Galley Wench Tales

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

Guadeloupe’s River Sallee
sunrise, my favorite
cruising sunrise so far.

In just two months, we’ll begin moving back aboard our boat.  By December 1st, we will cease our land-lubbing life for a long, long time as we await that first good weather day to begin our trek into the South Pacific.

Undeniably, life in the mere 150 or so square feet aboard is challenging. Nonetheless, here’s my 

Top 10 list of what I miss most from living aboard

  1. Sunrise.  Yes, the sun also rises off the boat, but the 360 degree sunrise from our boat is breathtaking.   Somewhere off an unseen horizon, from our ground-level apartment, sunrise is just another day.
  2. Privacy.  No adjoining walls with neighbors who smoke. No repair folks popping in at inopportune times to fix clogged sinks, address the mushrooms growing from water leaks (seriously!), leaky toilets and showers, deliver mail, etc.
  3. Quiet.  No yapping dogs.  No 2 am music so loud it vibrates the entire building. No neighbor’s conversations penetrating the thin walls of our apartments.  Instead the sound of the sea, the wind, the birds. And, this year, no clanking halyards inside our main mast.
  4. Unstructured Time.  What will we do when Wayne’s no longer working 6 days a week?  We can hardly wait!
    cruising life
    Wayne snaps a selfie while the autopilot
    steers us through the Bahamas Banks.

  5. Cheap transportation.
    Jacksonville, FL is geographically the largest city in the US and the mass transit system traversing it is woefully inadequate.  Living in a decent area, working and just getting things done is difficult to do carless here.  While cruising, walking and busses are far less convenient than owning a car, but between insurance, gas, maintenance and repairs and more, we averaged at least $300/month in car expenses.  
  6. Cockroach-free environment. On land. we’re in easy flight / crawl range of a steady supply of these unwelcome armor-plated invaders.  While Florida living markedly improved my skill at ruthlessly meat-malleting these critters into their afterlife in a most un-zen-like fashion, they’re much less of an issue when we’re at anchor.  What few strays make it aboard, the Harris tablets take care of.  When that doesn’t work, boat bombs are very effective.
  7. V-berth mattress.   Even if though I curse our boat bed’s pie-shaped foot, where Wayne I battle for dominance — errr — cuddle and share, the 18″ at its foot, our boat’s “bedder than ever” mattress is much more comfortable than our apartment’s.
  8. Getting rocked to sleep.  It’s nice.  Maybe we’re never truly intended to outgrow it.
    current cut eleuthera cruising life
    Handsome rooster strutting at
    Current Cut BAHAMAS.

  9. Adventure:  Manatees.  Dolphins.  Sharks.  Whales.  Storms.  Strange new lands and customs (and goats and roosters).  We never know what we’ll encounter.  Oddly, we like that. 
  10. Sunset.  Again, that 360 degree sunset view is stunning, and, it’s a when both take time out to appreciate the end of another amazing day together.

What will I most miss from our landlubbing?

  1. Talking to friends and family.  It’s a lot harder to reach out and touch the ones you love when it’s an expensive international call or none at all.  Skype and similar programs require robust internet, even for voice only.  And it’s hard to give and get hugs when you’re separated by thousands of miles.  Virtual hugs are not the same.
  2. High speed, unlimited internet.
  3. Irresponsibly long, hot showers.  That doesn’t happen when the daily goal for all water use is 2 1/2 gallons for everything for the two of us … drinking water, cooking dishwashing, and of course, personal hygiene.
    cruising life live aboard boat maintenance and repair
    Wayne, carefully positioned in our v-berth
    as he inspects our boat’s anchor locker.

  4. Personal space.  Our apartment’s just a one bedroom, but it’s a lot bigger than 150 square feet! As our friend, Allen owner of Incommunicado, another Pearson 365 sailboat, quips, “There’s two rooms on a Pearson — inside and outside.”  Stepping outside does not require a dinghy.  There are bigger boats, but our Pearson fits our budget, and we trust its seaworthiness better than many boats with nicer living areas and room for “an caves.”  Any cruiser who claims they get along 100% of the time with their partner while cruising is either delusional or lying.
  5. Headroom in our bedroom.  It was nice not thunking anything getting into out of or simply moving around in bed.  Infer from that what you will.
  6. Fresh produce.  Riverplace Arts Market, with a wonderful, affordable selection of farm-fresh produce was just a 15-minute walk away, every Saturday.  Not to mention the ready availability of anything and everything else in the land of plenty — including anything for our boat at my West Marine employee discount price.
  7. SunRay Theater (and culture and art in general).  Date night at the movies!  Just a few blocks from home.  

Fellow cruisers, what’s on your love / hate list of living aboard?  Cruiser wanna-bes or those of you who would never consider cruising, what would be on your list?

Location Location

cruising life
Our Pearson 365 sailboat on the hard
at Green Cove Springs, awaiting
a bottom job, the water and us.
Temporarily land bound in Jacksonville, FL, USA.  Journey’s on the hard in Green Cove Springs (N29.58.9 W81.38.8) until hurricane season ends in November.  Then we’ll provision, do some boat maintenance, repairs and upgrades and set sail for the South Pacific, through the Panama Canal.