would love to return the hospitality you gave me on LIB last year in the BVI.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on 6 months aboard! We’re planning on doing the same in a year on our ’15 Helia, Big Papa Lulu. Would love to see the list of live aboard improvements and a recap of which ones you thought were truly beneficial and those not so much. Hoping we get to run into you two sometime. Following your posts regularly. Best, Allen & Linda Dobbs

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    • Thanks so much, Linda and Allen! How exciting for you to have such a new Helia. Is it the evolution?! Hmmm, I hadn’t considered a follow up post about which improvements we like. The larger additions are mentioned in the 3 blog posts I linked.
      If you want to send me your email, we can send your our excel file of the changes we made after leaving charter. All the best with Big Papa Lula! I would love to follow your blog is you share the link.

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  7. I thought that was a fascinating post! I remember when I stopped going to the salon for regular cuts and color jobs. My hair may look more raggedy, and definitely grayer, but it’s a lot easier to maintain, not to mention cheaper.

    Cheers – Ellen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ellen. I agree, this is much less expensive! Most days I’m happy with the natural look, but somedays I’m a little surprised when I look in the mirror. 😉

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  1. Pingback: Three Hundred and Sixty Five ~ Already! | Let It Be

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