Jay brought our new baby home on Wednesday night. She was a little worse for the wear, but she sure does look good sitting at the dock. We cleaned her off and out and spent the night on Thursday. I watched the sun go down over the heads of the four children sitting in the cockpit having their first dinner on the boat. We fell asleep to mysterious new sounds. We woke to the calls of water birds and to cool, moist air on our faces from the open hatches. I did my first day of boat-schooling and we divvied up boat chores. I mopped my galley and salon and hosed down the cockpit. In short, I was happy as a clam. I felt more at home on the boat than I do at home.
When Eli, Aaron, Sarah, and Sam got on the boat for the first time (they hadn’t laid eyes on it since December when we first looked at it) they were bouncing off the walls with excitement. This is the rundown on the boat tour Jay subsequently gave the kids: “This is the engine kill switch. Don’t touch it. This is a fire extinguisher. Don’t touch it. This is a sea cock. Don’t touch it. See these switches? And these buttons? Don’t touch them.” And so forth, and so on. The children looked a little confused; they had the mistaken notion that this thing was their new toy. But the rules that are so important for an orderly household now become even more important in the floating house, in some cases for safety and survival. They seemed to catch on pretty quickly.
I have spent so much time imagining what it will be like—the daily life, at least—that actually doing it seemed easy and natural. What will be strange will be waking up to make pancakes on a Saturday morning and finding that the view has changed since yesterday. I can’t really imagine what the voyaging and exploring will be like, so I just don’t spend any time thinking about it. But when Jay talks about romping around on the island and sending Eli up a tree for a coconut, I get a little thrill of excitement. What will it be like? If our first day aboard is any indicator, it’s going to be better than we imagined.