9 Lives of a Liveaboard Cat

This is a interesting cat story courtesy of my Cruisers Forum friend, Nick, from s/v Jedi.  Thanks Nick for sharing!!!

 

We took 3 cats with us when we moved aboard. Our biggest worry was a long intercontinental flight to get to the boat, but the cats, who stayed in the luggage compartment, were unaffected by it.

Two of the cats were big friends (male and the female kitten of the 3rd cat) and the other one was not too impressed with that friendship.  Many cats merely tolerate each other, which is fine, it’s their way.

We always let our cats roam free except when we lock up for the night.  It’s a choice, and we believe they have a better life that way, although many cats are content with staying inside.  That is the nice thing with cats, and which is never possible with dogs.  At anchor, they can just fall overboard, but normally it happens as part of their adventures, like during catching fish or squid. The male managed to stay dry for about 4 years, and then he decided to walk over the steep grade transom while it was wet, slipped, and went swimming.  He went around the boat faster than I could follow with the dinghy, and then let me put him back on the swimming platform where he stayed ready to jump again for another swim.  All very macho.  We have a knotted rope hanging overboard at the stern so they can climb out. They don’t use it of-course; the rubber flap over the engine exhaust is preferred.

One cat, the youngest, fell overboard when we were on the hard.  This happened during new years and we think it was the fireworks. She broke her back on a boat stand and died.  That is the tough side of letting cats roam about.  After that, we kept them locked up at New Years Eve.

We got a new #3 cat while anchored at Isla Margerita. She became big friends with the male, but the grouchy female didn’t want anything to do with her. We taught this cat (Obi Wan Kenobi, the one that died was Yoda…) how to swim, and she would jump in and out of the dinghy, come
along for a ride, catch fish all the time but never went for voluntary swims.  I have seen cats that grow up aboard boats who do that including swimming over to other boats.

"Cat" There was a French boat with a cat named “Cat”.  He went missing in the jungle of Panama.  The owners were searching for months, put out trails of cat food from the jungle to their boat, etc. (our cats followed those trails the wrong way all the time ) In the end, they gave up and left.  Months later we were on the hard again, and the grouchy female (Pasja), went missing (we were down to 2 cats now).  This is not unusual, but we reported it to people so they knew.  The next day they came and got us because they found the cat… well, it was “Cat”, the French one (back to 3 cats).  Barely alive I might say, with wounds and a harness that was half out and grown into his skin.  We decided to try to save him, so started draining and cleaning a big abscess, cut the harness away, washed, and gave anti-biotics.

A day or so later, Pasja shows up again,( so now we have 4 cats).  But I found an cat 2 email address of the French owners, so sent an email out and
waited.  In the mean time, there were people volunteering to take “Cat” if the owners wouldn’t report.  We liked that, because we decided 4 cats was too much.  There was this one girl that really wanted it badly… but then, we got an email back from the owners… they would sail back and collect “Cat”. (We were back down to 3 cats.)  But the girl was heartbroken so we offered her a cat from us (Pasja, who didn’t like the other two so much) and she was happy with that. (We were back to 2 cats now.)

The male cat was old and sick and really at his end. We had to put him to sleep, which was the toughest thing that happened since we went
cruising.  (We were back to one cat), Obi Wan.  She was not happy alone, so we gave her to the daughter of a local guy we know here in Panama, where she is happy and catching lizards all day. So now we’re at 0 cats!

We still see Pasja and Obi Wan Kenobi now and then, and they still recognize us

 

 

Real Estate Junkie
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You know that you’re a real estate junkie when:

  • You have bought and sold more properties than your age
  • You have lived in more properties than your age
  • You’re on vacation discussing the real estate where you are vacationing
  • You have re-designed the exterior of your neighbors house (in your mind)
  • You have “your” real estate broker on speed dial
  • The guy at Home Depot has you on speed dial
  • You have your broker’s MLS password
  • Your vehicle floor is covered in nails and tools
  • Your vehicle is a sh*tbox pick-up truck, and you love it
  • At night you dream about tossing your tenant’s crap out the door
  • At night you dream about tossing your tenant out the door
  • You have tossed your tenant out the door

 

landlord

 

In this post I discussed where cruisers get their money while cruising.  What will feed our kitty?  Continue on to find out.

