While helping a friend sail his boat south last fall I came to another realization. The captain/owner (also aboard) is a gracious host who made considerable effort to ensure our comfort and satisfaction. We certainly appreciate his efforts, and would definitely join him again. He made sure we had bare necessities, such as coffee, water and delicious snacks. We had a dry place to sleep and a clean head for washing up. What seemed strange to Kelly and me is that he prepared meals and coffee as though it’s supposed to be a different experience – just because we’re on a boat, an experience many refer to as like camping. Not to offend, but the coffee was really bad!
But Living aboard is a concept that Kelly and I think of as “being home” and not as an alternate state of living which should accept a compromise. Why should you?
To Kelly and I, camping is a by product of a need, to rest, or stopping temporarily during a hike or canoe trip because it’s dark, and you need to eat, etc. It’s meant only as a necessity for these reasons. For example, a few years ago we backpacked up the east coast of Newfoundland, to meet the kind residents and see the coastal beauty. We stopped late in the day, setting up “camp” so that we could eat, rest, recollect and plan the days beyond. It was purposely minimalist to achieve only that we could comfortably continue the next day. We carried everything literally on our backs, which also necessitated compromise.
Granted, yes things are different. One area of necessity is self-sufficiency, especially with respect to efficient use of energy. Only in the last three or four generations have people in our western society been so presumptuous with respect to energy and clean water. We take them for granted. Contrarily, living on a small boat forces you to think about water and energy supplies, as you must ensure they last for at least the duration of your voyage, and usually longer. You’ve planned it that way, and carry everything aboard for sustainability. But that shouldn’t mean compromising on comfort! We are essentially living off-grid, but can maintain civility and modern comfort. And that means we don’t skimp on priorities like great coffee. Yes, we’re emphatically driven by the ability to make great coffee anywhere anytime. There is no compromise for coffee!
During that passage described in the opening paragraph, our host, as good intentioned as he was, seemed to think that cruising and living aboard is supposed to be different – supposed to be like camping. He assumed we felt the same. Does he not make coffee the same as he does at his home on land, nor prepare food, nor do many things that normally make one feel at home? And that’s ok – it is not a criticism, but it’s just not the way we think about living on our boat. For us, it’s not like camping. We make coffee and cook and sleep just like we would if living on land, and sometimes kick it up a notch on the extravagant side!
Fayaway Update: presently we’re looking at another week before our next weather window / offshore departure, bound for Antigua. (This morning Nicole was named as a tropical storm, and we hope our friends down in Florida fare ok.) From Antigua we’re not sure exactly which way the wind will fill our sails. Our thinking? 45% heading south toward Guadeloupe and Bequia. 65% heading West, further exploring where few go: Montserrat, Saba, Sombrero. Maybe SXM, and as far as Vieques. 98% (from wherever) the ABC’s: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao in January. Then what? Plans are drawn in the sand at low tide.