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LIFE ABOARD DESTINY–Adventure or Life Style?

September 15th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

For those of you who may wonder what we do day-to-day when we are not sailing or traipsing around ancient sites, in some respects it isn’t any different than our day would be no matter where we were.  There is food shopping, laundry and general boat maintenance that takes a lot of time.  Things that routinely are accomplished in little or no time on land, take on a whole new dimension when you are living on a boat.

For the past week we have been in Marmaris Yacht Marina where we now have a contract through April 15th of next year.  This will be our base of operations through the winter and we will return to the States from early December through mid-March. 

Shopping for groceries, for example, often entails taking a cart and bags to the store by dinghy and then loading everything into the dinghy for a trip back to Destiny.  Once aboard, the bags have to be off loaded from the dinghy, then moved down below and finally stored in cupboard or fridge.  The number of times that we go up and down the companionway everyday accounts for our general state of fitness. 

Then there is the matter of finding things that we need.  Whether replacement batteries for the boat, dog food or a groomer for Jolie finding the thing or person that you need can be exasperating.  There is no word in Turkish for “dog groomer” and so far we have struck out on that issue.  Fortunately, I bought a hair clipper set for Kent and Jolie for Christmas, so in a pinch I can trim Kent and he trims Jolie.  When we ran out of canned and dry dog food, I had to make Jolie food from table scraps and rice.  Unfortunately, once I found dog food she decided that she liked the “homemade” food better and getting her to eat what dogs eat in Turkey has been a battle.

For boat parts, batteries included, Kent has struggled to find the most basic things.  If he needs a stainless screw of a certain size, you can almost bet on the fact that the marine store will not carry it.  The batteries that cost us $60 each in the US will cost four times that here before the 18% VAT and delivery.  Labor on the other hand tends to be less expensive, and we have gotten an incredibly good price on some upholstery and canvas repair/replacement.

Laundry is accumulated until we find ourselves in a larger town or marina which has a laundry service.  I must admit that I really wanted a washer/dryer on the boat, but now find that a wash/fold (and occasionally ironing) service is very nice.  I am probably one of the few cruisers carrying an iron on board–Kent drew the line at an ironing board so I use a towel on the corian counter top.  I love ironed pillow cases and clothes—even more so when someone else does the ironing.  OK, so I’m a little spoiled. 

Speaking of clothing, most of the things in my closet never leave it.  I have several things that I wear constantly—most notably a few cotton dresses or pareos purchased from a little boat in a Turkish anchorage.  That and bathing suits are the dress of the day.  Kent generally has a wet bathing suit on the line, and rotates wearing three of them throughout the day.  Neither of us has had closed shoes on in months and Kent has fallen in love with his Crocs—actually fake Crocs that cost 6 euros.  As for me, my Reef sandals are getting worn out while my “sexy” sandals stay in the closet.  Comfort is the name of the game. 

Our average day begins between 8 and 9 a.m.  Sleep comes easily after a day on the boat, or ashore, and we rarely get less than 8 ½ to 9 hours every night—unless we’re at anchor and the wind is blowing hard in which case we might not sleep at all.  If we aren’t moving the boat to a new location, our day may be spent doing boat chores, blogging or just reading by the pool at the marina. 

As I write, Kent is on his knees putting in a new float switch on the mid-bilge pump.  Yesterday, he was equalizing the batteries and the day before that he scrubbed the entire outside of the boat.  There is never a shortage of chores to keep him occupied—thankfully.  The only downside is that nearly everyday he cuts himself on something and we would do well to buy stock in a bandage company.  On the other hand, he is happiest when the wind is blowing 15 to 18 kts. on the beam and we are sailing somewhere. 

I just finished making a pan of lasagna.  We are having two other cruising couples from the States join us for dinner tonight.  Entertaining on board is great fun, although challenging.  We have broken most of the original glasses I started out with, and even a set of four replacements.  I recently bought six wine glasses since the four went so quickly, only to have one break the same day I bought them.   Despite that I like the feel of glass in my hand rather than plastic and will continue to replace broken glasses and use damask napkins instead of paper when we have guests—it’s so “civilized”. 

We have been fortunate to make some wonderful new friends from various parts of the US as well as Great Britain, Italy, Greece, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands while traveling through the Med.  One of the sad parts of this adventure is that the people, like the places we visit, are always changing.  While our paths may cross more than once, it is hard to stay in touch as boats head off in many directions. 

Between now and the end of November we will be in and out of Yacht Marina where we have met people who like us will winter here.  That provides a “cruisers’ community” for socializing.  The marina has an on-site restaurant (with excellent, reasonably priced food), a pool, gym, and extensive supermarket.  The nice thing about Yacht Marina (or Yat Marine as it is called here) is that the supermarket on site delivers to the boat.

Although many boats winter in the water, we will haul Destiny before we return to the States and store on land.  The weather has moderated recently from the astonishingly hot days of July and August to a more temperate 80 degrees during the day and 60-65 at night.  For the first time in months we are seeing clouds in the sky, though not a drop of rain has fallen since the day we arrived in June. 

Thanks to the internet and our generally reliable Turkcell 3G connection we are able to maintain close contact with family and friends by email, Skype and website.  Video calls to children, grandchildren and my Mom are a highlight for us.  The internet also provides us with daily weather forecasts and news.  I confess that I look forward to watching television when we are back in the States, but for now manage with video blurbs on CNN and email updates from NPR. 

So the question remains, has our “adventure” become a “life style”?  After more than two years, it is hard to imagine going back to a land based life in one place.  We have grown accustomed to being “on the move” and taking our “home” with us.  For now we are just grateful to be living and savouring what we have achieved–aboard Destiny.

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  1. Sharilyn ‘Hill’ Burdett
    September 28th, 2010 at 12:26 | #1

    Very interesting, whenever I tell someone about your adventures it is either “oh how wonderful” or “that’s not for me”, I myself think it’s wonderful. I must admit that at first I thought it all more romantic and did not even give a thought to the work it entails. After reading your blog I see it is both. The pictures are beautiful and I enjoy them more from your post than looking them up in books or internet, they are more personal.

    Enjoy, Shari

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