Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Our 26′ O’Day sailboat in Canada’s Copeland Islands, British Columbia.
Summer 2012. We moved out the day before we stepped aboard.
All our stuff fit in the combination of Wayne’s Ranger truck
and my Subaru Legacy wagon.

Since mid-2012, most of the time, Wayne and I lived in a moving space that ranged between 150-300 square feet. That space included three weeks aboard a 26-foot sailboat (well less than 150 square feet!), 5 years aboard a 36 1/2 foot sailboat, a few weeks in a customized for camping but gutless Toyota Hiace van, 3 months living out of a Land Cruiser, 3 years on a 37-foot trawler, and 5 months in a circa 1985, no-pull-outs 34-foot RV. 

Wayne takes what is finally the last load of our 5 years worth of accumulated stuff off s/v Journey
in the Sydney Australia area when our Pearson 365 sailboat sold there.

Our stuff in the Toyota Hiace, before we sorted it and took off to circle Australia.

Wayne, tying down a streamlined version of the Toyota Land Cruiser we “moved” into and
lived out of for about three months. We just donated more of belonging to the Salvation Army.
They’re in Australia, too.

January 22nd we closed on the sale of our next “home”—another sailboat. We’re in the midst of preparing her for sailing and going largely off-grid for the next 4 months. Even after that, we’ll be a moving target for who knows how long.

Lots of storage room and under-floorboard storage, too aboard s/v Gallivant, a Gulfstar 45 sailboat. 

We’re able to pull this off because our friends Maryann and Don spent the last 15 years lovingly and thoughtfully upgrading the boat we’re buying, while they cruised and lived aboard her. 

S/V Gallivant’s galley: Don and Maryann did a phenomenal remodeling job on her.

We’re also able to do it because this isn’t our first rodeo. This time we’re moving into someplace bigger. Other than a relatively slim box of framed prints at my in-laws, everything we own we’ve already moved or are about to from our RV. 

Monday morning we turn our RV over to the insurance company (more about why) and in theory they give us a nice big check for it. 

Our home since September, after another car hit it.
Fortunately, it is still drivable and unaffected by the accident inside.

Even after a heavy hit on our retirement savings for our boat purchase, we’re still broke because even a cruise-ready boat needs a lotta stuff (Honda generator, a four-month supply of food, boat parts, and materials for anticipated boat work and repairs, etc).  We will also need to pony up for some COVID tests and a hefty Bahamas cruising fee. Before leaving the country is also a good time to replace an ailing laptop battery (~$285), etc., etc. We live relatively lean, but still . . . 

I can’t deny that even armed with spreadsheets and to-do lists, I struggled to keep my brain on track for writing projects. I’ve snapped at Wayne because I’m sure my computer will belly up and I can’t connect with family and friends or use my new internet-based writing and editing tools. That I’ll forget something critical among the foods and toiletries do we need to buy now because they won’t be an option until mid-May when we return to the US. I don’t plan out meals, I buy a few ready-made meals, a lot of snacks, and a lot of ingredients. 

Did we get all the boat stuff we need aboard? How do we time our COVID tests to comply with Bahamas requirements and leave at a time the winds and waves take us where we want to go, rather than make it miserable or impossible to fight the wind, waves, and current? Do we have enough to keep ourselves occupied if we get quarantined to the boat for who-knows-how-long? Should I cough up $200 for my second shingles shot? When will we be someplace long enough so that when COVID vaccinations are more readily available that we can get one?

Even if there is plenty of room on the new-to-us-boat, where will I put everything so we can find it? How do I securely tucked away so it doesn’t go flying if we get bucked while underway or even at anchor, like the time we anointed the floor of our trawler with a slick of sesame oil on a rough passage?

Admittedly, these are first-world problems, yet they rob us of sound sleep. Rather than gentle breezes, placid waters, and beautiful sunsets, our dreams taunt us with what can happen when our plans go awry.

Formerly Wayne’s and my bikes. We sold them in Ft. Pierce, Florida, rather than
take them aboard and not use them until summer.

We decided to sell our bicycles. They’re gone now. I gave away some clothes that no longer fit my lifestyle, to better reflect what I actually use rather than what I have trouble letting go of. When will I finally take the next pass at paper and photos to toss or digitize? At the last minute, I will say goodbye to my faithful Prius, which will do me little good with no home-base on land.

The hardest part is not the stuff. It’s saying goodbye to our friends and family. Will we see each other again? When? Where? How?

Sunnier Palms, our hangout from late October until mid-January while we boat-shopped.
Fort Pierce, Florida.

“Wouldn’t it be a lot easier if we stayed here, instead of buying a boat?” Wayne asked, wistfully a few weeks ago. Since late October until a week ago, we enjoyed our time in an RV park with a pool, hot tub, nature walking trails, a community garden. Several times a week I took a yoga class. In warmer weather, I swam laps and hung out by the pool. We were only a half-hour from the beach. We made friends. We said goodbye, again.

Yesterday, exhausted, as we finished up our boat prep work for the day, we watched the sun dip down the horizon over the St. John’s River, bathing everything around us with a supernatural amber glow. This is why we do what we do.

Sunset approaching from our new-to-us boat, a Gulfstar 45,
at NAS JAX Mulberry Cove Marina.

Our life is not about whether our RV impresses the neighbors, or what cable channels we subscribe to, or who we cast our vote for President. What matters is the sun, the moon, the stars, and the quality of light and clarity of the water that comes from leaving the patterned lives we become accustomed to in civilization.

We continue to hold those friends we make along the way, dear. We hope they will be able to join us for a taste of this alternative life. We trust we will make new friends, too.

Location Location

Sunset at Mulberry Cove Marina, NAS JAX. S/V Stress Relief, the boat silhouetted in the foreground
is also a Gulfstar, like our new-to-us sailboat,
s/v Gallivant.

We have tonight and one more night on our RV “the Beast,” which we hate driving but will miss the comforts of living in. Then it’s onto our boat, in NAS JAX Mulberry Cove Marina, ~N30.12.980 W81.40.234. Within a few more days, we push off.

We’re preparing to go to the Bahamas from February to mid-May, cruise the US eastern seaboard mid-May to December or so. Head the West Indies until mid-May 2022. Then what? We have no idea.