Well we’ve finally done it. This past weekend we moved all of our stuff aboard Sundowner and now we officially live on a boat! It’s completely wild and awesome. In short I LOVE IT. Five years in the making and it’s actually happened…I almost can’t wrap my head around it. So was the move stressful? What did we do with all of our stuff? How did we make it happen? Is it cramped? Have I thrown Tate overboard yet? Have we taken a shower yet? These are questions I asked myself about the future over the years, in the future tense of course.

What about all of our STUFF? It’s funny but even before I met Tate in 2009 I had begun the “downsizing” process. When I moved away from college in 2007 I had TWO giant truckloads full of stuff, enough to fit a 2 bedroom house fully furnished and enough clothes to clothe a sports team. It was at this time I had sort of an epiphany. Look at all this stuff I said to myself…I hardly use any of it. After a while I got tired of lugging it around and in late 2008 I made the decision to move into a New Orleans studio apartment with just me myself and I and my little dog Snuggles. I was single and ready for a new life with cheaper rent and not so much clutter. It was a liberating experience to throw or give away the things I didn’t really need. My life was more consolidated and I was more discerning about what I bought in the future.

Then I met Tate and all of his stuff in his 1900 SF house. We dated, decided to buy a world sailing boat and then moved in together in an 1100 SF condo. This meant Tate had to downsize and I had to downsize further. We went through everything and really just tried to bring the bare minimum we needed to live.

This brings us to this past weekend. We shifted any contents of “easy access” lockers on the boat to other areas and then started the BIG MOVE. Crunched for time with a funeral on Saturday (my dear Great Uncle Bob) and work during the week we basically tore through the condo like tornadoes, taking only the things we thought we needed and hauling them to the boat. EVERYTHING else is being given away or set by the side of the road. Was this process hard? NOT. AT. ALL. Easy peasy as most of our stuff is kinda ragged anyways from years of frugal living.
Tate's moving truck

With most all of our stuff on the boat now what sticks out to me the most is how much stuff we left behind. How much stuff we didn’t need. Oodles of pots, pans, cups, plates, clothing, furniture, bath stuff, trinkets etc just didn’t make the cut. We took about 4 pots/pans of different sizes, 8 cups, 5 plates, a little bit of plastic ware, bare essential cooking ware, a certain number of shirts, pants, shorts, underwear, socks, shoes, outerwear, bath stuff, medicine and bedding. That’s pretty much it.

In roughly 8-10 dock carts we loaded all our worldly possessions onboard. Another thing that REALLY sticks out to me is just how much space we have left in the boat for more things! The Westsail 32 is HUGE for storage. I’m confident that you could pack enough stores for 2 people for 6 months on this boat with everything stowed away in cabinets and drawers. Incredible.
The nav table area with all our stuff
The galley area with all our stuff

So was this stressful? To me it was not. I was ready, so so ready to move on the boat and start this much simpler life. Already living on the boat has been an incredible experience. I have every little thing I need right at my finger tips. No excess garbage to go rummaging through. I no longer have two places to clean and let me tell you, cleaning and organizing our boat can be done in 30 minutes including dusting and vacuuming. This is a feature I greatly look forward to as I have spent so many hours in my life cleaning…SO many ever since I was a little kid.
The salon area with all our stuff
The salon area with all our stuff

It’s hard to explain but even with Tate onboard and everything not yet put away into it’s new home the boat doesn’t seem to feel cramped, to me. I’m not sure what Tate’s take on the boat life is so far but I’m sure he’ll enlighten us. Perhaps it’s because there are different “rooms” with the galley, salon, head and vberth all kind of separate.

We also now have the best outdoor patio ever something that was lacking so much from our last place. I think many many nights are going to be spent out there looking at the stars and talking while Tate smokes his pipe. There are Great Blue Herons and Kingfishers that hangout on pilings nearby and we have a unobstructed view of the horizon which leads to beautiful sunsets.

So far we have mostly slept with the hatches open and screens in place letting in wonderful fresh air that makes me feel great. We don’t have an air conditioner or heater onboard but I haven’t felt the need for one yet and the temperatures are still quite mild. 80 degrees or below with them falling all the time. When it gets cold I put my long johns and wool socks on and when it’s warm I wear little and turn our fans on which work great and are quiet.

For showers right now we walk over to the bath house late in the evening although we could shower on the boat with hot water from the kettle and our pump sprayer. To quench my need for hot water in the morning to wash my face we boil water the night before in our awesome kettle on the stove and put it in this fantastic Bunn carafe that keeps the water piping hot for the next day. I use a little bowl and mix the hot water with cool from our tanks to make a wonderful wash basin for my morning ritual. I LOVE that thing.
The head area with all our stuff

Right now we sleep in the vberth with the little triangle insert in to give us some more space. This is very comfortable but we have to get used to (Tate has to get used to) me crawling over him in the middle of night to get to the head. We are working on that. The first night was pretty restless for the both of us with all the new noises and creaks but each night it gets better. Last night I slept like a baby all the way through the night! Maybe it’s because the boat is rocking with the cold front we have coming. Saturday we are looking forward to 30 knots of wind driving the temps down to the 40’s.

Ahh, life on the water, always an adventure. Right now I keep my work clothes hanging my car along with my shoes and belts. For laundry we’ll go our dear friend Michele’s house and bum loads. Later I plan to plunger wash them in a black bucket I got with salt water first and a fresh water rinse, wringing them out in between to minimize fresh water usage and aid line drying.

Another neat benefit of living in a marina is all the people we meet. We have met and talked to more neighbors here in the last 4 days then we have in 3 years at our condo. Just yesterday as I was leaving the boat for work at 8am I saw a new boat just adjacent to us. It was two youngish cruisers who had just sailed this tiny little boat (24 feet I think) from New York to New Orleans via rivers and they has JUST arrived that night. Such interesting people out here I tell you what.

This weekend we’ll finally get some time to put everything away and then rearrange it and put it back away. Hey we might even carve a pumpkin, a little late but you know we are some busy folk these days! Also we don’t have internet on the boat yet so posts will have to be written at home then uploaded somewhere else, leading to less than consistent post intervals. I suppose it’s better to get used to it now as this will no doubt be exaggerated when we leave. I’m super excited to be finally here and can’t wait for what future holds. We are leaving in just about 2 MONTHS!!