One Year On The Boat


We moved onto Sava a year ago today! It seems like such a long time and we have been through a lot: good and bad. We love it most of the time and plan to continue living on the boat and exploring the Caribbean. These are some of the things we’ve learned after one year on the boat.

We Do Not Need Much

Seriously, none of us need much. We’ve been conditioned by advertisers and merchants to think we do, and then we’ll be happy.

We moved onto the boat and this lifestyle knowing it was completely different from our Toronto existence. There is not much room on board, and a lot of it goes to ship equipment and systems.

luggage for a boat
What we brought with us when we moved on board Sava one year ago today

At different times we have had to sacrifice what we thought were key elements of a life well lived. Things like heat and hot water, plentiful showers, ice cold beers, sleep, wifi, fresh veggies and sun protection were not always available. Now that we have put lots of work into Sava, and learned a thing or two, life has improved. Cold beers!

We still don’t have everything we had in our land lives, but we usually have what we need: food, drink, ipads for downloading books and podcasts, games, and snorkeling and scuba gear. We get lots of entertainment watching the world around us and swimming in the ocean.

Ray underwater
A ray we spotted while snorkeling! The ocean entertains us!

Sometime I will devote a post to food. Suffice to say that we are not starving but we often miss foods from home. For me it’s mostly veggies.

Hair care, facials, the beauty stuff falls by the wayside. I try to groom as best I can but I am not up to snuff for a corporate environment anymore, and I am fine with that. The saying goes “Boat hair..don’t care!”

We can’t keep up with pop culture. We stay updated with world news through news feeds and social media, but it takes me a while to clue in to pop culture references. I see a lot of Baby Yoda references and don’t try to relate.

Marie Kondo doesn’t have to tell us we don’t need so many things. What we do have we use or consume. The simplicity is good for us and the environment and I don’t feel like I am missing out. I packed light and I still have too many clothes and shoes on board.

Fixing Your Boat in Exotic Locations

This is a common cruiser joke because it’s true. We move around from one beautiful port to another and the one constant is something on the boat is broken and needs fixing.

fixing boat Grenada
Brian fixing the windlass in Grenada

Below is a snapshot of what we have fixed in which beautiful place:

  • Windlass in Bahamas
  • Engine in Turks and Caicos
  • Autopilot in Puerto Rico
  • Head (toilet) pipes in the Virgin Islands
  • Watermaker in Saint Lucia
  • Navigation in Grenada
  • Batteries in Martinique

A Lot of Cruisers Get Seasick

I thought I was one of the few crazy ones who would live on a boat despite being prone to motion sickness. Wrong! We have met many cruisers who have the same complaint. In fact, in most cruising couples, one of them is prone to sea sickness. We know an entire family that won’t go below decks during passages.

Most of us just put up with the headaches and nausea in exchange for the good stuff: travel, snorkeling, etc. Brian is one lucky guy – he never feels seasick!

The wonderful cruiser community

We can’t say enough about the non-stop support we get from cruisers. Fellow sailors have helped us hook a mooring ball in Bahamas, find a runaway dinghy in Nevis, tow our gasless dinghy in Martinique, and replace our anchor light in Grenada.

Cruisers share tools, advice and time with no reward expected. And now that we are experienced cruisers too (a whole year!), we do the same.

Cruisers Jam St. Lucia
Pierre, Cliff and Brian jamming together in St. Lucia

Cruisers are also our friends. We share sundowners, potlucks, raft ups, game nights, boot camps, book swaps and more. We love pulling into an anchorage and seeing a familiar boat and reconnecting with friends.

This is a fun but challenging lifestyle and it helps knowing cruisers have each other’s backs.

We have each other

Steering a boat Florida
I am a lot less stressed when I drive the boat now! Sava, Florida, Dec 2018

It is hard living on the 46 foot boat with your partner and your cat. We argue and have nowhere to go! At the end of the day, we know we can count on each other. A year ago, I barely knew how to do anything on the boat. I can’t do everything yet, and definitely not alone, but I am making a concerted effort to get there. This is for both of our safety. We have to rely on ourselves and each other for passages when no one else is around. I know I can count on Brian and want him to be able to count on me. And we all count on Domino for comic relief!

Brian and I greeting friends on Sava in Bequia November 2019
Domino one year on the boat
Domino doing what she does best

We have yet to find the perfect spot where we can get all the food we want, swim in crystal clear water with no roll, no noise and perfect wifi. That may exist, but we are content with just some of those at one time. Currently, we are in Martinique which has amazing food but terrible WIFI. You can’t have everything, especially on a boat! We’ll celebrate what we’ve got. Here’s to one year on board Sava. Thank you for following. I have many more ideas for blog posts so keep watching this space.

One year on the boat pin

Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

7 thoughts on “One Year On The Boat”

  1. So Awesome Mel and Bri!! That’s a great Milestone!! Time to celebrate!! Jacks and I hope we can sometime come for a visit that works with your plans!! Right now.. she hasn’t had a holiday since we sailed the Greek Islands!!

  2. I continue to revel in your journey and love your updates. Almost Merry Christmas. Hugs to you both. ❤️❤️

  3. Happy Boat-a-versary, Mel and Brian! You describe boat life so well! We are glad to have met you. We’re in Antigua now – it’s pretty idyllic so far. Hope to see you again in early 2020.

  4. Jenn and I love following your adventure and hope to be able to cast off someday as well. Till then we will live our lives vicariously through you both.

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