I know more than a couple of people that follow my blog are dreaming, thinking, or preparing to go cruising themselves. In fact one of them sent me a private message asking how I was doing and was wondering what my thoughts were thus far.
Honestly, I've been so busy trying to get things done that I didn't even realize I hadn't posted since Monday. Apparently I'm not alone...even ZTC's Mike S. took a little bit of a break. Before starting the charter biz, they used to post daily...and that is unbelievably impressive to me at this point.
This week started with replacing a binding transmission control cable on the port side (the control is on starboard, so this is a long cable that runs all the way across the boat). Then there has been a musty smell coming from the forward berth AC unit (and with lows in the 30's here in Florida, the reverse-cycle heat is definitely needed) and that started an interesting exploration into the cause. I'll write more on all of that later.
In general, thoughts and emotions have run the gamut. It is certainly exciting to be embarking on this new adventure. I've had some fun working on the boat and resolving problems like the fresh water manifold and some interesting failure modes with the lights (sorry, still haven't written that up yet). I've learned a lot about diesel engine maintenance with more to come next week when the fuel injector pump and heat exchangers return for installation.
There has also been a lot of frustration with problems I was unaware of until I started really digging into things. While I didn't expect the survey to catch everything, there are clearly some items that should have been obvious to the surveyor that were not caught. In fact, with the surprises, I've only managed to tackle a few items from the original list. A few people have mentioned that I might eventually throw out the list and I can see why they said that. I'm definitely learning that I don't know squat about owning a big boat.
I am glad I am staying at a marina right now. The facility is nice, clean, and reasonably priced for a catamaran on a monthly stay. They have a swimming pool and hot tub, free coffee, a nice large screen TV in the lobby, wireless internet access (that seems to work most of the time), a free pump-out station, and are in a nice protected area. I really need to thank Pete (the absolute best boat broker I can imagine) for setting me up here.
The best part are the people. Very friendly and helpful. One person, Rupert, that has been living aboard over 15 years hires himself out as a boat handyman and has been helping me with a variety of tasks including the engine maintenance and control cable replacement. If you intend to do something like this, I highly recommend finding someone like Rupert to help get you started and I'd bet there is someone like this at most marinas. I've also been invited to dinner and go see movies with others in the marina. Boat people are a pretty good group of folks.
The hardest part for me right now, though, is being away from my wife and dogs. With a few curves that were thrown at us, they are back in Colorado working to wrap things up there. Daily phone and video calls help, but it would be much better to have them aboard. I miss them and can't wait until they join me aboard (although I will probably head back to Colorado once or twice to help out there before that happens).
So, that is how the first couple weeks of living aboard have gone. Not cruising yet, but making progress towards the goal.