A cruiser’s tantrum: Things I hate about living on a boat

in Bahamas / Life at Sea
warderick wells cay bahamas storm

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!


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?

0 Comments... Be the first to comment
  • Dave February 21, 2013, 7:08 am

    After all that I doubt you would want to do anything else. I know we’re looking forward to it someday soon.

    • Tasha February 22, 2013, 12:40 am

      As you should be. I would encourage nothing else 🙂

    • Captain Dan Professional Dock Bum April 2, 2013, 2:58 pm

      I’m sitting here planning the launch of my boat and all the work needed to get it ready for another sailing season. Read you cruisers tantrum and it brought back all the memories from my last cruise. What a hoot. great laugh!

      • Tasha April 2, 2013, 4:50 pm

        Good luck with the launch and glad I could make you laugh!

  • Vesper February 21, 2013, 7:48 am

    “Suffering is justified as soon as it becomes the raw material of beauty” – Jean-Paul Sartre

    True both for cruising and your blog…;-)

    • Tasha February 22, 2013, 12:54 am

      That’s a beautiful quote. Leave it to Sartre. xx

  • Heather Hamilton February 21, 2013, 7:49 am

    Love it! Though I loved our two years of cruising, my husband didn’t, so I’m in Thailand working and planning to bring him and our two cats here in May. Wrote this similar tantrum before I left; thought you’d enjoy it:

    • Tasha February 22, 2013, 12:57 am

      Stay there long enough and we’ll come have a cocktail with you 🙂 xx

  • Melody February 21, 2013, 8:07 am

    Bahahahahaha! This is hilarious. So true. Still hilarious. 😉

    • Tasha February 22, 2013, 12:58 am

      Hey Mel! Life on a boat is awesome and terrible all at the same time, isn’t it?!

  • Mid-Life Cruising! February 21, 2013, 10:49 am

    Great way to put things in perspective! I think those of us that are in the planning stages of cruising tend to look at the lifestyle through rose-colored glasses. However, I still can’t wait to get out there and be “stuck” on our boat!

    I would love to see or read more specifics on how you get the motor onto the dinghy. We’ve yet to master that!

    • Tasha February 22, 2013, 1:04 am

      We have a really light dinghy with a really small engine. But I have to admit that everytime we go anywhere down here, as Ryan watches the dinghy experts whizz by with their 10 or 20-horsepower motors, he mutters, “I wanna do that.” The trade-off is, if we had a heavier motor, we’d need a davit. As of now, we don’t. Everything’s a compromise, right? I love our 3.5 horsepower outboard and our feather-light dinghy! They’re moveable! xx

      (But if our little Mighty Mouse every breaks, Ryan will be the first one to buy a rib with a really badass motor, I’m sure!)

  • Lorraine Dolsen February 21, 2013, 5:56 pm

    Tasha, been there done that. I laughed until I cried, but wish I could give you a hug. Phil says to quit talking about the bad things having a cat on the boat as I want one and if this keeps up, he won’t let me have one. (Hear the joking tone?).

    Hugs. It brings back all the not so pleasant things to endure for the much more pleasant things, new adventures, the people, warmth and did I say the people?

    S/V Changes

    • Tasha February 22, 2013, 1:07 am

      Lorraine, you can give me a hug any time, whether I need it or not… chances are I probably need it 🙂

      Cats are great boat animals… so adaptable and you don’t have to bring them to shore. Just make sure you give them some of your fish now and then so they don’t rip your face off in the night… just kidding. Kind of.



  • Drena February 21, 2013, 6:12 pm

    cute. i love this.

    • Tasha February 22, 2013, 1:22 am

      Drena, you were born to cruise 🙂

  • Laurie February 22, 2013, 11:21 am

    Yep. I wrote my own “grass is always greener” post a month or so ago(http://www.somanybeaches.com/2012/12/29/the-grass-is-always-greener/). I appreciated reading another honest account of life aboard. As Dolly says though, “you gotta put up with the rain if you want the rainbows” . . .

    • Tasha February 23, 2013, 4:51 pm

      Hi Laurie,
      Thanks for sharing. I like reveling in both the highs and lows of life aboard…there’s a downside to every lifestyle. Nothing comes easy, that’s for sure. It’s just a matter of how badly you want it. 🙂

  • FatCatAnna February 23, 2013, 8:11 pm

    Oh this blog is making me pee my pants (seriously – I’ve got to go). Glad to read that we’re not the only ones that have issues when living on our sailboat. So glad to read your adventures with your felines \^,,^// Thanks for the tip of ramen noodles – will pick those up before we leave from Florida on our trip (despite the high carb/fat count – at least it’s food and easy to prepare).

    • Tasha February 25, 2013, 11:34 pm

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the ride (even when I’m not :0)… Ramen is a lifesaver. Just sayin’

  • Lisa Christensen December 4, 2016, 1:28 pm

    My husband and I have been living on our boat (SV Iskoteo) for 3 years now, waiting for retirement. 2more yrs to go.
    All my friend, family and coworkers always ask, “what it is like living on a boat?”
    My reply is always the same, “it’s like living in a trailer park, but on water.”
    We can hardly wait to switch parks, maybe closer to the equater

  • Clive August 20, 2017, 1:40 pm

    Dear Tasha and Ryan… having watched “Episode 46, Prepping the Boat to Sail Off The Grid”, I wondered if you would be working your way gradually westwards across the South Pacific… Haven’t seen any updates to the site or YouTube for a while, so just thought I’d drop you a line to say that I hope you’re OK and having far too much fun to be wasting your time with the dull and boring “interweb”…

    Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, I hope things are going OK…

    Take Care!

Leave a Comment