It’s been quite a learning experience for me to go through the process of transitioning to life afloat. For reasons I’m not sure I can fully articulate, it has been a much more complicated “move” than simply moving from one land-based abode to another. Perhaps it’s the elimination of all material things related to life on land (i.e., our home, most of our worldly belongings, regular and consistent wifi access, our cars- which is still in the works). Perhaps it is that almost nothing in our land-based life has much, if any, useful application to life afloat. We have essentially had to repurpose most of our remaining belongings to fit into life afloat or buy all new things specifically for use aboard Dakota. By no means have we done this with major complaints – it is simply part of the process of upending one’s life on land and figuring out how to do it all on a floating home. But it has definitely been a process through which I’ve come to understand why it takes some cruisers years to prepare to embark on similar adventures. And why many cruisers plan to be gone for a far longer duration that we plan to. It’s way too much work to do for such a short time!!
It has also left me unable to explain to the casual passersby in our lives why it has taken so long to prepare to depart. During one of my many provisioning shopping trips, I came across one of my regular sales clerks who, knowing of our plans, asked, “Oh my! You are back already?!” Um no. We still haven’t left yet.
After returning from Canada and the Midwest, we worked furiously on moving onto Dakota. Each day we would tear open boxes, strew stuff about the cabin, deck and dock at our marina, and work hours upon hours finding homes for each of the items we deemed necessary for our trip. And at the end of each night, we’d have to put the boat back together again so that we could use what little space we have to live in for its alternate purpose (i.e., the kitchen/galley doubling or tripling as a garage, workshop, building area and storage/sorting facility). We have spent countless hours reviewing every single item we have provisioned, often finding that the storage we thought we *might* have for that item no longer exists and/or the item is not actually necessary for our currently planned adventures. (Do we really need a kite? How many beach towels does our family really need? Oh, and that ice maker I didn’t know I wanted? HELL YES, I need that since we aren’t using our freezer!) Make no mistake, this is a painstaking process and one I hope to never have to repeat! It is exhausting mentally and physically as spaces on the boat are *very* tight and we are doing construction projects in spaces one would never deem appropriate for similar projects on land. Installing a book shelf? No problem on land. In an 8″ wide cabinet on the boat? Quite a challenge (with the added challenge of making sure everything and anythin g we install won’t end up impaling one of us while we are underway!). I’ve never personally experienced claustrophobia, but after twisting myself into a pretzel to get inside of a super-skinny, but deep, cabinet to install lighting and storage, I had a sudden, but urgent, need to get OUT of that space… like ASAP. And in the process, I incurred several painful bruises and scared the bejeezus out of my dear (and understanding) hubby.
We are now three weeks in on construction/reconfiguration/repurposing and provisioning projects and are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! Very expensive, but necessary, items have been purchased (check!) And we are finally at a physical location that allows those installations to move forward. Our boys are back with us full-time on the boat (we needed them to have some last-minute “summer vacation” time with the grandparents, who were instrumental in our final preparations!) and we are finally living comfortably on Dakota. Bumps, bruises and physical pain aside, we are very happy that we are nearing the mark on our departure date, pretty much on schedule.
With these milestones nearly behind us, I have a new (and deep!) appreciation for the cruisers that have come before us and I applaud their efforts, and wisdom, in spending months or years preparing for this endeavor, because I now know, it truly takes Herculean efforts to get a cruising boat with kids off the dock. Tonight, on the eve that we are to finalize some very crucial installations and then gather with other Baja 2016 cruisers in Alameda for some much-needed moral and technical support, I am thrilled to report that we are ALMOST READY TO GO!!!
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank those who have been so crucial in our efforts to get Dakota underway – my parents, my in-laws, our amazing friends who have offered their support, fridge space, laundry machines, and their time, to help us with these difficult and time-consuming projects. I want to thank our land-based neighbors who have endured our stuff living in their garages and offered to adopt one of our vehicles, those who have kept an eye our on family home in Rocklin (and filled us in on the goings-on there) and those who have provided shelter, food and wine when we needed a place to crash for a night. A big shout-out to our floating neighbors who have endured innumerable boxes (and for 2 nights a random toilet that we unexpectedly had to replace) on our dock, our loud and crazy boys (and their friends) who have run amuck while we’ve worked on projects, and who have helped us bring Dakota back into the dock when we’ve had too many little feet on deck and not enough hands to secure her in our slip.
And to everyone that follows us online and out there in the world–thank you for your continued support and cheers –it does, in many ways, provide that extra umph we have needed to get through these last few weeks!
We look forward to sharing our journey with each of you! (and scout’s honor, promise to provide more regular updates than I have as of late)
And now, for your entertainment (at our expense of course)….. the hubs installing a new head in the boys’ bathroom after their unexpectedly went capootz. (pun intended).