When we tell people that we are living on our sailboat and we are preparing to go cruising, we usually get one of two responses. Either “How can you afford it?” or “Oh, that sounds so nice.”
The first response I can understand. It is the one question that plagued me for a decade before we made the leap. The question is really just a front for the true issue… how can “I” afford to do what you’re doing? We’ll get back to that later.
The second response is the one that makes me giggle inside. The look of wonder on the face of the person I’m talking with tells me that as soon as I start describing what we’re planning, they are building this idyllic image in their mind of relaxing on a boat, sipping icy drinks with little umbrellas in them, watching the sun slowly set over crystal clear water with Jimmy Buffet playing softly in the background.
Now, don’t get me wrong. That sounds pretty darn nice to me too.
However, that is hardly the reality of my life right now.
Oh no. We are no where near “island time” yet. Nope. We’re in “marina mode”. This is far, far worse.
Marina mode means that every project that is started takes at least two days longer than expected, costs twice as much and will result in me having to tell my kids to “shut your ears” way more often than I’d like to admit.
It means that the job of changing out the fresh-water-wasting, electric-flush-toilet that the previous owner had installed with a simple, sea-water hand-pump toilet goes from a simple one-day job into a three day nightmare! Complete with having to replace all of the hoses associated with the boats sewer system, only to find out two days later that the hose clamps were bad and now have to clean out what has been leaking around the holding tank. Ewww!
Marina mode means that the $2000 job of having all of our standing rigging (the wires that keep the mast from falling into the ocean) replaced is quickly sprinting towards the $4000 mark in spite of all of the work we are doing ourselves.
It also means having to deal with the swarms of seagulls around the marina.
Before today I would have argued that seagulls do not poop on things deliberately. Like any other wild animal, they just go when it is convenient.
Oh, but I was wrong. Today I witnessed the sheer skill and cunning that these dive-bombers possess.
This afternoon we put out the little round propane barbecue that the previous owners recently delivered to us. It is a nice little stainless job that hangs off of the back handrail and is fueled by a little 1lb propane canister.
So, to celebrate the nice weather we’ve been having, we bought some steaks and some zucchini to grill up.
After fiddling with the grill for a few minutes, I put the steaks on, closed the lid and stood upwind of the grill to block some of the wind. (It blows out in the breeze way to easy for a grill on a sailboat!)
That is when the attack happened.
One of their scouts flew past at a good altitude and gave a few loud squawks to get my full attention. The bomber came out of the sun, and from behind in a lassic aerial attack move.
Without warning or provocation, a long series of bio-bombs were loosed in my direction.
The first round to hit landed squarely on the top of my new (to me) barbecue with a startling SPLAT! I stood there in shock looking at the top of the grill thinking, “No way! NO FREAKING WAY!!!”
The subsequent rounds all landed long of their target and hit well behind the boat raising little splashes in the water.
Now I can’t say for sure that the shiny new barbecue was the intended target, because the trajectory was such that in order to hit the barbecue the bomb had to miss my head by mere inches.
Either way, I have a new found hatred for seagulls. Even now, as I write this hours after the attack, they sit on the boat houses across from our slip and taunt me with their caws and cries.
Yeah, that mental image you have of the icy, umbrella drink… we’re no where near that yet.
We have had a few really nice surprises though. The chainplates that we feared we would have to replace seem to be in good shape and will only need some cleaning before being put back in place. That should save us around $500.
And the spreaders on the mast that we feared would be too rotten to use again turned out to be made of teak and seem to be in great shape. Another $200 saved. We have to find joy in the small things right now.
We just keep telling ourselves that island time is coming, island time is coming.