 

I bought my first house when I was 23.  I worked all summer babysitting, making $540 per week, saving every nickel.  By the end of the summer, I had saved $4,000.  It was just enough for closing costs.  With a bit of finagling, I managed to qualify for a first time buyer, no money down loan.  At that time, everyone thought my mom was crazy.  They would say, “Why are you letting her buy a house, she’s going to ruin her credit, and, her life.”  My mom was the one who convinced me to buy.  She knew that I could do it, and I did.

From there, one house led to the next, until soon I was an established real estate developer/investor.  I bought 3 unit buildings, gutted them, renovated, converted to condos, and sold.  I also owned a bunch of “triple decker” rentals in crappy areas.  I capitalized for as long as I could, while watching the real estate market climb rapidly.  In 2003, 5 years after I bought my first house, I decided that I was done with Boston.  I wasn’t comfortable with the exorbitant pricing.  I sold everything that I had, and began to look for a new location.  (I was very lucky, the market plunged soon after.)

I happened upon a large apartment complex owned by HUD (Housing and Urban Development).  It was in another state, hours from where I live.  The project was comprised of blocks and blocks of dilapidated row houses,  in the worst possible area, drug plagued and violence stricken.  Decrepit homes abound, crack heads, and prostitution reigned.  It was a ghetto.  Worst than anything that I had ever experienced in my 28 years.  If all the abandoned, boarded up haunties in the area were to be razed, the place would be vacant.  I bought it.

homewood

I went to the HUD auction and bid against 2 others.  I paid $348, 000 at the auction for 145 units in complete and total disrepair.  I was delighted.  Compared to Boston, where you could buy 1 house for the same money, this seemed like a steal.  The local papers had reports that snipers from the roofs of my new “wonderland” would shoot at cops, as they patrolled the area. So, the cops didn’t bother patrolling anymore.  The place was a lawless war-zone.  Anything went, murder, rape, drugs, prostitution and no one gave a damn, as long as it was contained to that area.  I didn’t care.  I was on a mission.

homwood 2

I brought a crew of guys from Boston, hired a few locals and immediately began to renovate and rent the units one by one,  all low-income tenants.  I completed 84 units in 1 year.  The place was crazy, tools stolen daily, break-ins, vandalization, bullets through windows, and arson attempts in my units.  I was even threatened a few times, which led to fights, cops, and questioning.  Not to mention the nutty tenants.  Anyone looking to live in this neighborhood had to be somewhat demented.  I carried a small pistol in the front pocket of my jacket, and hoped to never have to use it.

cop 1

cop2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was a single parent at the time to 4 young kids (ages 2-4).  I spent 4 days away, supervising my project out of town, then flew home for 3 days.  Flying in and out, every Thursday night  and Monday morning, like clockwork, to relieve my babysitter and see my kids.  By the end of the 1st year, I was completely exhausted, burnt out and beat down.  I was also in danger.  I had been arguing with the residents of the crack house across the street to keep their “visitors” off of my property.  The drug dealers were doing their best to intimidate me, and it was working.  I had also heard through the grapevine that there was talk of kidnapping me.  I know, it sounds crazy, normally I would have thought so too, but after a year in hell, I felt anything was possible, and with 4 kids, I wasn’t taking any chances.  I sold.

My layer of tough skin developed that year.  I left feeling that there was nothing that I couldn’t accomplish.

I spent the next year at home taking a break, and working on a fun historic home that I purchased.  This house was in tough shape,  everyone said that it couldn’t be restored.  “Tear it down”, they remarked.  I knew better.  Fixed that baby up, and made it shine.  The mayor of the town with the Historic Commission gave me a Preservation Award when the house was complete.  I was proud.  It was gorgeous.

