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Since we've told people that we moved aboard and are planning on cruising, there are a few common questions that we get asked. Here are a few of them:
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Where do you keep the boat?
We are moored in the heart of downtown Gig Harbor at Stanich Dock, an old fishing net shed. We have an awesome boat neighbor, but other than that, we are the only ones down here.
Where are all of your things?
Really, we donated nearly everything we owned. We have a small storage shed with meaningful art, kids keepsakes and photo albums, but other than that, we got rid of it all. It was VERY freeing.
Is it big enough for everyone?
It's 46 feet long and 15 1/2 feet wide, somewhere around 700 sq/ft of living space- probably the smallest boat we would want to fit our family. There are 2 berths (rooms) and 2 heads (bathrooms), which means Jack sleeps in the pilot house. He actually has a pretty big bed up there. It feels much bigger in the summer, when the doors are open and we can sprawl out onto the aft cockpit and upper deck.
What's your cruising plan?
Our very flexible plan is entirely based on the weather and Pat's schedule. We will leave Gig Harbor sometime in July 2018. We will head down the West coast. Our first stop may be 5-6 days later in San Francisco, where I would like to spend a few weeks visiting family and friends. From there we will stop in a number of ports on our way to San Diego where we will wait for the hurricane season to end. Once the weather is clear, we will check into Mexico in Ensenada, then head down and around the Baja peninsula towards Puerto Vallarta. The length of that cruise will depend on where we stop, Pat's work schedule and weather. We plan on Puerto Vallarta being our first home port while we get accustomed to living as expats.
How much fuel does it hold and use?
She holds 1000 gallons, which is a lot for a boat. It will take us around 300 gallons to cruise to San Diego. She uses 1.5-1.8 gallons per hour.
What about school, for the kids?
The kids will both attend a virtual high school. I have researched dozens of them and have yet to pick one out. It will be traditional academics, but very flexible with what is done when. Both kids will get the high school courses they need for their transcripts in order to be prepared for whatever comes next. Much of their education will be outside the virtual classroom - in the real world.
Is Pat still going to work?
That's the plan. We will keep the boat in locations where he can still get to an airport. Initially Puerto Vallarta is the easiest location for him to keep flying.
What about Alexa, are you going to work?
I have taken a leave of absence. My first job will be to set up the kids' online programs and act as mentor for them. Beyond that I am looking into some contract work for the district and online tutoring positions. Whatever I do, I need it to be flexible and not tie us to land so that we can go off exploring anytime we want.
How are you all managing in the cold?
The boat has a diesel and an electric heater, so we have stayed plenty warm. Alexa did invest in a small heated blanket for when it gets extra cold. But it does suck to have lots of coats and winter shoes in our only living room. Flip flops don't take up as much space. Also, icy wet docks caused Alexa a nasty slip and fall early one morning. Now we step carefully when the dock is slippery.
Do you miss anything about living in a house?
I think we all miss having privacy. Pat misses having a big shower with unlimited hot water. Jack misses the consistent Wifi. Alexa misses the fireplace in the winter and the hot tub (ok - and a big shower). Hailey misses her big room (where she could make even bigger messes).
What we don't miss.....bills, bills and more bills. Pine needles, yard work, a huge house to clean, worrying about the trees falling on the house, mowing the lawn and all the STUFF that goes with owning a house.
Does your kitchen have everything you need?
Yup, 3 big fridge drawers and 1 freezer drawer, a small oven, a 3 burner propane stove, a convection microwave oven, a coffee maker, toaster, of course a blender and even an espresso machine. There is very little storage, but it's made us figure out what is really necessary vs what is just fun to own.
How about laundry?
We have a combo washer/dryer. That means I put a small load in, and a few hours later it's washed AND dried. The drawback is that it only does a small load at a time - that can be a challenge for the 4 of us. We have taken to using the local cleaners for some wash and fold service. I can imagine we will find this service in Mexico too.
What about mail?
We currently have a PO box (and use Cindy's house a lot). We have recently gotten a mailbox in Shilshole marina at Dockside Mail. We have our mail shipped there, they scan it and email us. We decide if we want them to open it and scan it, mail it somewhere or throw it away.
Have another question? Ask it - I'll add it to the list! ~Alexa