Since leaving Port Aransas, we have fallen into two very distinctive living patterns. One at anchor, and the other at the dock. My assumption before leaving was that we would spend long days away from the dock. Although we haven’t made it very far yet, that has not been the case. There is life out here. And there are places to stay where water can be obtained. I don’t regret any of the preparations I/we made prior to our departure… they have and will continue to come in handy. But It isn’t the wasteland that I had feared.
At anchor - Our first 10-11 days, we did go without. I am proud to report that we did not run out of water or clean clothes, although Bruce was on his last pair of clean underwear when we arrived in Clear Lake. We were able to conserve water and we were fine. Our next passages were punctuated with stops where water could be obtained, so although we had to be mindful, conservation wasn’t as strict as before.
Power consumption - We had not tested our systems at anchor much before we left Port A. Bruce has been diligently keeping tabs on our usage and charging capabilities. We’ve motored every day, so the batteries are charged. We’ve used little power at anchor. We have determined that we need to replace two of our four batteries, but then we expected we would at some point. We will get the new ones in Delcambre. But even with reduced battery storage, we’ve been fine. The fact that it’s November and not hot, has helped with that. Our fridge and freezer don’t take as much power to run in these cooler temps. We go to bed early and therefore use little power in the evenings.
Trash - I’ve read so much about what to do with trash while cruising We had some pile up on our initial 10-11 days, but since then, we’ve had little trouble keeping it manageable and without too much smell. I can attribute that to having disposed of much of the packaging on the food we’ve brought along. I have special bags for the cat box and our toilet paper. I had been collecting food scraps in a mayo jar but with our frequent stops along the way, I haven’t bothered with that since leaving Clear lake. That practice will be resumed when we expect a longer passage. We haven’t had trouble with waste, having adequate holding tank capacity, but I will say that Louisiana seems to have fewer pump out facilities than Texas. It could become a problem at some point… but I think we’ll be OK.
Clean laundry: We do not follow strict changing schedules for clothing while at anchor and traveling. The time sort of melts together and some days we shower and change, others we don’t. Some times we shower and change mid day… With the weather being cool or cold… we aren’t really sweating our clothes up. We don’t get dirty doing nothing but sitting in the cockpit all day. My normal strict adherence to showering daily (or twice daily) has gone sadly but effortlessly by the wayside. I’ve relaxed my own strict cleanliness standards. Yes, I admit it, so there you have it. Appalling, We even wear the same clothes for several days… I know! I will say that I still change the sheets weekly however. We sleep snug and sweet smelling.
Housekeeping: I try to find methods of cleaning that do not require much water. I’ve bought wipes that I use to clean up the cat box and the bathrooms. They do a nice job on the countertops and toilets in the head. I use damp paper towels to lightly “mop” up the floors, mostly keeping the cat hair at bay. We do vacuum while we run the generator so the floors don’t get too bad. I use baking soda to keep the tub clean and lots of cleaner made with tea tree oil. So far, it seems to be keeping mildew to an extreme minimum, even with this damp winter weather.
Companionship: Bruce and I all alone out here in the world. I think we began this trip far above many couples in the relationship department. Bruce is so very different from most men. But even with that advantage, we have felt a subtle shift in our relationship. We have had a couple of discussions about situations that have come up. I think this experience has provided us with a way to examine our motivations and explain our actions to one another in a way that we had not experienced previously. It has shed new light on our knowledge of one another in a good way. We are finding that each of us has strengths and weaknesses. We are (learning to be) accepting of those, and are working with them. It has been very good for us to be together 24/7 and I can only imagine it getting better.
At the Dock: All of the above listed concerns are reversed. We use copious amounts of water - we can get more! I clean the boat freely and often. We wash the decks often. I take lots of showers (even wash my hair daily) and we use a lot more electricity. (although there isn’t that much on the boat that uses power with all the LEDs)
We use lots of clothes and towels, and I wash the blankets more than I did at home. We go to the market for fresh veggies and meats and eat really well. The best part about life at the dock is the people we meet. We have already collected new friends with whom I know we will be keeping in touch.
Exercise is abundant at the dock. We can walk and we can ride our bikes. We don’t get much exercise on the boat while we are away. Being able to move around town is very nice.
We have been nothing but pleased about our decision to “do the ditch” instead of going offshore. The opportunity to explore the towns along the way is turning into such an enriching part of this journey. Our only regret, is that the weather forces us to move on, or stay put many times when we would rather do the opposite. But we are making the most of every minute and hope that this wide eyed wondrous excitement about each new day never passes.