 

woburn before

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100_2971 100_2974 100_2975 100_2976 woburn me 2

My historic property sold and I was left with… What now?  The market was a disaster.  I wasn’t willing to risk doing anymore flips in Boston, but, I still had a family to feed, and bills to pay.  I hadn’t a clue.  I sat tight for a couple months when suddenly, one morning, as I awoke, it came to me.

 

Continued here.

 

 

 

 

Boat Shopping

I have been scouring for months trying to find the “perfect” boat.  These are the sights that I have used:

 

There are many boats to choose from.  It gets very confusing; especially when you need accommodations for 5 kids, plus adults.  Trying to sort through what’s important, and what isn’t, is difficult.  This boat will be home, not just for vacationing, so we have to get it right.  The goal is to become international cruisers.  That in itself brings a whole slew of requirements.  Comfort, safety, range, efficiency and maintenance are all considerations.

 

Folks have advised to walk on as many boats as you can.  Get a feel for the different styles.  I had no intention of doing that.  I figured why waste the time, unless I believe that the boat could be the “one”.  This morning I had a revelation.  One of my kids refused to taste the sweet mango slices that I had just cut.   While listening to myself tell him to” Try it, because how will you know that you don’t like it, if you don’t try it?”,  I suddenly realized that I was being foolish.

 

How do I really know that I don’t like Chris Craft; or that Nordhaven will be too cramped, when I had never stepped on one.  I was being silly.

I immediately jumped on Yachtworld and began my search.

I came up with a few boats in my area.

 

70′ Broward   $298,000  http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1980/Broward-Flybridge-Motor-Yacht-2189890/Boston/MA/United-States

broward

 

60′ Chris- Craft  180,000  http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1974/Chris-craft-Roamer-1931647/Boston/MA/United-States

chris

 

80′ 1985 Hatteras $649,000   http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1985/Hatteras–1556301/Portsmouth/NH/United-States

hat

 

 

 

This boat is probably waaaayyyyy out of my league.  It is 90 FEET!!!!!  Holy Crap, it’s AMAZING!!!!!.  Plus, it has sails.  This is a MUST see.  Wow, the interior wood is beautiful.  It has the perfect amount of cabins.  Plenty of space.  Ocean-Crossing. 6000 nm range.  Only drawback;  I wouldn’t be able to move an inch without crew…Booooo….

Can’t wait to see her.

90′ North Sea Expedition Trawler

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1963/North-Sea-Trawler-Expedition-Passenger—12-Pack%2C-Jones-Act-Exempt%2C-All-US-Waters-2611404/Belfast-/ME/United-States

trawler

 

 

I have e-mailed the brokers of these boats to set up showings.  Let the shopping begin.

 

 

2nd Attempt

The 1st attempt at telling my kids about the plan did NOT go well.  I waited, then tried again.

 

About 3 months passed before I brought it up.  I sat them all down one day and said, “So, have you guys thought about what we have talked about?  Selling the house and taking off in a boat to go see the world”, I said, with the utmost enthusiasm.  I explained that it would mean not going to high school where we live, but rather participating in an online high school curriculum.  I also told them that they wouldn’t be in school for 6 hours a day as they are now.  They could customize their own schedule, doing a few hours every morning, to allow for more free time throughout the day.  I explained that they will still have friends, other kids that are living the same lifestyle, and their buddies from home could visit the boat.  I passionately listed all the wonderful aspects of cruising:  We can go where ever we want. Stay as long or short as we choose.  Explore new places!  Meet new friends!  Try new foods!  Experience different cultures!

They were excited.  They began asking questions, again, but this time it was much more organized.  Everyone was listening attentively to each other talk, allowing me to finish my sentences, and interested in the responses.  It went VERY well.  They were all on board, and, looking forward to the great adventure.

