Life on a boat isn’t that much different to life on land. We still eat, sleep, go to the toilet, kids still do schoolwork, etc. just things are adjusted a little.
Apart from it being called a galley, there isn’t much our kitchen is missing compared to home. The fridge opens through a removable panel in the bench and accessed from the top. This makes getting most things out a bit of an ordeal because invariably it’s in the bottom box and the fridge has to be emptied to get at it. For some reason beers never seem to be hard to access.
The only other differences are that the oven/stove swings with the boat’s motion and the dishwasher is called Wench (Heather) or Slave (Rich) and occasionally Master or Mistress (Milly or Ben).
In our last boat we had to sleep under the cockpit. (A cockpit on a boat is where the wheel is, not the spaceship controls) The bed was large but with only about a metre headroom, getting in or out meant climbing over someone/something. On Vega, however, the cockpit is in the centre of the boat, leaving room for a massive aft cabin. This is the biggest luxury on board so we have a proper queen size bed with the most comfortable memory foam mattress topper. Best sleep in years especially with the gentle rocking motion of the boat. As a bonus we can also get into the bed from both sides, no more climbing over each other!
The kids cabin is only about a metre wide, 1.7m long and 1.8m high but in there there are bunk beds (60cm wide) with mesh lee cloths for ventilation (thanks mum), toy and book storage as well as most of the tools and spares for the boat stored under Ben’s bunk. They love their cubby room.
Bathroom versus Heads
For some crazy reason a bathroom on a boat is called the head. It probably comes from toilets on boats last century consisting of a “direct deposit” off the bow sprit (sorry more nautical terms – it’s a whole new language).
Anyway the heads/bathroom is the only place where I dream of a landlubber lifestyle with hours soaking in a luxurious bath, a toilet that flushes with the press of a button and doesn’t block just because it feels like it. I don’t think I need to go into the gory details but a blocked toilet on board makes the episode of removing the old holding tank seem like a very sanitary affair.
But back to the bath, we have a huge salty one all around us but I’m a woos when it comes to cold water so I think it will take until August before I’m happy to soak in it. Showers on board are also not so enjoyable as at home. They are short (to save water) and require the water to be pumped out the bathroom floor afterwards. Not conducive to washing everyday and I think Ben holds the record for the longest time without a fresh water wash (about 2 weeks).
As adults we can step out of the rat race for a while but we didn’t want the kids to fall behind academically. So they are enrolled in Sydney Distance Education Primary School. With it’s history of a widely dispersed population, Australia has plenty of experience with distance education and does a great job of making it easier for us to keep up with kids schooling. Milly and Ben both have teachers in Sydney who send work sets for each fortnight. We aim for one hour of school each day and so far have managed to cover most of the set work within that time. Milly’s work is ipad based while Ben’s is sent via snail mail, a term at a time. Considering our patchy internet coverage I’m not convinced which method is better.
They haven’t missed anything educationally. Milly even sat her NAPLAN tests at the Club Maritimo while we were stuck in Mahon with gale force winds blowing. The biggest thing they are missing about school and home is their friends. They send a big hello to everyone.
I started writing this blog by the full moon as we sailed/motored through the night from Menorca, Spain to Sardinia, Italy. Since then we have spent a week in the straights of Bonifacio and had the sum total of 3 days in France (so much for getting to use my French on this trip). I finish this blog as the kids play on the beach with a Danish sailing family with kids the same age. The kids have played for hours even with no common language. Life is pretty cool!!!