A few times in the past few weeks I’ve been asked roughly the same question, “Where exactly are you? I mean I know you’re in Brisbane but how does that work? Where do you LIVE?”
If were to tell someone we lived in bungalow in one of Vancouver’s urban neighbourhoods most people would get a picture in their head—trees in the yard, garden in the back, contrasting trim, short walk to the grocery store, park down the street… But when I tell folks we’re on the pile moorings, beside the botanical garden, and the city centre they get nothing—no image. I don’t even get as far as saying the grocery store is four blocks away. They’re still back at, “Pile moorings? Is that a marina? Are you still on the boat?”
|morning view shortly after our arrival in Brisbane|
Still on the boat?
This question threw me the first time I was asked. But then I realized most people think of boats as recreation vehicles—and as far as they’re concerned we’re living in a trailer, albeit a double wide. And technically if you’re not actively camping, you should move out of the trailer and into your real house. But the question also helped me explain where we’re currently tied up. ‘Think of the moorings as a trailer park,’ I said. ‘For boats.’
|Being beside the Botanic Gardens means we get lots of visitors.|
|View of Brisbane from the Story Bridge--you can see a ferry in the midground and the moorings on the far left. The green foreground is our potluck park.|
Most people are familiar with marinas—they’ve walked docks and peaked in through the windows of the boats. Mooring fields and anchorages are also pretty common and easy to visualize. But pile moorings like we’re in—where boats are suspended bow and stern between posts—are a bit unfamiliar.
The logistics work like this: we are tied to one piling behind us and one in front and we take our dinghy a short distance back and forth to a dock—where in the basement of a posh hotel we have a laundry room and showers. We also have garbage and recycling bins, and place to keep our bikes, and that grocery store I mentioned (as well as the big downtown with malls, museums and libraries a short walk away).
|the city has a great mix of old and new|
|Regular ferry service and seven bridges give us lots of options for crossing the river.|
In some ways life in the moorings is not as convenient as a marina; we need to catch rain water or carry it to the boat in jugs from the laundry room faucet, we only have the power we generate from our solar panels and we need to take a dinghy to shore. But for us these minor inconveniences are more than made up for by the fact that it’s cheap (we pay $280 a month) and that we’re in a really cool location: Southbank--the site of expo 88' is across the river from us and about a 20 minute walk away, we have several farmer's markets to choose from each week and we have a huge park as our yard.
|Fireworks for some occasion or other--we have front row seats...|
We also have an interesting and ever shifting cast of neighbours who range from your standard trailer park residents in semi-derelict boats, to professionals living aboard before setting off cruising, retirees, world cruisers who have recently returned, and transients cruisers who stop for a while to enjoy living on the edge of a city.
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The pile moorings are found at the foot of Edward Street. Dockside Marina, where friends are located, is visible around the bend of the river.