Sunday, February 24, 2008

WHAT IT'S LIKE LIVING IN HAWAII ON A BOAT...OR...I BET YOU DON'T HAVE AN ENGINE ROOM IN YOUR HALLWAY

The guts of ORION.


I've had several readers and writers request that I post about what living on a boat is like.
Well.
Okay.
Fine.
But I don't know what the big deal is. I mean, it's just like a house. Really. One that when you step out the front door you plunge into a pool of diesel laden saltwater over your head.
One that requires more maintenance and money than a 16 year old girl at her first prom.
One that could sink up to the second floor bedroom windows.
One that shifts up and down. Back and forth. And periodically escapes and bumps into the neighboring residence.

"It moves?" You ask.
Well, yes. It moves.
"All the time?" You ask.
Well, yes. All the time.
During storm surges and high winds we're heeling right at the dock.
At night I hear water lapping and the bilge pump going on at quiet moments. This is comforting because it reassures me I will not wake up below the water line.
The fantasy of living on a boat usually requires a glass of wine, a sunset, a cute deckhand in short shorts and lounge chairs next to the helipad.
The reality?
A grumpy husband with his s*** covered armpit deep in a toilet that ceased to function at 3 am or me filling a water tank at 11 pm with shampoo in my hair and a bathrobe covering a soapy body.
Take your pick.
And then a green sea turtle paddles over and begins munching the seaweed on the hull. The morning sun sneaks upwards and lights the Waianae Range and we both lean against cockpit cushions and sip our hot coffee.

It's the best of times. It's the worst of times.
Wait. I think that line's been taken...
It's just so totally cool.
Oh er...I guess that's been taken too.
Kay Den
This blog is now open for questions.

30 comments:

Demon Hunter said...

So, I guess you don'te get motion sickness anymore? :*)I think my stomach would go topsy turvy...

Roberta said...

Q2. Do boats in dock get mail delivery?

ORION said...

demon--
I get motion sickness if I go back on land for any length of time (kind of reverse motion sickness!). Really!
Roberta--
Yes I get mail delivery at the harbor office but if it looks important someone will call or carry it to my boat. I have cable, internet wireless and also a regular phone line as the cell phones sometimes don't work well for radio interviews (who knew?)...

Lisa R said...

Sounds romantic. I can just your poor husband with his arm covered in s***! You do have a gorgeous view though, not to mention two wonderful and supportive cats. I'm sure they help with the maintenance, right?

Gay said...

Unrelated to living on the boat...

Working on my MFA Creative Writing, and find myself thinking about Lottery.

Did you know from the start whose POV you wanted to write the story from? or did you stumble and try a few different vantage points first before settling on letting Perry tell it in the first person? Lottery works so well.

(I ask this because we're working on short stories now, and one of the things we're being forced to do... and I mean coerced in some cases... is to step outside our comfort zone and look at the same story from different characters POV and from different voices--and I found that the one I'm writing works well from OMNISCIENT. Who knew? But talk about outside a comfort zone. YIKES! I keep dropping into third person or else I start head-hopping, then have to go back and rewrite. But what I/we did learn in the process is how important the choice is and that of all the choices we make while writing, it is perhaps the most critical.)

Holly Kennedy said...

No questions from me today.
I liked looking down next to your boat and seeing all those little puffer fish.

ORION said...

While I have sometimes changed from third to first and back again in other novels - Lottery was always first person and the POV of Perry from the beginning. I never had a moment's doubt that was the POV I needed to use. My intent was always to write from the point of view of a person who had mental challenges and not simply relate the story of a lottery winner-

Travis Erwin said...

How's the fishing?

Les said...

No questions from me. Just a thanks for taking me back to last summer on my dad's boat. Ah, gotta love the sound of a bilge pump. And that cool sound of the water lapping against the hull. However, I could do without the water leaking from the hatch right above our berth. I am so ready to go back to the San Juan Islands!!!

Bookfool said...

So, it's just like living in a house. But, a house that was plunked into the water. With a hull. A house that is sort of waterproof, provided it doesn't heel too far and which, as all houses do, gets stopped-up toilets and other such nuisances. But, which has turtles munching on the side rather than . . . rather than lizards walking across the shutters and squirrels jumping on the roof? Do you stay on the boat during hurricanes, sail away if you can, or grab the kitties and abandon ship?

ORION said...