Accept… of course… for the one kid, there’s ALWAYS, that, one kid.  This time, it’s my oldest son,  he still wants nothing to do with it.  I can’t say I blame him, after all, he’s 13.  He has just gotten a taste of freedom.  And… he’s an “Extreme-Social Butterfly.”  Has been since kindergarten.  This kid would get so many “play-date” requests, I joked that he needed his own secretary to schedule, and chauffeur to take him.  He was invited to play with kids he barely knew and got an invite to every party.  Nothing has changed now that he is older.  He is still in high demand.  His social calendar is on overload and sometimes I have to tell him, “No”, that he can’t go 3 places in one day, because he will run himself ragged, and has at times.  He is proud that he has so many ‘friends’, and enjoys them all.  His whole world right now revolves around his social interactions.  Luckily, he is a great judge of character for his age and he chooses to be ‘friends’ with nice kids.  He has no tolerance for mean,  and avoids kids that don’t behave appropriately.  Hopefully, his good judgement won’t be influenced negatively when he gets to High School.  I say, “when” he goes, rather than “if” he goes, because I know that there is nothing short of a miracle, that is going to convince this kid to come with us cruising.  Unfortunate, but true, because I would never force him.  Which brings me back to Plan A or Plan B.

I have to make a choice.  Go without him, in which case I would have to leave him with my brother to finish high school, or stay here until he finishes high school, then take off.  Unless…I can figure out a way to show him that he will love cruising, then hope he does.  This would definitely need to entail frequent contact with other liveaboard kids his age.  Not sure if it’s even possible.  I’ll have to research this further, but I know that we will go out our way, and plan our travel routes around the location of other teens and kids.

 

At this point, I have 4 out of 5 kids ready, and excited to go.  Not bad.  I just have to figure out what to do about that one kid…

 

Ways to Make Money While Cruising…Truth B Told

Cruisers:  Cruisers are those who travel while living aboard.  Some cruisers are underway daily, and some will anchor or dock at a location for extended intervals, a week, month or longer.  Cruisers are frequent travelers, always on the go.  Cruisers are always liveaboards, but liveaboards arn’t always cruisers.

Cruisers are a ‘tough’ bunch.  Traveling from place to place, the gypsy way.  There is always the concern of how one will survive while enjoying a life where your view changes every day, week, month.  This nomadic existence is reserved for the select few who are able to thrive without being completely strapped to a physical land commitment (a daily job).

 

Where DOES a cruisers money come from?

 

Passive Income, also know as residual income, is money that you receive without having to do very much.  There are many retired cruisers out there, and for a good reason.  Many live off passive income.  Some examples are social security income, pension, annuity, and 401k.  Passive income requires no maintenance.  Meaning little to no effort to continue the flow.  The check just comes in the mail every month, without having to do anything to generate it.  This type of passive income generally takes years of working and tax paying.  You cannot create this income over night.  Some will never be entitled.  Those who do will usually have to wait until retirement age of at least 62 to receive it.

 

What about the rest of us who want to go cruising now?  I have done some research on this topic.  These are some of the most frequently discussed and unrealistic ways of generating passive income for cruisers.

 

  • Write a book and get royalties – Easier said than done.  Your book better be a great seller.  It takes time to write a great book and many are just not that skilled.
  • Invest in stocks that pay dividends– Seriously? The first problem with this one is that you have to have money, to make money. The second problem is that it’s extremely risky.  If you don’t know what your doing, you could really loose big here and fast.
  • Bank and CD interest from savings – What interest? Banks interest rates are at an all time low in this economy.  To make a decent return, you have to put your money into foreign entities and that is risky.
  • Become a silent partner in a business – This one isn’t half bad.  However, if your going this route, you had better know the business is solid, and that you can trust your partner(s).  These perfect storms are few and far.

 

Not-So-Passive income There are plenty of other ways to generate income while cruising.  They require some or all of the following: time, knowledge, skill, maintenance and money.  All are realistic.

