Troubled Waters. . .
And so it came to pass that we were indeed, leaving Texas and moving onto a boat (a 48-ft Monk McQueen) in Vancouver, B.C.
I could do this, I was
sure of it. I knew all the words to Jimmy Buffett’s Cowboy in the
Jungle -- From a bronco ride to a ten-foot tide, he just had to learn to
How hard could it be?
For starters, the cowboy stuff goes into storage. Have you ever tried to walk down a dock in a pair of Justin ropers? More like Paul Simon’s
Slip slidin’ away. There are no walls for the neon bar signs, no space
for the 45-gallon drum-fashioned Texas smoker and I am given to understand
that it is very “unboat-like” to feature decorative pieces such as Longhorn
skulls -- something to do with safety on the high seas. So, we rented a big
storage locker and I get to go visit my stuff from time to time.
Electricity can be an issue. It’s not an issue when we’re away from the
dock -- we simply don’t have any. Most essentials are 12 volt and we do
have a generator aboard for those must-have extras like frozen margaritas.
And a battery charger, which my husband would say is more important. But
we’re at dock a lot of the time -- we work. Plugged into shore power, we
have a mere 30 amps at our disposal (compared to 200 amps in the nomal
shore dwelling). You learn to stagger your electricity dependency. “Don’t
turn on the coffee maker, I’m printing right now!” Stuff like that. It gets
to be habit and you don’t even notice the inconvenience after a while.
Lack of space is probably the biggest domestic hurdle to overcome, but
again, it’s something you get used to. Land-lubber friends are continually
amazed at the meals I can turn out in a galley (kitchen) the size of a
postage stamp with an oven the size of a Kenner Easy-Bake and a fridge
smaller than a Dallas Cowboy fan’s tail-gate cooler. You get very tidy, in
every room. One of everything (a small one) and everything in its place.
Although, for the first six months you’ll probably waste a lot of time
reaching in the drawer for things that you’ve cleverly put in storage. But,
if it’s something you discover you actually need, well, hey, it gives you
an opportunity to “visit” your stuff again.
The worst thing I had to adapt to with liveaboard life has a lot to do
with our location, but all things are magnified on a boat, especially rain.
We live in Vancouver and the rain in the winter is brutal: a monthly
average of 7” for November, December and January (compared with Dallas at
2”, Paris at 1.5” and Hong Kong at 1”) . Steady, gray, boring rain. Day in,
day out, all winter (average hours of sunshine in those months: 50).
On a boat, you can’t get away from the rain. You’re only 6 inches (at
best) from the roof and it is a constant drumming inside your psyche. I
know David Duchovny (of X-Files fame) got into a lot of trouble last
October for picking on the Vancouver weather (and he isn’t even a
liveaboard) but it’s unbelievably disheartening and it gets inside your
soul. My first winter aboard was almost my last.
But the weather broke before I did and here I am, five years later,
watching the same rain, out the same window, yelling to my husband not to
put the coffee on, I’m printing.
Back to the Top / Back to the Sideroad
|I know that in a couple of months, it will
be like Margaritaville again around here. All the inconveniences will
disappear with the city as we cruise under the Lions Gate bridge, heading
for that great little cove with oysters the size of dinner plates (and they
say everything’s bigger in Texas!) In the meantime, like Buffett’s cowboy,
I’m Plowin’ straight ahead, come what may
The Good Life
How we became "liveaboards"
About the Author
Beverley Wood is a writer and marketing consultant who worked for 12
years with Maclean's magazine (as Operations Manager). She has published
articles with Maclean's, The Globe and Mail (Destinations), Tribute, Kid's
Tribute, Pacific Northwest and Pacific Rim News Syndication Service (Far
East dailies). She also writes screenplays, and provides clients in
Vancouver with writing, editing and public relations services. She is
currently working on the screenplay for
DogStar. . . a new fiction novel
written with her husband, Chris Wood (Canadian pub date: Nov/97; USA pub
date: March/98). In 1993, Chris convinced her to leave a sprawling Texas
ranch and move onto a 48-foot boat in Vancouver's Burrard Inlet. She has
never been the same since.
Click here to e-mail Beverley.
Originally posted Feb. 9, 1998. Text copyright Beverley Wood, 1998.
Part of the original Sideroad.
The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at www.sideroad.com.