Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. We bought Esper at the end of 2004 and now it’s February 2009. In that time all we’ve done is sailed from Bodrum to Fethiye, about 200 miles as the crow flies. Big deal. Weren’t we supposed to be going round the world?
Anyone else out there get similar remarks from armchair sailors and landlubbers? I heard it a few times on my last visit home to the UK and I bet Jamie’s hearing it right now. Funny how it’s only people without a boat who make these remarks…
Well, for those who wonder what we ‘do all day’ and why we haven’t got very far, here are a few things to think about:
1. Esper has had plenty of work done, including, in no particular order: shaft re-alignment, new gelcoat, new rigging, installation of Navtex, new radar, new led lights, new Rocna anchor, ssb (to be completed), teak deck repair and replacement, new sound system, new solar panels, new mainsheet block system, new stanchion bases, new mast boots, new battery monitor and charger, re-designed dash area, conversion of forepeak to storage/workshop, new holding tank, new plumbing for both heads, re-mounting and sealing of all deck fittings, replacement of all portlight and hatch seals, 3 new awnings, new spray hood, new bimini complete with stainless steel frame. I could go on, but I think you’ve probably got my drift. This work is still on-going (installation of watermaker the next thing on the list) and it takes time, whether we use ‘experts’ or do it ourselves. It also costs money, so has to be spread out across the year.
2. General day to day jobs eat into your time when you live on a boat. Take a simple thing like the gas running low. It’s not easily turn on and offable on a boat… You have to take your gas canisters into town and swap them for new ones. Fine. You have to moor or anchor the boat somewhere near a place that provides such a service. You have to get the canisters off the boat and onto a dolmuş (local bus). You then find somewhere that provides them, sit down and have a cuppa with the local guy, get the dolmuş back and connect the gas. That’s a morning. If you multiply that by the other myriad little day to day jobs it’s a lot of time. You don’t mind, though, it’s the way you live. It’s a slow pace of life. It’s what you chose. You’re in no hurry.
3. How about the regular boat maintenance jobs and problem solving that is the lot of the boat owner? Our power and gear-box difficulties have been well documented on this site and ate a huge hole in our cruising time in 2007. The engine demands to be treated with respect and should be well maintained. Batteries need monitoring by eye as well as by expensive equipment. The rigging is checked frequently. These, and many other (sometimes small) jobs all eat into the day.
4. Believe it or not we do have plenty of non-sailing pursuits. Well now, how about this website? Doesn’t just happen on its own. The amount of time spent on taking, uploading, downloading, Photoshopping and adding these images is unimaginable. The posts can take blood, sweat and tears (and laughter) to put together. I like jewellery-making, among other things, but haven’t spent nearly enough time pursuing my craft. I’ve learned how to use a sewing machine (you should see our curtains). We’ve had a lot of fun trying to find new recipes and learning to cook the Turkish way. Walking and discovering Turkey – pretty important part of what we are doing, wouldn’t you say?
5. The Porthole. This newspaper, which came out fortnightly in Marmaris Yacht Marina in the winter ’07 season, became a job. Mostly it was fun. We are very proud of what we produced but it didn’t half take a lot of time and effort to put together.
6. Sailing. Oh yes, sailing. True, we haven’t gone very far, but then we didn’t start living on the boat till December 2006 and didn’t actually get her in the water till May 2007. Bet you didn’t know that we’ve covered over 2,500 nautical miles?
What non boat dwellers don’t understand is how long everything takes. Installation of Navtex. Just three words on the above list. First you’ve got to find the system and buy it, then get it to Turkey. Then you’ve got to run the lead from the inside of the boat up the mast. You need a stainless steel bracket to be formed by a local Turkish worker. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Total time used in that one project added up to about 139 man (and woman) hours. Total tears: about 20 minutes. Total blood and sweat: about a pint.
So, that’s a tiny insight into what we do all day. We don’t ‘work’; we’ve chosen to opt out of the rat race. The effort we used to put into work is now directed to living our lives on our boat.
We are making the trip into the Red Sea later this year because our preparations are now coming to an end. We’ve enjoyed living in Turkey, getting to know the area, making new friends and learning a little of the language. We may get to Egypt and discover we can’t go all the way through the Red Sea. We may decide to stay there for a bit. We don’t know yet. Either way, we’ll find plenty of things to ‘do all day’.