Return to Toronto After Living on a Boat

Our return to Toronto after living on a boat hasn’t been smooth. The Covid pandemic did not make it easy, but having our vaccinations helped get us in the country. After that? Mayhem and memories.

Why The Return

This return to Toronto is temporary. We’ve come to realize over the years that our house in Toronto is no longer our “home.” Our boat is now home. But before we moved onto the boat we didn’t know if we’d last on it, so we kept the house in case we wanted to come back for good. But now we know we love boat life and that’s our life now. With the good real estate market, we sold our house and we wanted to return to Toronto to empty and close on the house.

Flying to Toronto

As soon as the government announced that vaccinated Canadians could fly in without 2 weeks quarantine, we booked our flight. Unfortunately, we weren’t fast enough to get a ticket for Domino. At the Bogotá airport, we found out why: almost everyone in the airport had a dog! We felt like we were at a dog show, not an airport. Don’t worry, Domino has excellent cat-sitters/friends in Cartagena and lots of places to hang out on Sava.

One of the cute dogs at the airport in Bogotá

There are no direct flights from Cartagena to Toronto, so we had to fly to Bogotá. Air Canada added on a few hundred dollars for the Cartagena to Bogotá leg so we booked that leg ourselves for 30 bucks. Hot tip! The airlines are in this for the money! Since we weren’t booked fully through AC, we gave ourselves a lot of extra time. Our flight left CTG at 5 am, but our flight to Toronto wasn’t until 10am, meaning a long layover in Bogotá.

Down Time in the Airport Lounge

Brian remembered our credit card got us entry into airport VIP lounges so he downloaded an app and with the click of a few buttons we were relaxing in style! We spent our long layover drinking coffees and using the wifi at The El Dorado Lounge in Bogotá airport.

The El Dorado Lounge

Arrival in Toronto

Getting into Toronto was easier and even more efficient than expected. Yes there were giant line-ups at the airport, even to deplane, but we were processed and checked into Canada within an hour.

return to Toronto after living on a boat Welcome to Canada sign
Airport Welcome

Return to Toronto PCR Test

On our way out, we picked up a couple of at-home PCR test kits. While there were a lot of steps to the test process, including a video call with a health advisor, it took less than 30 minutes to complete and arrange for courier pickup. If you are returning to Toronto in the next few weeks, I imagine the process is the same. While you wait for the test results to come, through email or text, you’re supposed to self-quarantine. The medical advisor told us it could take up to 5 days, but fortunately it took less than 3 days to get our negative results. That was easy!

Negative PCR test result Return to Toronto after living on a boat
Negative PCR Test Result

An Unwelcome Return “Home”

What wasn’t so easy was our return to our house.

Our tenants, who were terrible, rented the house partially furnished. Yet when we got into the house on Tuesday, we found it empty. The bed we had planned to sleep in, and our other furniture, was gone. It turns out the property manager had gotten rid of it without asking or telling us.

Our old house

We slept on a pile of blankets and sheets the first night, and it got better from there. The next day we found our camping pads, and then we found an air mattress and borrowed a pump from a friend. Just like in the sailing community, our friends have been great! We’ve been offered places to stay the night and air mattresses, and a neighbor loaned us their pump and another, pillows and their wifi!

The first night’s sleep was the worst
Sleeping on an air mattress
Sleeping a little more comfortably. A bed would have been nice

We couldn’t get too bothered about losing some furniture that we have to get rid of anyway. We’ve since found a mattress in our storage unit, but we need to get rid of a lot of stuff!

The Internet Problem

One of the hardest things about the return to Toronto is the internet problem. Paying for a data plan here is worse than anywhere we’ve ever been. Data plans in the Caribbean are easier to get and more affordable than any plan in Canada. It’s called collusion and a terrible regulator in Canada. Where we pay $50 for unlimited plans in Martinique, it costs that much for 3 gigs of data in Canada. So we borrow wifi and visit our local coffee shop.

Sales and Giveaways

After 2.5 years living on a boat, we don’t need a lot of stuff. To go from one hand blender, two pots and a pan to a full kitchen of multiple everything is blowing my mind! Needless to say, we’re having a sale. We’ve been dusting and cleaning and emptying bins, setting up sales racks in the house and posting on Facebook marketplace. Anyone want a rice cooker?

I feel like a hoarder but really I was a normal house-dweller who lives a lot more simply now. I’m not kidding! Brian and I have one small box of things we want to bring back to the boat, and racks and racks of possessions to sell. It is an adjustment going from living in 2400+ square feet to a 46 foot monohull! And the return to Toronto after years on a boat spotlighted the differences to me!

Living room return to Toronto
Our living room looks like a sales space
Housewares for sale!

Our return to Toronto after living on a boat is busy, crazy even. We are learning the rules of Facebook marketplace, seeing friends again, and trying to fit in everything and everyone in our short return to Toronto. After Toronto, it’s back to Colombia, where Domino and Sava wait. We look forward to full-time sailing again. While the house is no longer our home, we’re still Canadians, and we’ll keep buying Canadian flags to wave on our boat.

We’re always searching for Clamato for our Bloody Caesars and better internet deals than you can get in Canada. It’s official, we’re staying on our boat.

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Author: Mel

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

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