 

  1. Consultant -This requires knowledge.  No one is going to pay for your services if you’re not an expert in your field, but if you are, it’s a great way to generate income as a cruiser because you can consult via phone and web, right from your boat.
  2. Business (brick-and-mortar) – This one is very tricky.  You can make great money owning a business, but, someone has to run it (while your out cruising).  You can hire someone, but they better be good.  Also, this takes time, money and skill to be successful.
  3. Website Business (informational) – This requires skill and time.  But, if you have great content that others are willing to pay for, could be very lucrative.
  4. Internet Sales – This could be a great one, especially if you are able to network with a distribution company to ship product.  Don’t stuff your cockpit with neckties and coffee mugs 🙂
  5. Work- From- Home(boat) – All of the following can be excellent sources of income if you have the skill and time. They are also liveaboard friendly.  But, some do require a reliable internet connection, which can be challenging at times for cruisers.
    • Web Design
    • Software Design
    • Medical Transcription
    • Freelance Writing
    • Editing
    • Translation
    • Virtual Customer Service
    • Virtual Tech Support
    • Accounting Services
  6. Real Estate Investment – My personal choice.  This requires some knowledge and money.  There is also a time and travel commitment, unless you are going to be completely hands-off, by way of a management company.  If so, better be sure that the company that you hire is a good one.

 

Savings – Some folks, usually retirees, live off savings, sold homes with lots of equity and sold businesses.

 

Charter -There are cruisers that charter their boats while cruising.  This is an awesome way to get paid, while doing what you love.

 

Boat Delivery/Captain/Crewing– Another great way to make money while doing what you love.

 

Land Jobs – Couldn’t end without acknowledging that many cruisers pick up work as they travel from place to place.  They stay a while, feed the kitty, and keep it moving.  Some cruisers also pick up work from the dock from other cruisers; mechanical work, diving jobs, hair cuts and other services.

 

Our crew will travel on property investment income.  Perfect for cruisers 😉

 

 

Coming soon….Real Estate JUNKIE”

 

“Life is, Indeed, What Happens While You are Busy Making Other Plans”

 

     John Lennon? Allen Saunders? Quin Ryan? Walter Ward? Henry Cooke? Robert Balzer? L. S. McCandless? Who really said it first? The earliest written publication of this quote was sighted in the January, 1957 Readers Digest, Quotable Quotes. Though we know not the true author, one thing is for sure, many people have repeated it, probably in frustration, realizing that their well thought out plans had gone to the wayside, thwarted, quite simply another ruse that made them feel ‘in control’ of their life.  I certainly learned this long before I had ever heard the famous quote, when years ago, after months of well thought out plans to expand my business, I realized that life had just thrown me a curve ball, and life was carrying on without any chance of my well laid plans being a part of it. I even remember saying something similar, but alas, at some point, stumbled upon this famous quote, which completed the puzzle of my life, hitting home for me in a big way! Yes, those words would never unexpectedly hit me hard again, as I thought I had, by now, learned that ‘the universe always has the first move’, period.

      GG’s recent post on the subject of selling her home as part of the “plan”, hit home in a big way for me, and jogged my memory of my experience, which included the sale of property as the touchstone for one of my life’s great “plans”.

CruzBay

     Since 2000, after visiting my cousin in St. John USVI, I had dreamed of moving there, and experience ‘Life in Paradise’. I had been to a half dozen other Caribbean Islands, but none drew me like St. John. Sure, my cousin was there, and I had made many friends through my twice yearly visits over 5 or 6 years since, but it was not these things that drew me. It was it’s ‘campy’ small island feel, the friendly locals, the absolutely astounding variety of beaches, all in very close proximity to each other, it’s many ex-pats in my age group, that made it feel like a playground especially for 40-60 somethings, the fact that you could still get a delicious cheeseburger for five bucks, a love of sailboats & friends who owned them, the fact that three quarters of the island was national park, and on and on and on……. At any rate, you get the idea.

Maho-Bay

     Up until now, 2006, it had been a dream of mine. But after all, dreams are for dreamers, and plans are for doers. So I needed a plan! Oh, but there is that 4 letter word again.

