Reflecting on Life Afloat

Now that we are back home again, with all the conveniences, I think back to our “life afloat.” quite often. Daily, in fact. There are plus and minuses to both life styles. During our first trip to the Bahamas, I wrote a blog post about living in Hope Town harbor on Elbow Cay – Island Routines. As I look back at the photos from this second trip, I see I can add a few more “life style” memories.

Searching for a connection

Searching for a connection – We learned a new level of patience when it came to a wifi connection. Isn’t it amazing how important the internet has become in our lives? And don’t we know that now, here at home, on land, as we wait and wait for Comcast to install our cable and internet.

Al modified the ladder to the flybridge to make it easier for me (and others) but it was still helpful to use a basket and pulley system to carry up necessary items for a day of traveling.

Al modified the ladder to the flybridge to make it easier for me (and others), but it was still helpful to use a basket and pulley system to carry up necessary items for a day of traveling.

Environmental issues and waste management (otherwise known as “waste not, want not”)…………..

Cutting up a plastic milk jug so that it takes up less space in the trash. Recycling is rarely an option. I did "recycle" aluminum foil. I the foil was barely used, it was wiped off and used again.

Cutting up a plastic milk jug so that it takes up less space in the trash. Recycling is rarely an option. I did “recycle” aluminum foil. If the foil was barely used, it was wiped off and used again.

A gently used paper towel was always placed by the faucet at the galley sink to be used again either for wiping the floors or cleaning a cooking pan of grease before washing.

A gently used paper towel was always placed by the faucet at the galley sink to be used again either for wiping the floors or cleaning a cooking pan of grease before washing.

Trash collection in Hope Town is a cruiser’s dream and a social event. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the trash truck comes to the dock. All you have to do is bring your bag of trash there and off it goes. Cruisers in the harbor take turns picking up trash from the boats in the harbor. Al volunteered quite often this winter, to the point where a charter guy recognized him on the street one day and said, “Hey, you’re the trash guy!”  Not really, buddy, you’re supposed to take your own turn…….

Al sets off in the dinghy on a trash day.

Al sets off in the dinghy with our bag on a trash day.

Collecting trash from other boats.

Collecting trash from other boats.

Dingy is full! Time to head over to the dock.

Dingy is full! Time to head over to the dock.

The trash truck at the dock.

The trash truck at the dock.

Al handled the trash part of our life afloat and I handled the laundry. Laundry is expensive to do in the Bahamas – $5.50 to wash and another $5.50 to dry. Clean clothes, sheets and towels feel sooo good.

The laundry at the Hope Town Inn and Marina. Nice looking, but usually only 2 out of 3 machines were functioning at any given time. And "functioning" is used loosely. ;-)

The laundry at the Hope Town Inn and Marina.  Three washes on one side and three dryers on the other. Nice looking, but usually only 2 out of 3 machines were functioning at any given time. And the word “functioning” is used loosely. 😉

Ahhh, but while you wait you can hang out at the pools. Not a bad way to do laundry after all.

Ahhh, but while you wait you can hang out at the pools. Not a bad way to do laundry after all.

The flybridge on our trawler often became our dryer . Cheaper and kinder to our clothes. Just can't plan on going anywhere that day.

The flybridge on our trawler often became our dryer . Cheaper and kinder to our clothes. Just can’t plan on going anywhere that day.

Water is always on your mind when cruising. (At least it is on mine.) I like having water, to drink and to use for cleaning, either the boat, the dishes, or myself. Kindred Spirit carries 250 gallons of water in two tanks. That’s a lot. Al’s water collection system provided us with plenty of water during this rainy winter in the Bahamas.

Al's water collection system was the talk of the harbor at times.

Al’s water collection system was the talk of the harbor at times.

Even with the collection of free water, we were still conservation conscious. A small pail in the shower was used to save the water while we waited for hot water for our showers. That pail was then dumped back into the water tanks. We never, ever, stood under constantly running water in the shower! The system — Turn the water on, get wet, turn water off. Soap and scrub clean. Turn water back on to rinse, quickly. All done.  And the water from the faucet never runs while you brush your teeth or wash your face.

I was very careful to conserve water while doing dishes.

My two tiny IKEA dish pans, one with holes and one solid. After washing in the left pan, the clean but soapy dishes are moved to the right pan to drain. The dirty water in the left pan gets dumped out and the right draining pan is set inside the now empty left one. Dishes are rinsed with the spraying faucet. Lift the draining pan out and set the dishes to dry on the drying pad on the stovetop. The left dishpan now has soapy clean water to re-use for more washing. Get that?

