Monthly Archives: July 2014

A Sailboat Shaped Treehouse

So we have been a bit on the down-low here in Jacksonville.  It’s funny, I was talking to another cruiser about how strange this lifestyle is and how we chose the Ortega Landing marina for four main reasons.  It was in Florida, it was near Green Cove Springs so that we could haul out and do the repairs we needed, it was near a major airport for a wedding we needed to fly to, and some friends had recommended the marina to us.  We thought to be here a few months.   It has been 8 months.  But at any point if you asked where we might be the following month, we did not know.  It is so strange and different than our last lives.

Anyway, we finally managed to haul out.  We brought Deosil to  Sadlers Point instead of Green Cove Springs, primarily because it was 500 yards away and Matt is working so the DIY aspect of the work was not feasible.  We moved the boat on Saturday to a slip to wait for a Monday haul-out.  Wait.  In all honesty Matt moved the boat single handed.   I was there as a symbolic masthead.  Technically my job was to tie the boat into the slip, and I was expecting to do so, but when we got there my chosen method for grabbing the piling (think big chest-high pole about 18″ thick) with the rope was not going to work and I sort of brain farted.  Matt suggested that I jump off but it was a 3.5 foot jump onto a less than 2 foot wide plank.  Um.  No.  So he let go of the helm and jumped himself.  Afterwards he said “it’s good to know I could single hand this boat.”  Um. Yeah.  I was THAT helpful.

They hauled the boat on Monday morning, and the staff drove the boat from the slip to the lift because Matt had left for work.  I just paced around in the cockpit and pretended to look important.  Then we watched her lift up out of the water.  We haven’t scraped her bottom since we bought her.  I know, I know.  We had the most amazing little ecosystem living under there. They scraped most of it off and then moved her across the yard and put stands under her.

Now instead of living in a boat I feel like I live in a tree house.  We climb a huge ladder to get on and off.  We are out of the water so our water cooled refrigeration and air conditioning will not work.  It has been in the 90’s all week.  The entire hull is now exposed to the sun so the boat gets really hot.  Like ‘if-I-don’t-move-and-barely-breathe-I-think-I-can-tolerate-this’ kind of hot. Cadence and I putter around the boat cleaning it up and making it work ready for the yard guys until the temp inside is close to 100 (by 1pm it is about 130 degrees, and by midnight it may cool to 93) and then we pack up our lives and walk down to our marina to enjoy the pool and air-conditioned clubhouse use.  My now-routine includes my neurotic vacuuming, bed making and carrying our dirty dishes down in at tub to wash on the ground since we don’t want our ‘gray water’ dribbling down the outside of the hull  they are painting and onto the pavement below.  Soggy, soapy, cheerios milk water anyone?  On the plus side, this place has restrooms with showers and they are ten steps away from the bottom of our ladder.  Of course they are like camping showers, not luxurious and very buggy.  Matt prefers to drive up to our Marina to shower and since I’m up there a lot too so do I, but once I pretended to be camping in the Colorado mountains somewhere and I sang show tunes to the ants and spiders.

As for the walk to the marina, it is less than a half mile and we are so lucky to have this option.   We stop at the ship store on the end of the building  for cold drinks (we have even used their displayed boat chairs to sit in air conditioning and read a book at their suggestion.  It must have looked funny.  “Oh look used anchors, oh that’s a nice used kayak.  Oh they have a used, slightly melted, mother and daughter here too!) I have joked with marina friends that as we are walking to the marina I look like a homeless lady.  I’m walking with a cart, stacked high to the handle with bags, I am not showered, sweat soaked, my head hangs down miserably and I am muttering to myself.  Now all I need is for Cadence to carry a sign about how we are down on our luck and I might have a good source of income.

I’ll leave the details of the boat work to Matt’s post.  I just wanted to talk about this aspect of living in a boat.  Our boat friends have all been here and they nod appreciatively and always offer their boats or iced drinks when they see us.  Our land friends are completely befuddled.   I cant wait to get Deosil back into the water.  I think boats on land are sad.  I think 96 degrees and high humidity in a black boat over asphalt is sad.  Sweat lodge anyone?  Darn, another income idea that I should have thought of last week.  Maybe next time.


I wrote this while still on the hard and now that we are back in the water with air-conditioning let me say that the two weeks in the boatyard were the hardest two weeks I’ve had as a liveaboard.  Matt got to go to an air conditioned office every day but the amount of physical activity and overwhelming heat for Cadence and I was very…hardening.  I don’t mean hard, but hardening.  The first week was mostly suffering, and I had a heat headache for 4 days straight.  The second week we toughed up.  I could walk the half mile in 94 degree heat dragging 30lbs of “life stuff” and then sit at the pool for 7 hours and not sweat.  I ate my weight in ice cubes.  I lost 3 lbs. and my physical stamina was great.  We adjusted but we were exhausted.  The first day in the water with air conditioning we didn’t get off the boat even one time.  It felt nice to be home and not get chased out by heat and workmen.  Next time we might send Cade off to Grandparents for the week, and we’ll also be more proactive about land bugs like ants.  Next time?  Ugh.  Shudder.

The haul out:

So imagine me carrying 30+ pounds of stuff like laundry, swim gear, food, toys and computers up and down the ladder, while keeping my daughter safe at the same time:

sailboat on hard


The awesome ship store where we would start every walk with a cold drink and a few moments of blessed air conditioning.  Located at the end of the building from our boat.



It is good to know as we walked around that we were in a place of historical insignificance.



After about 12 hours of 90+ degree heat, NOTHING tastes as wonderful as ice cream!


We were SO lucky that we could walk to our regular Marina and we were glad to be there on the 4th of July.  This is Cadence with her friends who are also all liveaboard kids.

boat kids july 4th


Whats the 4th of July without sparklers?!

boat kid with sparklers


There is always a silver lining right? Mother Nature has a way of correcting my perspective.

ortega river rainbow