     Having been a real estate broker for 15 yrs and counting, I had a handle on the market, and an inkling that the RE bubble in Boston was about to burst in the not too distant future. Having been a top producer and listing agent, I had no desire to kiss seller’s toes when that bubble actually burst. I could see a definite downturn, via less listings and more competition, a veritable shark pool of agents swarming every potential listing. I, in no way, wanted a part in that, and thought, I would rather go swim with sharks in paradise. I needed a plan.

sharks

     So plan I did! I had renovated three units in a three family dwelling, two of which were sold off already. I set about finishing the renovation of the last unit, mine. The plan was to finish it, put it on in the spring market of 2007. Once it sold, I would have the funds I needed to sustain myself on St. John, at least until I found a job, while putting the rest away for a nest egg. I calculated that it would be sold and closed by late summer, after all, I was an agent, who should know better than me? So, I had set my ‘plan’ in motion and was halfway there! Once sold, I could leave the ‘rat race’ behind, probably in Sept., and arrive down STJ just in time to start the busy tourist season, thereby the best time to land a job.

     Well, the summer came and went, no bites on my condo, so by Aug., I knew my ‘plan’ was just that, and life was taking it’s own course. So, I made a decision, I put my condo in the hands of a good broker friend, put my belongings in storage, packed my summer clothes and bare necessities, counted my cash, and boldly made my departure!

cruz bay

     Arriving mid Sept., I actually found a job my first day there, in my favorite restaurant in Coral Bay, the Shipwreck Landing, right next door to where I would be staying temporarily, with my cousin, until I got settled in a place of my own.

Shipwreck Landing

     So, once again, that not so old saying, that “Life is what happens, while you are planning it” (my version of the saying) rang true. And while many men have been credited with authoring it, I was once again, reminded that plans are just ideas of the way we want life to proceed, and that many a well laid plan goes awry, so we just have to hop on the unicorn’s back, grab that horn, and let it take us for a ride, because if you wait for your perfect plan to unfold the way you plan it, forever comes along, and all you are left with is your dream.

the_maiden_and_the_unicorn

      My house did sell in January, and the job I thought would be hard to find, fell in my lap first day on island, and could not have been much more convenient than right next door. So, dreams do come true, but planning life often doesn’t.

 “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Blog of the Week 6/2/13- 6/8/13

We thought it would be fun to have a 5 Kids and a Boat “Blog of the Week” post, every week.

 

The very first ever “Blog of the Week”, for this week, is Zack Aboard.  We love the photography and the upcycling!

 

About: Husband, Wife and 2 young kids living aboard “Majestic”, their 1999 St. Francis 44 MkII catamaran.

 

"Majestic"

“Majestic”

House For Sale (Kids NOT included)

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We have this fantastically exciting plan to sell the house, buy a boat, and GO CRUISING!  The first step, ditch the house.  Our home is currently on the market for sale.  It has been, for over a month now, and I have to tell you, it isn’t easy.

I often refer to myself as a real estate junkie.  Which means that I have bought and sold quite a few properties in my day, both investment property and primary residences for my family and I.  Been around the block a few times as far as loading and unloading real estate.  This sale has definitely been one of the most difficult.  It’s the wait.  Waiting sucks.  BAD.  Being patient is hard, especially when you have something spectacular that you’re waiting for.  Life changing, really.   Like having this wretched boss that you despise, and co-workers that you want to strangle, and knowing that you are quitting your job soon.  Those last 2 weeks are brutal.  Or being at the very end of a rough pregnancy. When you just want the baby to, “hurry up and come out, already”.  We just want the house to, “hurry up and sell, already”.

It’s challenging selling a house that is loaded with kids.  Besides all of the things that I had to do to prepare the house for sale, before it even hit cleaning the market, which was arduous in itself, the maintenance is just as bad.  It takes me 6 hours to clean the house to model condition, before every showing.  The very moment that I clean a bath, and go to the next, the kids are right behind me, messing it up.  As I put toys away, other toys are scattered about.  I also have to make sure the grass is perfectly manicured, and keep all the new shrubs and planting watered daily so that they look their best.  The brokers usually give half a days notice, so it’s a mad-dash marathon clean, trying to get it all done.  It takes right up to the appointment time to finish, and I am usually breaking a sweat, as I run out the back door, while the broker and buyers walk through the front.  For the past month I have been trapped in a whirlwind; dirty, clean, show, dirty, clean, show, dirty, clean, show….

