Friday, September 16, 2011

A Tour of Our Boat

Posted: July 12, 6:29 pm | (permalink) | (2 comments)
After last weekend’s frantic pace, what I really wanted was some quiet time this weekend, anchored out with just the reenergizing peace of nature; a misty Chesapeake morning was calling. Alas, it was not to be. Before they moved, the Mexican Café on Bay Ridge was the hangout place for our marina gang – but since they moved to West Annapolis, well, I can’t have more than one of those margaritas and drive home safely! (and if I did, I certainly wouldn’t admit it publicly, here in the newspaper, you know?) So marina neighbor Charlee suggested the perfect alternative – if the Café has moved too far from our homes, let’s bring our homes to the Café! The plan was that a group of us liveaboards would anchor or raft up in Weems Creek and *walk* to dinner. A hilarious, and slightly rowdy, Saturday evening ensued.

On Sunday, I did get my misty Chesapeake morning, sitting in the cockpit with Dan, sharing a cup of coffee before the heat came up, watching the herons and the recreational crabbers doing their respective things. As we sat talking quietly, a small powerboat containing two women roughly our ages came past, very slowly, looking closely at our boat. Did we know these people?

It turned we didn’t know them; they were just truly admiring our boat’s classic lines. And yes, I’m pretty susceptible to flattery. They told us their names were Alice and Tish, and they were amazed that we had lived on this relatively small boat for almost 10 years now. After we chatted with them a bit, we invited them aboard for a tour. Tish explained that she was also a fan of small-space living (on land) – she lived in the basement apartment of the house she owned and rented out the upstairs. She loved having a place for everything, everything in its place, and not too much of anything. I told her that on the boat we had everything you would have in a land-based home: a place to eat, a place to sleep, a place to socialize, a place to sit and think.  And we have all the modern comforts: heat and air conditioning, electricity, hot and cold running water in the galley (kitchen) and head (bathroom), a shower and a toilet.  I showed her around the storage features that allow us to fit a full-size life into a small space – the fold down table and guest bed that pulls out from the settee in the main salon, the bolsters that hold our off-season clothing and spare bedding, the file cabinet in the dining table, the sliders and tipouts, my clothing locker (all two feet by two feet by four feet tall of it). Okay, yeah, it was a little odd opening my kitchen cabinets – er, galley lockers – for inspection by someone I’d just met. But still, I didn’t have the impression that either of them was intending to intrude, just that they were genuinely interested in learning how we made our way in the world, and whether there were any lessons that would apply in their own, somewhat more conventional, land-based lives.

So here’s an opportunity: next month, on August 13, at Gangplank Marina in DC, a group of liveaboards will be doing the same thing we spontaneously did last weekend - opening their boat/homes to total strangers, a kind of “Parade of (Floating) Homes.” Their motivation is exactly the same as the reason I started this blog – to educate people about this life and the diverse group of people who choose to live it.

Here's a mini photo-tour of our home, as we showed Alice and Tish on Sunday morning. 
 I,and our Sunday morning guests, love the classic lines! Photo by James Forsyth

The main salon in its daytime configuration.
Table folded out for a dinner party.
Drop the table leaves back down, and fold the bed out for guests.

The galley has everything a land-based kitchen does - fridge, freezer, range, oven, and two-basin sink - just more compact.  
Creative storage is everywhere; no cubic inch is wasted.  Here's my file cabinet, hidden in the table.

Moving forward, here's the v-berth tucked snugly into the bow of the boat.
Clothing locker, with room for both hanging and folded clothes.
Shelves above our bed in the v-berth.  Most of our books are digital, but we have a few reference books that really do better in hardcopy. The brass rails keep them from falling down underway.
Our favorite part of the boat, the cockpit, as we like it best...filled with friends.