“Why is this never easy?” he asked me as we both pondered his predicament.
Have you seen those memes going around? The ones that describe different peoples’ perception of a lifestyle? Well the one for cruising might look a bit like this:
Sure—there are a lot of pretty moments; but to get anywhere, to do just about anything, it’s just not easy.
It started to pour (soaking his freshly cleaned laundry) as we tried to get my neighbour's dinghy free from the underside of the dock (pulling didn’t work, pushing didn’t work, setting it free didn’t work). We talked about the living aboard learning curve and about all the little things you never think of when you’re dreaming about being one of those boats at anchor in an exotic location.
My neighbour explained he was transitioning to living aboard (and now his sole means of transport was trapped under the dock…) How do you stay ahead of the mildew he asked? Ah, the mildew—I think we can watch it grow right now. Seriously—in a matter of hours it blooms. We’ve been told again and again we’re having an unusually wet winter (and it is only four days into the season) but constant humidity and relative warmth is a recipe for growth--all you can do is keep wiping down and hope for sun.
Then he explained this ‘weird’ thing that happens every time he starts a simple project (like bailing a dinghy), “I get into it and realize ten more things are involved. Rather than taking an afternoon—three days later you realize the whole boat’s disassembled.” So I explained ‘project creep’ (this is how fixing a leak can lead to rewiring a light by way of replumbing a sink drain...) and the correct way to predict how long something will take (double the time and take it up to the next unit—so a three hour project will take six days, a two day project four weeks and so on.)
It rained harder and we decided his dinghy wasn’t going to come free until slack water. So Maia and I made our (wet) way home and he headed off for coffee—thinking when he got the dinghy free he might need a new cup for bailing.
We saw him later—rowing home. He commented his lifejacket was gone and he couldn’t swim, so if I saw the dinghy float by without him would I go have a look? Then he surprised me. “That was a great afternoon,” he said. “You convinced me that living aboard is definitely the way to go. Thanks.”