100_3441 There is even work to be done after the showing.  I have certain “staging” items throughout the house.  New bedware, 100_3443 pillows on the coaches, dining set-up and rental furniture.  These items all have to be preserved in new condition.  Before the showing everything has to be set set up.  Immediately following the showing I have to remove all of the new bed-ware and replace it back with the old stuff, remove pillows from the sofas, put certain accent pieces away for safe keeping, and cover the rental furniture with blankets, so that my kids won’t destroy them.  It isn’t easy.

We had hoped to get the house sold by the end of Spring, in order to be ready to purchase the boat, have the summer to have it transported home, complete any refit neededed for winter life aboard, and get the boat all set up at our slip, and new home.  This would also have allowed time for the kids to acclimate to living on a boat before they go back to school, and give me time to get to know the systems and how they operate.

Unfortunately, the sale won’t happen in time for us to get situated before winter, which is always the way, isn’t it?  Things almost never go as planned.  We will need to re-evaluate our timing later, figuring, no point in dwelling on it until the house is gone, and we locate and purchase the boat.  The wait is painful.  We are are eager to get on with step 2, and get our new life in motion.  Tomorrow is another day, and, with that, brings hope to get this house under agreement, then sold. Fingers crossed…

life is what happens

 

Does Putting on Boat Shoes, Make You a Boater, and Qualified to be Called Such?

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Galaxy’s admission about us (the crew), “knowing nothing about boating” is not entirely true. I grew up a city girl by Boston Harbor, but summered on a lake/pond my entire life.  As kids, row boats & canoes were a part of our everyday existence. Fearless we were, and if we could not get permission to take one out, albeit; being handed the oars or paddles, we would take it anyway and paddle with our hands & feet. Now, mind you, we weren’t on lake Michigan, no, only a very smallish lake, which I am sure at the deepest was 15-20 ft, if that. We did eventually buy another camp on a larger pond, nothing fancy, no running hot water, so, boiling water to do the dishes, and baths in the lake were ok by us, as it belonged to us. It was known as a great fishing spot, as well as being very deep & murky, full of snappers, large, old ones, lake moccasins, lots of large mouth bass, perch & fabulous bullfrogs. This small plot of land was alongside a Herring run, which, when they ran upstream as they do, into the pond, the bass would be there waiting for them, and we, in turn, would be there waiting for the bass. We also found this fortuitous, as my Mom’s parents hailed from Newfoundland & they fondly called themselves ‘Herring chokers’.  So this spot, we felt, was really meant for us. We loved life on the water, even if only along the shore, and everyday centered around that water.

      We did eventually expand our boating wings to Sunfish.  And I have to admit that many a Sunfish sail and mast ended up at the bottom of that pond, until we mastered sailing well enough to not “deep six” anymore sails & masts to a deep, murky resting place.

     Eventually my parents would buy a motor boat for fishing, water skiing and just fun riding.  We loved it.  But, for ‘peace & quiet’, I always took the rowboat out, especially early morning in thick fog, where one could not see a finger in front of you.  Best fishing ever!

For mischievous ‘peace & quiet’ my friends and I (6 or 7 of us) would all load into the row boat, again, no paddles, and make our way out to the middle, then all stand & rock the boat, much to my elderly neighbors chagrin. He & his missus would be hollering out at us to “come in!” or “I’ll call the police”, which to his credit, he never did , nor did he ever tell my mother.

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     I would have the pleasure through the years of motoring & sailing with friends, once even sailing Vancouver Bay in BC for a week in a old wooden 50′ schooner, which was the thrill of a lifetime for this city girl at 19, who had only ever sailed my little Sunfish.

     Now, I know these childhood antics in no way qualify me to crew a large trawler, but that is OK.  As the desire to learn, the ability of a quick study, and having some awesome friends to say, “Go for it, y’all can do it!”, a couple of good USCG qualified captain friends who are willing to teach us, and we will learn. 

 “Step into those shoes, name one persistence, and the other determination.

Walk omnipotently, and do not stop until you reach success.

You’ll know when you are there, as success has no sex,

and doesn’t recognize failure.”

 Meme