Travis- only occasionally do I toss a line into the water from ORION- most of the time I thumb a ride with one of the fishing boats if I'm inclined to fish / watch whales (which is my REAL intent LOL)

Bookfool
The two things we have to worry about are:
1. Tsunamis in which case we would immediately take our boat offshore a mile or two to avoid the huge influx of water.
2. Hurricanes (I've been through one and Gordon has been through several) we add more lines- faster her down good-- and take the kitties/computer and run.

Kanani said...

Don't you like the feel of the boat rocking back and forth? I do. Well, as long as it's not violent rocking, I find it appealing. Gale force winds aren't really fun!

Janna said...

Mmm. Diesel-laden saltwater...

Do you ever feel claustrophobic or wish you had more living space? (This is asked not know how big your boat is.)

How big is your boat?

Chumplet said...

Living in a 50 year old bungalow isn't much different from a boat if you count the flooded basements and the sewer backing up once in a while. It does, however, stay still since we don't live in Tornado Alley.

ORION said...

Janna - ORION is 48 feet long has two cabins and two heads (bathrooms). We rent space in a storage facility for stuff like old tax papers and artwork and memorabilia but really I don't miss a house. We really do have enough room. I like not cleaning a big place. -- in fact I like not cleaning at all...
Kanani -- I actually don't mind gusty storms because the boat is so snug.
I don't get claustrophobic as I can always hang out on deck...

LaskiGal said...

OK, this is so totally NOT like my house. You "house" is much cooler . . .

Kimber An said...

I would love the rocking motion and the sound of the water...well...except during a hurricane of course.

BClark said...

Ah yes, I know that feeling, well not the moving part. If it moved I would be very worried. My adventures run more along, will I get out the driveway because the snowblower is to small to completely remove the snow drift. Do I hear water running, yes I do a pipe froze and is now gushing and where the heck is the valve that turns this part off. At 3:00 am do I hear the boiler running, no I don't and I am freezing, now how do I get it restarted. The upside, peace quiet and lots of critters, and a husband who can fix it all once he arrives home on the weekends.
Best to you, Barbara

ORION said...

I guess it's all in what you become used to.
For example. I know how much water the two of us use each week because I know when to fill up the water tank. I never gave a thought to water consumption before.
I do believe people either get used to the motion or don't. It's not something you can tolerate if you are sensitive to it.

ChristineEldin said...

Does your husband pee over the side? Do you?

Do you wear clothing? Is there a desalinization machine on your boat? How do you drink water? What's your favorite Indian food? Are you wearing a life jacket in your avatar just to be PC? And who does Touloose love more- you or your husband?

ORION said...

not that he will admit
no
not as many as I should
yes
with my mouth
naan
no i was in the middle of the pacific ocean- i had no choice
whoever has the cat fud

Kim Stagliano said...

May I call you Ishmael?

ORION said...

Oh that's good...
ARGHHH!!!
You should see me on talk-like-a-pirate-day

Maprilynne said...

Stop romanticizing, Pat. Tell is what it's *really* like.;)

ORION said...

ha ha ha ha
ok.
During the big earthquake we had nov. 06.
We felt it on our boat as the water carried the shock BUT since we have battery and solar we had power and water- We are very self sufficient.

Mary Akers said...

Great post, Pat! I think we writers need such reality checks once and a while. I just had a great article appear about my (newly released) book and I spent the whole day reveling in it. Then my husband came home from work and the breakfast dishes were still on the table, the kids were cranky for dinner, and 6 inches of snow needed to be shoveled from our (very long) driveway. Thus endeth the amazing day. It was a good lesson in humility. :)

Doreen Orion said...

The bus we live on is 40 feet and we never feel cramped, either. We just got to our staionary home yesterday after 5 months on the road and we already miss the bus terribly.

(Although, if I were to post my guts (as a fellow, albeit human, Orion) I think readers would blow chunks.)

Since my husband's next dream is to live on a boat, my question is, how do you do internet? We have a satellite on top of the bus that we deploy, but only when stationary. It can't function when we're moving. How do you do it, since a boat is essentially always in motion?

Anonymous said...

Are there less bugs on the boat? I mean, do you stumble into cockroaches, spiders and millipedes? I have real bugs phobia and wonder how well would I adjust into living on a boat in Hawaii instead of a house. :)

Anonymous said...

I think we live paralleled lives. I also moved from the mainland and now live on the island of Guam, an adventurer, a military vet, a former full-time educator and, finally, a part-time writer. You're definitely a few miles-step ahead of where I would like to be someday: to live on a sailboat and get published. (Sigh)...Someday.

Robert F. Crocker said...

Thanks for the post and great tips..even I also think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success.. limo maui