I’ve been here on the Fritter at this marina now for about 3 months and so far I have had 3 different neighbors. It’s the nature of marina living, much like rv park living. People are always coming and going. In a way it’s kind of a good thing. In some cases, when you get a bad neighbor, chances are pretty good they will be gone in a short time.
As for my little neck of the marina, when I first moved in I had nobody on either side of me. It was nice. Quiet, nobody cluttering up the dock, but then the first one moved in, a rich snob and his rude family. They pulled in with a fancy 32ft fishing boat that was absolutely spotless. I offered to help them tie off and got a rather unfriendly snort and a menacing glare for my troubles. How dare I, a mere mortal, think that I would be privileged to even gaze upon such a magnificent and perfect specimen of waterborne art. Even the birds had enough respect for such beauty as to not defecate upon it. They left a week later.
Then last month the girl with the houseboat moved in. Nice person, boat was clean but a bit large for the slip. The people on the other side hated her because they don’t want houseboats in the marina. Again I am still unsure of the issue there especially considering said couple rent a large cabin cruiser across the dock and it sure ain’t much different from a house boat. But, what do I know. I’m just a poor sailboat living type. Unfit to exist in some people’s world. Anyways, the girl in the houseboat moved out a week ago heading to a cheaper marina up the islands a bit. The only thing I really miss with her was the houseboat did a nice job of blocking the wind on my boat.
My newest neighbors came in about the time the houseboat left and they sit on my other side. A nice center cabin 34 ft. sloop. But the people, 2 guys, a girl, and a dachshund, are young, and like to drink, talk loudly, and play music. Being about 20 feet away, I can hear everything, and being on the water, the noise travels right into the hull. They also have filled their dock space up with piles of junk. A fridge, three bikes, assorted boat stuff, dive gear, and other things. They already got a warning from the condo association about the fridge and had to build a box for it. When they get to drinking the conversations get loud and fighting ensues. Finally, on Friday evening I came home and saw the girl hauling a cart full of stuff out to her car. I knew what that meant and sure enough, she was leaving. I knew this not because of the cart full of stuff, but because she announced to anyone within earshot that she was leaving, apparently hoping someone would take pity upon her and invite her to stay on another boat. I showed no pity. I did however count at least 4 loads that she took of her stuff off the boat and crammed into her car. By the time she was done you couldn’t see out any of the windows. How the boat managed to stay afloat with all that shit is beyond me. The drama was over quick enough but the remaining boyfriend(s)?, I don’t know the exact arrangements, were either drowning their sorrows in booze, or celebrating her leaving. Not sure which.
I have made no effort to say anything to these people. I don’t want to know their names, stories, or get involved in the drinking. I say hi if they say hi first but ignore them otherwise. I suspect there will be problems down the road and I simply do not want to be a part of it. As long as they leave me the hell alone it will be fine.
Elsewhere in the marina, my landlords are down for the winter. I met them last week. Nice folks. They still can’t get over the fact that I pay my rent on time and in some cases ahead of time.
And one other couple is getting ready to set sail for a little voyage. They are leaving next month for a three year sail around the planet. Their boat is a 40 foot Chris Craft all decked out with everything one would need for such a trip. They are heading out and down through the Panama Canal and then plan on making it to Australia in the first year. Quite the adventure and I wish them all the luck in the world. That will be trip of a lifetime and not for the weak of heart. Storms, long stretches of nothing but ocean, and I can’t imagine wanting to go through the middle east waters of the Red Sea with the way things are going now. Going south around the Horn of Africa would not be much better with the weather. But, they sound like they know what they are doing. Not something I would be attempting at my age. Maybe a few decades ago and with a lot more experience on the water.
I remember watching a series on a travel channel a few years back about a couple from Canada who did the same thing. They sold everything, bought a boat, loaded their two kids on board, and took 5 years to sail around the world. The trip was not without it’s downsides, but overall it was an adventure that most families would not even dream of doing. I’ve seen tourists panic on Duval St. because they can’t remember where they parked the car. Imagine if they were to take a voyage around the world. Well, imagine is about all they would be capable of. The kids who went on that voyage will have memories and experiences that most people cannot even dream of. The education they received from making such a trip cannot be found in any classroom. Just think if you were 5 years old and instead of spending the next 5 years learning the basics of worker beeism you had the chance to sail around the world. You won’t be seeing either of those kids ever wearing a blue vest and singing the praises of wallymart. In fact, in a followup to the series, the daughter was heading out again for another trip on a working sailboat.
Such is the diverse lifestyle of boat live aboarders. A little bit of everything from drunks to snobs to adventurers to explorers to pirates, and on occasion, regular people who just want to live a little bit differently.