After almost five years of living afloat at dock and anchor, in calm and
storm, under sunny skies and drizzling rain, my perception of this life
changes almost with the tide.
Shifting perceptions happen on land too, but
I canít emphasize enough that everything is amplified on a boat: the lows
are lower, the highs are higher. Throughout it all however, there has been
one resounding constant: the sense of freedom you own. Itís yours.
| Different people have different reasons for choosing this life. For Mike
Tanguay, who lives aboard a 30-foot Catalina on the Fraser River (near
Vancouverís airport) itís the immediate freedom that makes it worthwhile.
ďThe best is those sunny mornings when I open my hatch. . .
". . .my boat is my RV on
the water, my fast get-away for the weekend."
And he too feels the
contstant motion and change that a lot of boaters treasure. "Every week on
the water is a new story, something different.," says Mike. "Sometimes
good, sometimes bad but itís the freedom over all that has me hooked."
For Steve and Sara Park, who live aboard a 45-foot strip planked
schooner in Vancouverís False Creek, this is their opportunity to make
their dream come true. Says Steve, ďYou canít not plan on heading out when
you live on a sail boat!Ē But, he cautions, ďLiving aboard is not for
everyone. For us, it has been great. It has taken the focus off buying
things like a big screen TV and kept us focused on things that will help us
when we are away from the dock. There is also a certain nobility in
investing time and money into a vehicle that can travel the planet. Ikea
furniture is nice but a sail boat is a global adventure.Ē
Like Steve and Sara, our plan five years ago was to learn the ropes and
pay the mortgage until that fateful day when we could sail off into the
proverbial sunset. But in the immortal words of Jimmy Buffett, Living
in the Briar Patch is not what it appears... Circumstance and
happenstance have combined to change our course (for the time being, at
Last week, we listed our boat for sale.
The next stage will be a
land-based residence with minimal upkeep requirements (and cable from hell,
I might add).
Itís heartbreaking to be leaving her (a boat is not an
inanimate object) but itís time. . .
||. . .primarily because we donít have time: Time
to enjoy her and really be part of the experience. Not like Iíll
entirely miss varnishing all the bright work but it is
part of the life, it is part of belonging with the boat and she with you.
Back to the Top / Back to the Sideroad
Last year we had little time to mess about and work on her and even less
time to leave the dock. And this year is shaping up to be even more demanding.
She has carried me to some magical places, of both parnoramic views and
pinpoint insights. And Iím not sure I can find that on land (I donít think
itís standard issue in a Yaletown loft). I will wish for a short sentence. I
will listen to Jimmy Buffett everyday. And next time, I will hold out for
pelicans and palm trees.
The Good Life
Troubled Waters. . .
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. 22, 1998. Text copyright Beverley Wood, 1998.
Part of the original Sideroad.
The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at www.sideroad.com.