Category Archives: Living Aboard

Water

The amazing thing about carrying all your water down to the boat in 5 gallon jugs is how frugal you become with your water consumption. But I say, at least I don’t have to carry it back from a well 5 miles away. At least I don’t have to carry it on my head, my neck craning and sweat running down my back. People watch me carry these jugs of water down the dock, down the ramp and haul it onto the deck of my boat. They say Wow aren’t you strong, your back must kill! But imagine the slipped discs I’d get if I were carrying my water back from the well in buckets, the handle cutting into my palms, knowing my family is thirsty back at home.

I don’t have to haul the bucket hand over hand from the belly of the earth, robbing it, only to give it back soiled. I take it like a thief and scurry back home, and wash with it, cook with it, drink it. Then give it back to the earth, like a toy badly borrowed. Water; bruised from using. At least I don’t have to take it up from the ground itself. I let lazy electricity do the dirty work.

And what do those women who do haul their own water say? Those women who carry their empty buckets to the well, steal it from a spring in the earth, and then drag it home. Do they say, at least I have a well? Or are they so tired from carrying water that they say nothing at all? Do the poor have the liberty to care about what they do not have? Though I say this knowing that I am considered poor to most. My threadbare jeans, the collar of my shirt fraying at the neckline. But I have water, fresh water.

And the women who do not have access to clean water, what do they say to us for our fifteen minute showers; for leaving the tap running while we brush our teeth or rinse our dishes? While we bathe our dogs with fresh clean water, do the sneer? Or do they simply keep breathing?

And what do we do with our guilt that such waterless women exist? Get a World Vision child? Turn off our taps? Or do we push them out of our mind, knowing that they exist but making their existence obscure and nebulous. We use their waterless days to chastise our children for leaving the water running too long. Or we mention it when the tap is dripping and we want our husbands to fix the leak. Otherwise, these women go unnoticed. Or perhaps more than unnoticed, but dismissed.

I haul my water down to the boat, 5 gallons at a time. I remind myself, this is not a hardship, it is only a small inconvenience.

Daddy’s home!

Marc is very good with knots. I mean, I’m no slouch myself but he is very very good with knots. I knew I would have to wait for his perfect solution to baby jumping in cockpit. And I was right.

 

With the weather improving and summer really showing off her feathers, it’s warm enough for Gabrielle to bathe outside, to kick outside and to jump outside. The last being her favourite activity.

Marc worked three months on Salt Spring, what was supposed to be a 6 week job. We are thankful for this work but glad that he’s home again. I joked with him the other day that I may prove to be a worse boss than his former one though. We are working on a list of projects for the boat to get done while the weather is pleasant.

But I am very pleased to announce, we now have hot water on the boat! Yes, I can have real showers and not just sponge bathes. Mind you, they have to be quick because let’s face it, I’m carrying the water down to the boat and that kind of physical exersion is just enough to make anyone frugal with their water consumption.

We want to get the solar/wind system set up, do some repairs on the deck, repair our dinghy and paint! You see that yucky peach colour in the photo above? Well it is everywhere and disgusting!

 

What’s not so disgusting is our little jumper. Seriously, I’m in love with this kid. Sorry the blog is so inundated but I honestly can’t help myself. One more before we go.

A Summer Bath

I love watching birds in their bath, fluffing their feathers and beating their wings. It is great to watch how big a tiny bird can look when he is moving air between each feather.

Bathing my baby is not unlike watching a bird in a bath. You can see the contentment, there is much splashing and the baby splays every single feather out for a good airing.

And the view is not too shabby either.

Neighbours

I’ve noticed that when we lived in a house, we didn’t have people knocking on our door as much as living on a boat. And I love it when people drop by. I think it’s because there is no driveway to approach, people are literally knocking on your hull. We are at a marina where there is one finger on either side of the dock. But suddenly, there can just be people there, asking for a visit. For this reason, we try to keep our kettle full and ready to be quickly turned on for tea.

We even try to be welcoming to this neighbour (above) who tends to be quite a messy eater. We really appreciate it when guests pick up after themselves and don’t leave sea-life carcases on our deck.

But really, we’ll have him over for tea most days of the week, because Mr. Otter is really mostly courteous.

How did I get here?

It is so early and the sun is just rising over the marina. That rich gold light reflecting off fibreglass decks and dodgers. The water glitters with a new day. And I just can’t believe this is my life. My husband and daughter are asleep in the v-berth. I am on the settee, surrounded by bags of clothes, a car seat and bibs. A crab chew-toy smiles at me.

Yesterday I walked up the ramp and chatted with a lady named Sarah. Sarah lives on a custom-made steel boat. She has circumnavigated the globe. Is this who I meet at the watering hole these days? Circumnavigaters? Adventurers? Funny thing is, she thinks I’m brave for living aboard with a baby. Well I’m not the one who has sailed the seven seas, lady!

My parents came to visit yesterday and they were saying when I was 4 months old, they chartered a sailboat for the weekend. They said I’d been very colicky and as soon as they got me on that boat, I slept like a charm. Little did they know then, I would be living aboard with my 4 month old, who sleeps like a charm. Well, maybe not all the way through the night but she sure looks charming when she sleeps.

I find it amazing where life takes us if we are willing to take a few risks and try something we haven’t done before. And because we took a risk to live a more alternative lifestyle, we have found amazing community. Can you believe it? A group of people all over the world raising their children on a boat? We are not the only crazy ones. And somehow knowing I’m not alone is extremely encouraging.

My little one is now on the settee beside me, giving me a very serious expression, while she pummels my leg with her kicking. Her self-imposed exercise routine melts into smiles when I turn and look at her wide-eyed. We had a cardiologist appointment this week. She turns 4 months old tomorrow, and she weighs 8 lbs, 6 oz. (Yes, we know, she is tiny. Takes after her mama.) At 54.6 cm long, she is growing slowly but surely. The cardiologist says he’d prefer her to be 5 kg (11 lbs) before her next heart surgery. They are talking about setting a date in May after her next appointment where she will have another echo. (As an aside, the folks at Vic General who deal with heart babies are absolutely fantastic. If by some twist of fate, you find yourselves here, know you are in good hands.)

Gabrielle and I are looking at spending a little bit more time on Pender in the next week as Marc troops off to Salt Spring alone. I need to get back to my island and do a little beekeeping. I look forward to sharing pictures with you as we continue to wonder, how did we get here?