Thursday, February 26, 2009

Words from the Wise

These are some of my favorite quotes by some very smart individuals:

"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and incredible beauty."
~Alex Supertramp aka Chris McCandless

"In fifty years our grandchildren (if any survive) will look back at the billions of us who knowingly and wantonly laid the entire world to waste and wonder what kind of monsters we were…"
~Daniel Quinn

"I have seen that community and a close relationship with the land can enrich human life beyond all comparison with material wealth or technological sophistication."
~Helena Norberg-Hodge

"There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living."
~Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Without The Bitter, The Sweet Ain't As Sweet

A couple postings ago, I listed 25 Random Things about boat life in order to give everyone a better idea of what living aboard entails. Because I assumed most people have a romantic image of life aboard a boat, I tended toward the negative in that list. This time, I wanted to focus on the positive. So here goes...

1. The Sheraton (where we shower) is a mini paradise, complete with fountains, fire pits, and waterfalls.

2. Who needs hot running water when you have a teapot and a burner?

3. Carrying 36 pound jugs of water is good exercise.

4. We live off the grid. (Even if we drove a Hummer and ate beef, our carbon footprint would be lighter than that of a vegetarian living in a pink ticky-tacky box).

5. Update: We DO have a heater on the boat. Yay!

6. I was in a bad relationship before I met Ben. I thought a larger dwelling was the answer. I was wrong. 200 square feet is plenty of space for a couple of happy people. (Think what you will).

7. Couples living on boats actually enjoy spending time with one another. And we enjoy spending time with like-minded people.

8. We live in a neighborly community. Neighborhood Watch is always in full effect.

9. You are who you surround yourself with. Just about everyone who lives on a boat would agree: Work to live. Don’t live to work.

10. Rowing is good exercise, and fun!

11. Happy Drunks.

12. When I was a kid, my Nana used to let me and my sisters row her boat around Lake Garda. Every time I row my dinghy, I reminisce about those times.

13. Our home is the backdrop for the 5 o'clock news at least once a month. (Million dollar view... SERIOUSLY!)

14. Our boat rocks us to sleep every night.

15. We never have to deal with solicitors, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Mormons.

16. Hard work builds character. Self-sufficiency means not taking things for granted.

17. Sailing = Free Travel.

18. We don’t have a TV. I don't understand how (or why) people can spend so much time in front of the TV.

19. We used to stand on the land and imagine how cool it would be to live "out there." Now we live "out there" and watch all the people on land looking at us.

20. The prismatic sky as the sun sets over the Pacific.

21. Have you ever witnessed a full moon hanging low over the San Diego skyline?

22. This is one of my favorites: I've never heard any of my neighbors give a negative reply when asked "How are you?" Life just seems a little sweeter on the water.

23. The serenity of the water early in the morning when I take Lola for a potty break: It reminds me every day how lucky I am to be doing what I'm doing.

24. The sound of the rain falling on the deck of the boat while we're tucked away inside the dry cabin.

25. We can watch sea lions, Great Blue Herons, pelicans, ducks, jellyfish, among other awesome creatures, right in our own "backyard".

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spread the Love

This Valentine's Day, show your friends and family you really love them by giving them gifts that are not only cool, but Earth-friendly as well. Here are some ideas:

*Canvas Grocery Bag (They are cute and they don't suffocate children. Or wildlife.)

*Reusable Coffee Mug (That plastic lid on your Starbucks cup is not recyclable.)

*Reusable Water Bottle (Your Aquafina bottles have floated out to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to form a plastic island twice the size of Texas. And, NO, I did not make that up.)

*AeroPress Coffee Maker (The best invention ever! It uses ZERO electricity and makes awesome coffee, espresso, and lattes in only 30 seconds!)

*A Bicycle. Your friends and family can save gas and get in shape at the same time!

Or, at the very least, wrap their gifts in recyclable paper. And please remember, our planet is a terrible thing to waste.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A New Perspective

I stumbled across this website and had to share it with everyone. Very freakin' cool. (And very uncool at the same time.) Sort of puts things into perspective, I think. Enjoy!
Here's the link:

Saturday, February 7, 2009

25 Random Things

In the tradition of facebook notes and myspace surveys, I've decided to create a list of 25 random things I'd like to share... not necessarily about me or us, but instead about "boat life":

1. We DO NOT HAVE a shower on our boat. (We instead pay a monthly fee for access to the showers/gym/pools/hot tubs/sauna at the Sheraton hotel less than an a mile from our mooring field).

