Looking over our photos of idyllic beaches and topaz blue waters, you’d think that life aboard a sailboat looked like a Chanel perfume ad. You can just see me swinging in a hammock on a sun-drenched foredeck as a breeze lifts the hems of my white linen trousers. And in my lap is a puppy. There’s always a puppy. Not a cat who likes to wake me up by clawing me in the head.
Then again, I’m sure you also know that living aboard a small, tipping weeble-wobble of a vessel is not all sunshine and Prozac commercial takes.
For starters, completing a simple task just takes longer on a boat than it does elsewhere. You need a roll of toilet paper? Well, you’ll have to remove your entire mattress and bedding first, then pull off the slab of wood covering your V-berth storage and pull out several items you don’t need so you can reach the toilet paper. Then you have to put all the items you pulled out back in storage and cover it up so you can put your mattress and bedding back together. But at least you now have toilet paper.
You just wish you’d realized you were out of toilet paper before you started doing the bathroom dance.
I guess that part got cut from the commercial with the hammock and the puppy.
Of course, I realize these are petty, insignificant complaints. After all, sometimes I do get to sit on a hammock and I often get to walk on beautiful beaches. Who wouldn’t trade a little comfort for the view I have each day?
But when the waves are tossing pots and pans onto the floor, my hair is crusty and there isn’t enough water for a shower, the little things start to eat at me. And then my mental monologue can sound a little like this:
Shit, are we out of water?
Where is that rattling coming from?
Music. That will drown out the rattling. Crap, are the speakers broken again?
What is that smell?
Has it really only been 4 days since we filled up our water tanks?
I need to use the computer. But the batteries are low.
Seriously, what IS that smell?
Did we put blue stuff down the head?
Where is the blue stuff?
It’s probably under the settee cushions, under 15 cans of coconut milk. I’ll get it later.
Wait, the smell is coming from the bedroom. What is that?
Can’t I just sit and read without that list of boat projects staring at me?
I need to get off this boat.
Is it just me, or do Ryan’s jokes get less funny the longer I’m on this boat?
I need to go for a run.
Damnit, that smell! It’s cat pee in my sneakers!
I NEED TO GET OFF THIS BOAT.
Crap. The waves are choppy. Can we get this dinghy down?
Okay, dinghy’s down. How am I supposed to balance on this bouncing surfboard of a dinghy to get the engine on?
Ouch! Damnit! Who moved that boom over here?
Ugh. My shorts are moldy.
Dinghy’s ready! We’re going to shore.
I am so ready to SWEAT.
WTF? The guidebook said there are “trails” on this island. These aren’t trails! They’re jagged lines of spiky rocks conspiring to throw me on my face.
Ooh. That rain cloud looks ugly. And it’s coming this way.
Damnit. Dinghy’s out of gas. Row faster.
How the hell are we going to cook dinner with the boat bouncing around like this?
Ramen for dinner?
Shit, we’re out of water.
Crackers for dinner?