My two tiny IKEA dish pans, one with holes and one solid. After washing in the left pan, the clean but soapy dishes are moved to the right pan to drain. The dirty water in the left pan gets dumped out and the right draining pan is set inside the now empty left one. Dishes are rinsed with the spraying faucet. Lift the draining pan out and set the dishes to dry on the drying pad on the stovetop. The left dishpan now has soapy clean water to re-use for more washing. Get that?

Propane is the fuel of choice for cooking on boats. Electric stoves and ovens would force you to use the generator every time. Our sailboat had CNG for cooking fuel, which I liked for safety reasons, but there is no way to refill the tanks in the Bahamas. Propane tanks can be refilled in Hope Town —

Need propane? Just leave your tank, labeled with your boat name, on the dock at the Harbor View Grocery store. That boat? Its the guy who picks up the tanks to refill and then brings them back. Any one else worry about all those tanks filled with propane?

Need propane? Just leave your tank, labeled with your boat name, on the dock at the Harbor View Grocery store. That boat in the top photo? It’s the guy who  refills the tanks. Anyone else worry about that boat carrying all those tanks filled with propane? We think we saw him smoking a cigarette once.

Al handles all of the boat maintenance and I do the cooking. It’s a different kind of cooking in the very small galley compared to cooking at home, but we ate well. In a small space, you need to think ahead and get everything ready for the recipe. Since the largest surface is the top of the stove, chopping usually had to be done first, before the cooking. And a large section of the counter space is also the freezer top. You quickly learn to think ahead.

In a small space, you need to think ahead and get everything ready for the recipe. Since the largest surface is the top of the stove, chopping usually had to be done first, before the cooking. A leisurely morning means there is time to make French toast.

A leisurely morning means there is time to make French toast.

I didn't do it often, but an immersion blender was used to make a fruit and yogurt smoothie. (I do prefer the NutriBullet at home of my smoothies.)

I didn’t do it often, but an immersion blender was used to make a fruit and yogurt smoothie. (I do prefer the NutriBullet at home for my smoothies.)

Beer flatbread pizza was a team creation with Dan and Marcia on Cutting Class. 1) Dan catches lobster. 2) Marcia steams lobster. 3) I make the dough. 4) Marcia and I top the flatbread with ingredients after Al masterfully grills the bread. 5) Al finishes it off not he grill one last time. Yum!

Beer flatbread pizza was a team creation with Dan and Marcia on Cutting Class. 1) Dan catches lobster. 2) Marcia steams lobster. 3) I make the dough. 4) Marcia and I top the flatbread with ingredients after Al masterfully grills the bread. 5) Al finishes it off on the grill one last time. Yum!

No space for a food processor, but I had this small hand crank one for occasional use. Ham salad.

No space for an electric  food processor, but I had this small hand crank one for occasional use. Ham salad.

TH herbs did pretty well crossing the Gulf Stream and surviving in the Bahamas. Especially the basil.

The herbs did pretty well on the flybridge, surviving the Gulf Stream crossing and the winter in the Bahamas. Especially the basil.

That little hand crank food processor turned the basil into pesto, with help form my foot when my arms became tired.

That little hand crank food processor turned the basil into pesto, with help from my foot when my arms became tired.

I decided to try growing bean sprouts while cruising. They make a nice crunchy and healthy topping on salads and in sandwiches. The sock not he jar? That's to keep the bright light out while sprouting. Beans don't like too much light.

I decided to try growing bean sprouts while cruising. They make a nice crunchy and healthy topping on salads and in sandwiches. The sock on the jar? That’s to keep out bright sunlight while sprouting. Beans don’t like too much light.

I have struggled with making coffee on the boat, trying various methods including electric drip, percolator on the stove top, the Chemex glass drip pot. Years ago I had used a French Press but it was too much to clean. I hear that the Aeropress is good and the clean up is easier, but I haven’t gone that route. Confession time – Now that we are home again we are back to using our Keurig coffee maker. Al gets his decaf and I get my caffeine. Everyone is happy.

My coffee method for the last two months of the trip -- a combination of Chemed filters with a plastic holder and dripping into a thermos to keep the coffee hot. It tasted the best.

My coffee method for the last two months of the trip — a combination of Chemex filters with a plastic holder and dripping into a thermos to keep the coffee hot. It tasted the best.

Boat life and house life are different; each has its own merits and its drawbacks. Life is easier on land, but it is noisier, faster-paced, and more crowded. I’ve been home 2 weeks and Al has been home for only one week, but tomorrow we are heading out on Kindred Spirit for a couple of days to Stonington and Watch Hill.

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