2. We DO NOT HAVE hot water.

3. The icy cold water that we DO have on board is carried BY US in 6 gallon jugs (36 lbs. when full) from the dock to the dinghy to the boat. These are extremely heavy for me and I am not physically able to lift them from the dinghy onto Mother Culture. Ben always takes care of that part.

4. We get ALL of our electricity from the sun. This means that we never leave things plugged in when they aren't in use and we are very conscious of every bit of electricity we do use.

5. We do not have a heater on the boat. We stay warm with body heat and blankets.

6. The square footage of the cabin (enclosed area) of the boat is less than 200 square feet. (Probably a lot less than).

7. We can't flush toilet paper down our toilet. And, we learned this the hard way. (I'll let you use your imaginations here).

8. We don't "flush" our toilet. It requires pumping.

9. We live downstream. Everything you rinse down your gutters ends up in our "yard". (This includes chemicals, oils, trash, etc.)

10. When it rains here in San Diego, the water gets contaminated (see #9) and if you want to stay healthy, you best stay out of the water.

11. Two of our live-aboard friends fell in the water during/after the last rainstorm and both contracted a flesh-eating bacterial infection and had to go to the emergency room for treatment. Now, I make sure to always wash my hands after touching the water during rainstorms.

12. Ben cleans the bottom of our boat. He uses his scuba gear to go underwater and scrape all the algae, animals, etc. off the bottom of the boat. It takes him a lot of time and elbow-grease. He also cleans the bottom of both dinghies.

13. Many homeless people live on the benches and sidewalks along the bay where our boat is moored. Most people I know are disgusted by homeless people. I'm intrigued by them.

14. Lola is so well potty-trained that she will not go to the bathroom on the boat (even when we ask her to). 99.9% of the time, we MUST bring her to shore to potty. In other words, we have to make trips early in the morning and just before bed. (We're still working on this one...)

15. Ben has an inflatable dinghy with a motor but most of the time, we use my plastic dinghy and row to shore. (I recently purchased a trolling motor and once I get a battery for it, I will use that when the current is too strong to fight against).

16. We live completely off the grid, which means we don't rely on any public utility services. (Go GREEN!)

17. We have the best view of the San Diego skyline. And we pay the cheapest rent within city limits (with the exception of the people living in motorhomes).

18. On major holidays, we can watch (from our boat) 5 synchronized fireworks shows at various points around the bay.

19. The Coast Guard Station is very close to our boat and on many a day, they run their helicopters for hours on end. They are loud, they create blustery winds and rotor wash, and they sure seem to be wasting a lot of fuel during their drills.

20. On holidays, it's fun to turn on the VHF radio and listen to all the goings-on in the various waterways around San Diego.

21. We don't have an oven. Instead we have one butane burner to cook on.

22. We have a propane grill. Unfortunately, we lost the control knob in the water the other night and a new one costs $30+.

23. We live on the water which means if you drop something, you probably aren't going to get it back unless you go diving for it.

24. One day I realized our bucket was missing and I concluded it must have fallen into the water and drifted away. Later that day, on a walk downtown, we found our bucket across the bay, anchored in the rocks. We got our bucket back. :)

25. My dinghy has been "saved" once by a neighbor. Ben "saved" his own dinghy with my dinghy. And we have "saved" three other dinghies on the run... Always pay it forward.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I've been slacking again with the updates, so here goes...

The three of us spent most of the month of January at the hotel while the owner was in India. Ben needed to be on site for any problems that arose and I filled in at the Front Desk for a few weekends.

The picture to the left is the crusty muffler/exhaust that Ben pulled out of Mother Culture. He is currently reconstructing a new one and once that is installed (along with a few other repairs and a coat of engine paint), we will resume sailing.

Other than that, I don't have much to report. I did have the opportunity to experience my first "bad" storm at the mooring field, back in December. I call it "bad" but maybe some of the seasoned veterans of the mooring field wouldn't agree. Ben had to work that day and the storm was pretty much over by the time he got back to the boat. I felt a little queasiness by the 6th or 7th hour, but I survived. (Actually, I slept through most of it... I thought I'd read some books but my body thought otherwise.) I'm anxiously awaiting the next storm. (Hopefully Ben will be around for the next one! ;) Here is a short (and shoddy) video clip of the storm: