Date: 24 March 2016. Before Outfitting.
When preparing for life afloat
some questions are bound to arise. Those who enjoy the social
aspects of life might find living on the hook (at anchor) an unwise
decision. Though I love solitude I know I need to interact with
others. For me, having access to the internet has been a huge
M/V Slow Dance at anchor.
[Photo taken by S/V Island Time.]
In looking at the above photograph I can surmise a bit
about life on M/V Slow Dance. The first thing I noted was no solar panels. I
do not see a wind generator either. Thus I'm guessing his power is all
provided via generator. Life for him is no different at anchor than it
would be in a marina.
It's a good life too.
For me anchoring out can mean anything from a quiet nook
far from "civilization" to a crowded anchorage. Truth to tell, I rather
prefer the quieter places especially if I have access to the internet.
I want to get away from it all, with a
smidgen or two of decadence thrown in!
Key West anchorage ↑
An online friend said "I'm a pretty social guy and love
people. I'd go crazy too without the internet and because I live
alone out in the country, I have to rely on my cell phone (Sprint)
for internet access. It keeps me sane but only scratches that itch
for social interaction but doesn't really cure it."
There's a lot to admire about a
fellow who knows what makes him happiest. He told me he has owned
several RV's over the years and spent time traveling. In that regard
he knows what
comforts and conveniences he requires to be content.
Because he has journeyed over the
highways he has experienced many RV parks. Some have a lot of
amenities. Others provide a place to park and all the mosquitoes you
can swat for free.
Cruising is very similar to those
who travel the highways. There are times we want to get away from it
all. I do. Plus of course I want my stuff with me.
Life afloat truly is the best of all
A marina can offer you everything,
and then some.
For social interaction a marina can be just the ticket. There
are lots of marina types. Some are upscale and most not-so-much. Just because one
isn't right for you doesn't mean all are bad.
Marinas really are quite similar
to the park choices found
in the RV world. In overnight accommodations there are fabulous
suites in Park Avenue hotels and the lower cost mom and pop motels.
Each have their own charm though amenities vary greatly.
For those moving from an RV to a boat having
that experience of living in smaller quarters will be helpful. You
can probably estimate how much space your stuff will require.
Hint: you have too much stuff. All of us do. Even me on my boat
I've got Stuff that needs to go. Lethargy and that it's stowed away
keeps a 1937 antique Featherweight sewing machine aboard. I need to drag it out,
take pictures and find it a new home. The thing's worth $300 --
2/3rds of the cost of the new anchor chain I want.
That's my motivation.
Besides, I want to be anchored off
this beach in Gulfport, FL...
But I digress.
Once you find your Dream Boat, just remember you can make her your
own. You can add solar panels. You could add a wind generator IF
you're going to be some place with lots of wind. Unless you're immediately heading down island I'd hold off
on the wind genny for the short term.
The prices on solar have come way
down from what it was decades ago.
Remember this first
though: until you're nearly ready to
leave the dock there is no need to outfit for Off-the-Grid life.
Many people spend literally tens
of thousands of dollars and then discover they don't like living on
Some prefer to marina hop. Others wish to remain in their marina
community and simply venture out on weekends once or twice a season
for a fishing trip.
Lady Pamela at the C-Quarters fuel dock.
A slim minority seldom visit marinas for
more than a day or ten per year. Until you're SURE you want to
cruise you'd be best off buying the boat that suits your current
life, not the one you Might desire down the road.
Try cruising first before you dump untold $$$ into outfitting.
The Boot Key anchorage before it was a mooring field,
circa 2001 or thereabouts.
Read, read, read, and imagine too. One series I wrote
that might inspire you begins with this piece:
Finding Your Boat (part 1)
All the best to one and all. Life
is wonderful afloat. Just take your time before buying gear you
won't need immediately.
Have you ever traveled in an RV or camper?
Were you camping with minimal amenities or did you prefer resort-like
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