I wish my friends could see me now. Call me suspicious, but I think at least a few acquaintances thought that I would be disillusioned, if not disappointed by now. A week’s vacation on a boat sounds very romantic and adventurous, but surely living on one with four children can’t meet those glossy cruising magazine expectations. It is true that some things are harder and less pleasant than I guessed, but they are the intangibles, like becoming more flexible or patient, being comfortable with lack of control over my circumstances and physical space. Others are downright unromantic, like no-see-um bites or the Jabsco hand-pump head (toilet), especially when the joker valve needs replacing.
But things like doing the dishes or laundry by hand have turned out to be more romantic than I first imagined, the mundane tasks often becoming infused with beauty. Laundry on a breezy, sunny day is actually a fun family project. Tonight I did the dishes by starlight in the cockpit surrounded by mangrove islands, the water twinkling with bioluminescence, in the company of porpoises who would surface every few minutes to take a breath. Falling asleep in starlight with the hatch open above my head never ceases to make me giddy with delight. I never tire of seeing the sunrise and sunset; it is a daily dose of glory, reminding me to be thankful for every day. Yesterday we woke to a thick fog, and I felt as if we were our own private island, a cozy oasis from the damp gray water world outside. This life often exceeds my expectations, and is most pleasant when I don’t even know what to expect.
There are always challenges—I never know until we arrive somewhere whether or not we are going to pull it off or have to head back to the dock. Generator trouble on our way out of the Manatee River the morning we left almost derailed our 2nd Annual Turkey Day Cruise. Watermaker troubles the night before had kept Jay up late preparing for the trip. Next on the list is figuring out what’s wrong with the macerator that helps us empty the sewage holding tank offshore. After that, he’ll investigate a voltage problem with one of our battery banks. If we are going to be self sufficient, a few systems have to be in working order, namely, power, water and waste! Just when we fix one thing—the new steering system seems to be working smoothly—something else breaks, like one of the desalinator pumps.
But even those things, although they cause temporary inconvenience, don’t really wreck the day. Jay excels at solving problems, and is never happier than when he has figured something out. It does take time, energy and money, but we seem to have just what we need at the right moment. I am feeling so grateful for the opportunity to live our dream that I am willing to put up with almost any inconvenience or trouble. It is a beautiful life, and, by God’s grace, we have slowed down enough to really see and enjoy it. For this and countless other blessings, we are truly thankful.