Sun’s out, tools out! Almost everyone at Gottschalk Marina took advantage of a rare sunny and calm weekend to tackle some winter boat chores.
On Story Time, Conor completed a project he’s been planning since summer—installing secondary AC power! We now have two 30-amp power cords that run to the boat, which will allow us to run additional space heaters if temperatures drop too low this winter. Between this and the new batteries he installed this summer, he is quite the boat electrical expert by this point! I’m no longer scared of accidental electrocution. If you want a step-by-step guide or need some advice for your own boat, please email us through the contact page! We are happy to help.
Boaters were out in full force on B-dock. Even though it was almost perfect sailing weather, nobody left! There was a joyous camaraderie with everyone working their butts off and lending a hand to whomever needed it. There was teak scrubbing, bimini installation, deck cleaning, painting, engine repairs, and more happening on Sunday. Best of all, the new NO WAKE buoy was installed! Hooray for a safer marina!
There’s no telling when the next gorgeous weekend will be this winter, but hopefully we can take advantage of it with the sails up!
Today, I realized that it has been over two weeks since I updated the blog (gulp!)–time just got away from me!
These last few weeks I’ve focused on friends, community, and building a wonderful support network on side of the country. Conor was gone in 29 Palms for three weeks this August for an exercise (and just got back yesterday!), so that meant plenty of time for me to connect with friends, both old and new.
I’ve already made so many friends at our marina, people of all ages and at different stages in life: retired cruisers, veterans, parents with young children, and even fellow writers. Marina life is never lonely, and I always have to plan for 10-15 min extra time to get anywhere, as people always want to stop and chat on the docks. The staff always checks on me to see how I’m doing, and everyone is there to offer help/support/guidance. It really feels like a family. We all came together to celebrate Dawn this month, who has worked for NWC Marina for 25 years. Close to 100 people showed up, even people who no longer have boats at the marina but who just wanted to express their gratitude.
Scout and I also went on a road trip to Charleston, SC for my friend Bekah’s baby shower. We studied abroad in Costa Rica together almost six years ago and have kept in contact ever since. While we hung out over the weekend, it honestly felt like no time had passed since we were college students living the ‘Pura Vida’ life on the beach.
I am SO excited for Bekah and her husband, and to meet ‘Little Man’ soon. I really believe that unique circumstances can forge unbreakable bonds between people, much like in the liveaboard community. We are all on an adventure together!
The craziest part was being in a house for the first time in months—everything felt so spacious and open. I woke up a couple of times in the night, wondering where the hell I was, why nothing was rocking, and why there was so much space above my head. I wondered if the boat would feel small when I returned from the weekend, and if I would have any regrets about our choice.
Not at all. Instead, I felt an overwhelming sense of returning ‘home’ after being away from the boat for the first time since we bought it. Any other way of life simply isn’t for me at the moment, which I was pretty sure of when we bought the boat, but now is beyond a doubt.
I will say, though, that home doesn’t feel complete unless Conor is here with me. Time away from your spouse is hard, whether it is for a 6 month deployment or just a summer exercise. I wish that we could set sail already and leave ‘grown-up’ responsibilities and time apart behind, but we still have to wait a few years for that.
We’ve been living on our boat for over a month! I can’t believe it has been that long already. Also, I can’t believe we are already partway through July. Where did June go?? I wanted to do a quick breakdown of what we love/dislike so far (off the top of our heads). Conor is on leave for a few weeks, so it was a good time to make him brainstorm 🙂
What We Love So Far
The feeling of walking on the docks to the boat after a long day at work (I mean, look at that view)
Sleeping on the boat
It is easy to determine what stuff is important when you have a small space
Sailing your house is pretty cool
The sense of community at the marina. Everyone looks out for each other
Writing up in the cockpit. My office has a view!
Quality time with Conor (We’re always less than 10 ft from each other!)
Personalizing the boat and making it ours
What We Dislike So Far
Our toilet. It’s a manual pump. We hate it. It is being replaced soon.
Learning to become “spatially aware” (aka not smacking his head on everything in the aft cabin)
Fixing stuff. Boat systems are different than house systems. It’s a learning curve. Google is our friend.
Laundry. Hauling 2 bags of dirty clothes down the docks in the hot sun to pay $5 per load is nobody’s idea of a good time.
Scout’s potty situation. We can’t just let her out in the backyard anymore to do her business! Leash+walks is the new reality.
I hate docking/undocking the boat. When will it stop giving me such anxiety??
In other news, we will be taking the boat out on our first solo sail in the next couple of days! Weather permitting, though, we’ve had some terrible rain and thunderstorms over the past two weeks. It looks like there will be a break in the weather on Thursday and Saturday, so stay tuned for a (probably) eventful update!
2) 3 GREAT boats (yes, the newly-posted 44 Catalina is also a perfect fit for us!)
3) Conor’s orders are still for North Carolina
Things that were unexpected this week:
1) Someone else is interested in the Endeavor 42, and will apparently put in an offer today. Cue our panic that none of these boats will be available for us come May 10, and we won’t have any boats lined up to see. This led to a long discussion about whether or not it would be worth it for me to fly out to NC solo to get the ball rolling. I was fully prepared to buy a last-minute ticket to New Bern, but thankfully our broker talked us down, and has urged us not to rush. Spring is the high season for selling, so he is confident that even if our three current options get snapped up, he can still find us a perfect fit.
My mantra: the right boat will be there at the right time. The right boat will be there at the right time. Repeat as necessary, accompanied by deep breaths.
2) We found out that while USAA finances boat loans, they do not finance loans if the boat will be used as a liveaboard. SURPRISE! Monday was a day of intense research and many phone calls, and we discovered that most banks do NOT understand/like/approve of the liveaboard lifestyle. This has been incredibly frustrating, and our options are limited. We can get a personal loan through USAA, but the terms and APR will be pushing it. We are also exploring our options with Lightstream (part of Sun Trust Bank), as they give boat loans for liveaboard purposes. Don’t even get me started on finding insurance.
3) Our plan to live at Gottschalk Marina on Camp Lejeune has been disrupted. I was promised a slip back in January, but some of the dock pylons were damaged in a recent storm and they don’t know when they will be repaired. The two intact slips big enough to fit 40+ foot boats are also currently occupied indefinitely. However, there is another marina at the air station (a separate entity within Camp Lejeune jurisdiction) called New River that has liveaboard slips available. WOOHOO!
The downside: Conor’s 3-mile bicycle commute is now turned into a 45-minute car commute. Which means that instead of going down to one car like we planned, we have to ship Conor’s car to Camp Lejeune (goodbye, $1000 that the Marine Corps won’t reimburse). Hopefully, our stay at New River won’t be too long, and we can relocate to Gottschalk in a few months and sell the car on the east coast.
WHEW! Thanks for reading until the end, this might be my longest blog post to date. I feel like this week was a test to see how much we really want our boat, and we are proving that we do. Shit hit the fan, but so far we have been able to find a workaround for everything.
Feel free to send us questions and comments, or any topics you want us to discuss!