Most of us have been there, thrown into the sailing life, green as can be, with no real clue as to what is going on and what is going to happen next. Stuck in the highs and lows of “sailing is amazing, I can’t believe we didn’t do this sooner” and “oh my f#&* we are going to die!” If you are lucky at all you have had some sailing in your background, if not that you are in the same nautical shoes as me and will most likely live an epic/horrific first voyage like I did. Either way it is always a little comical to poke fun at the newbies, if only to realize, “wow, look how far we have come compared to those guys!” You know exactly what I am talking about, who doesn’t enjoy sipping on a sundowner and watching the charter bareboat makes its fourth attempt at catching the mooring ball! Is that horrible of me!?
In honour of all you newbies out there, and for a walk down memory lane for all us old fogeys, here is:
You Might Be New To Living On A Boat If…
–You still get surprised by the cost of “Marine” items. Are you the person reaming out the poor employee at the till about how overpriced a certain item is. Yes it has been marked up 75%, but its marine. The cashier can’t change that.
We have all heard the unfunny definition of BOAT (Break Out Another Thousand). But the sad part is it is true. Boats are expensive. Even when you buy a work-aboard like we did and think you to yourself, “I’ll show them, I am going to DIY this boat”. As soon as any store knows that your newest project falls into the MARINE realm, well you have just added an extra 0 to the end of your items cost.
So don’t get your panties in a twist when you reach the check out, you just have to decide, “am I going to find a work-around, a cheaper way, or am I going to save the time and spend the money”. It’s all still in your power to decide just how much money you want to be dishing out. BTW youtube has some great videos on how to rebuild an engine!! Can you guess what type of people we are!
–You still keep your food in its store packaging. You may think that we are all complete lunatics when we are at the grocery store, just finished paying for our food, and are now ripping everything out of its cardboard boxes way before that food comes anywhere near our boat. I admit we must look completely insane to landlubber grocers. But it only takes that one time when you open the cupboard to your toothbrushes and have a cockroach run over your hand, to realize that no one wants roach-egg-infested cardboard coming on to your boat. Or the one time you are halfway through cooking a delicious meal when you break out the rice only to realize that there are critters moving around in there! And let me tell you, boat bugs are strong as sh!t. Like apocalyptical! Cockroaches, ants, weevils, termites, you don’t want any of those nasty suckers on your boat, because it is a headache evicting those suckers.
Join the club of cardboard hating fanatics and leave that crap, and its egg-critters in the dumpster. That simple act may save you a couple hundred in exterminator strength product…so that you can spend on the above mentioned marine products!
–You still take half hour showers or You have become a Water Nazi. It always starts off as one of the extremes. Either you think, hey, its not that hard to refill our tanks, I don’t need to change my shower routine, or you have figured out every way possible to cut your shower time down to 2 minutes. Well either way it may be true, but one day you will find your happy medium.
Taking that thirty minute shower where you do boat, shampoo and condition your hair, wash your entire body, and make sure the cracks between your toes are clean…it will cost you. Until your first attempt at filling your tanks on an island where your only water supply comes from a tap where you must jerry jug everything back to the boat, you have no idea what you have gotten yourself into. At that point every trip, every pound of water you must carry, ever ounce of sweat that you shed doing so, you will scold yourself and say, “ok, I get it”.
Or you are on the opposite end of the spectrum, where not only are you down to taking a “navy shower” once every four days, but you are also listening to the water pump turn on and off as someone else is in the shower and yelling at them “you’re wasting all our water”! Sooner or later you will figure out that cleanliness is kind. When you live in 41ft of space it is only nice of everyone to make sure their pits and bits are fully scrubbed, because no one wants to be hanging out in anyone else’s scent for the sake of saving on water. You’ll also find that keeping yourself hydrated after a night of “one too many” sundowners is well worth that extra dinghy ride of jerry jugs of agua. It’s all in finding that happy medium.
-You still have not hit the perfect ratio of clothing to swimwear. You are on a boat, surrounded by water, the sun hovering above, and nothing but fellow boaters around…why do you still own clothes!! Ok, other than days when you have to run errands…so why do you own more than one outfit!? As your time afloat grows bigger you will find yourself more and more attracted to buying more swimwear rather than more clothes. It is only natural, we spend about 90% of our time in our bathing suits or undies. So why do we even own clothes.
We all hold on to them, newbie or not, for those what if moments. In the event that something does go to sh!t on your boat and you have to make a trip to the marine store, you look much more sane if you show up in shorts and a tank rather than a bikini (but I guess maybe I would have better luck chopping down those marine prices if I were in a bikini…something to consider). Or for those awkward times when guests come aboard and they have not come to terms with the fact that this is a bathing suit environment, you don’t want to be that person that is nearly half clothed and making their meals.
Hold on to a couple pairs of shorts, maybe some slacks for the cooler days, and remember, if ever you plan on taking a slip on a dock, clothing is recommended.
–You still spend your days sun worshipping. Most people that you see out on deck suntanning are either weekend warriors, or under the age of 20. Once you are living aboard for long enough you start to notice every new freckle and wrinkle and wonder if all this tropical sun is actually good for you or turning you into a prune. What are you going to look like at your high school reunion!?
Only the newbies are out there, care-free, letting that sun turn their skin from white to a nice shade of red. The rest of us are buying stocks in sunscreen and beauty products. Trying to reverse the effects of our early 20’s perma-tans. Soon you will be buying the biggest hat possible and hugging the shade when you hit the beach.
–You think cruising is all that you have seen on other’s FB posts. For the first little while, when you are living the extreme highs of a sailor’s life, all you want to do is post pictures of the gorgeous sunsets, the potlucks, the sundowners, the island life. That is also everything that you have seen from others on Facebook, so you think to yourself, “we are spot on, this is what sailing is all about”.
That is until your macerator wigs out and you find yourself elbow deep in everyone’s poop. How come no one ever posts those pics (my excuse is that I still consider myself to be somewhat “proper”, strangers don’t need to see my poop, even if my husband is elbow deep in it!) This may be when it comes as a slap in the face that sailing can be just as hard and gross as it can be beautiful. But no one posts pics about the former. Save yourself the hardship and let me tell you, it gets dirty.
Once you have overcome some of these newbie misunderstandings you will find yourself comfortably reclined in your cockpit, gazing out over the island top, thinking, “hey, we may have gotten the hang of this”. Don’t be foolish!! 6 years in and we are still learning. Good luck suckers!