In spite of a flurry of activity among friends and family in early 2008, mainly in the form of taking bets on (1)how long we would last aboard a boat or (2) how long it would be before one killed the other (3) how many times Type Triple A YING would need to pace on the boat every day, etc. etc., we purchased our dream boat and began the preparation to move aboard as quickly as possible.
In reality, the first thing we learned is that there is no QUICKLY anything in dealing with a boat. Commissioning the boat took months longer than we thought and the only QUICKLY was how rapidly our funds poured out of our savings account in amounts far beyond what we had originally budgeted for.
In reality, transitioning to life aboard was easy - it took me, the Triple Type A YING a full thirty seconds to switch from corporate high heels to flip flops and YANG a little longer as he organized our land life to water (i.e. all financial transactions on line, etc etc).
|On Board & In the Water!!|
Operating this 50', 3 story DeFever Trawler that weighs about 60,000 pounds and does not have brakes, was and is still certainly a LOT harder than in theory. We are basically a self contained little city, producing our own power with John Deere 300 hp twin turbo charged engines, a generator and an inverter that allows us to have power/electricity at all times.
Once we turn the generator off, the inverter converts the battery DC power to household AC power so lights stay on; the TVs have power, etc. With the inverter we do not have to have the generator running at all times - just enough to charge up the batteries. Now, if I need to do a load of laundry or use the microwave or hair dryer, for instance, I need to turn ON the generator while using those larger power hungry appliances because they draw down so much, depleting our batteries quickly.
|Our Saloon - the Living Room as seen from Galley|
We have two toilets on the boat and handle our own waste using pump out stations along the way or, if in other countries such as Bahamas, BVIs - churn and spew it out via macerator pumps. We must use special toilet paper (at $2 a roll!) that dissolves quickly so it can be pumped out. Trivia: Waste water on a boat is called BLACK water and the water we use washing dishes, clothes, or washing the boat with is called GRAY water.
|Bathroom or "Head" as seen from the shower|
We compact our own trash in our trash compactor located in the galley. This appliance is a luxury - allowing us to go 7-10 days or more in a single trash bag - a huge benefit because trash is hard to dispose of! Some islands can’t handle trash at all - all these islands burn their trash and often charge boaters $2.50 to $5 to be allowed to bring their bagged trash ashore. One sees black/gray smoke billowing up all along these island chains!
|Galley as viewed from the Saloon|
|Fire Extinguisher & Water Maker|
We make our own water via a desalination process as fresh, unsalted water is difficult to obtain in the Islands. (See photo on right - The Little Wonder is the water maker - small & simple) The folks living on Islands make their own water via desalination or simply just catch rain in barrels. Conservation is the name of the game. Ever hear of a ‘boat shower’? When not at a dock, where fresh water is readily available and free, we hop in the shower, get wet and turn the water off. We then soap up, wash our hair and then turn the water back on to rinse off! In other words, the water is not running while we are soaping, putting shampoo in our hair, etc. While brushing our teeth, we wet the brush & toothpaste and then turn the water off while scrubbing our teeth. We turn it back on to rinse! One should do these things at home, too, as all our resources are ultimately limited.
Student Key Learning Topics: Describe the desalization process and why it is important on an island in the oceans and on a boat.
Student Discussion Topics: Discuss conservation & why conserving is important. What can one do at home and at school to conserve energy, water, etc?
Trawlers are noted for their comfortable living arrangements and for the fact that they are a more economical boat to operate versus a 'go fast boat' such as a SeaRay, etc. We generally cruise at 8 knots (or about 9.2 mph) and burn about 7.2 gallons per hour. Another way of saying that is that we cruise about 1.2 miles per gallon. We hold 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel and can go long distances to various places in the world - if we choose & if we plan very carefully to find fuel - hence, the term "PassageMaker" used to describe these trawler boats. Our top speed would be about 10 mph and at that speed we nearly double the amount of fuel burned! So, going fast (relatively speaking as 10 mph is really NOT FAST!) becomes an expensive proposition for a few more miles gained...and not worth it to us. We say that one must be retired to travel on a trawler as it takes so long to get from Point A to Point B....but remember, life is about the journey and not about the destination!
Student Discussion Topics: Math is important in everything we do - we figure this out when we finally become adults!! I hated word problems while in school. Now, I have to figure them out all the time in order survive on this boat! So, tell me:
At the 1.2 gallons of fuel burned per hour and traveling at 8 mph for the 5,000 mile trip, how much fuel will we need in total? At an average price of $4 per gallon, how much will we spend on fuel for this entire trip? (We have to figure out if we have enough money to PAY for the fuel in our budget! AND, we must always know how much fuel we have left in the tanks and how many miles we have to go before we get get more fuel. What could happen if we mess up the math and miscalculate?
Life is not rough aboard Finally Fun. I use a central vacuum system to keep the boat tidy.
I wash and dry our clothes in a modern full sized front loading washer and a separate dryer located in a closet in our master stateroom... my ‘laundry room’. I know my washing machine uses 15 gallons of water per load versus the older one I had in my house that used about 50 gallons per load washed!
There is a separate ice maker on the aft deck. We filter our drinking water and ice maker line three times before consumption and with two refrigerators and two freezers aboard, the wine stays chilled and Andy has his ice cream. We also have a separate small refrigerator on the flybridge.
|Aft deck where ice maker & plants are located|
I grow my own herbs after an argument with Andy to bring the dirt and plants aboard this new boat. I won...given the the choice between home cooked meals with fresh herbs or no food, Andy capitulated. Satellite TV and satellite radio give us all the news we want, plus movies and regular TV shows. We are able to pick up wifi fairly well in the islands, but it often comes with a $10 a day fee to log on, so we are careful in our planning so we don’t spend too much money but get things we need to get done - like paying bills on line and communicating with family and with you guys!
We have plenty of room to move about on this 50’10” long boat (that includes our swim platform and our bow pulpit!) which is 16 feet wide at the middle. So, inside we are about 14‘ wide from wall to wall, as 2‘ is ‘lost‘ on the deck, in order to provide for a full walk around the boat which makes line handling and docking very easy for me to do. I don’t miss a house at all!
|Master Stateroom King Size Bed|
Our Master bedroom has ample closet space, drawers and shelves for all we need.
Two large port windows (see in the photo) could be an escape hatch if ever needed. There are a number of port holes along each side to allow light & air in. The bathroom (head) is in this cabin, as is the separate closet for the washer/dryer you saw previously.
|Foot of bed & desk area in Master Suite|
Photo on the right is in the master stateroom showing the foot of the bed, Andy's closets and the desk area.
Our bathroom & shower are just to the right at the foot of the bed, in a separate room with a door.
The guest suite is shown in the photo below. Your teacher has slept in here & can tell you more about it. One goes down some steep steps from the front of the saloon into this room. We put a mattress insert into the center of the V, making a Queen size bed - V shaped.
The guest head and full separate shower are through the door you see on your right.
Your feet go where the pillows are -- we remove them at night when guests are aboard, using the bed.
There is a large closet on the left side of this photo that shows the desk area.