When Christmas was approaching Nathaniel and I talked about how we would spend our first Christmas on the boat. We considered sailing over to Ganges Harbour on Salt Spring but this plan was dependant on the weather. The other consideration was the fact that our 2 sons and daughter were joining us; at ages 17, 19 and 20 they can easily get cranky in confined quarters and tend to take up a lot of space. I was not looking forward to being confined with three young people on our boat in cold, wet weather with not much to do.
A couple weeks before Christmas we learned that friends of a friend were looking for someone to housesit over the holidays, so we gave up our plan to sail this Christmas but hope to do so next year. After our previous time off the boat, when it was being repaired I learned how to manage moving our belongings from place to place. We took minimal from the boat and I bought groceries specifically for the week once we moved into the house.
It was a lovely home with a bedroom for everyone and there were all the comforts including music, games, TV, full kitchen etc. The family had decorated their home for Christmas, which we enjoyed without having to do all the work.
Although it was strange being in someone else’s home I guess it is no that different then renting a suite. It helped that the family we were housesitting for were very friendly and hospitable. It turned out that we had a great Christmas with the kids and I think they enjoyed their visit more because we were in a traditional home rather than the boat. It was possible to cook a traditional Christmas dinner which all enjoyed. We could have managed Christmas on the boat with everyone but I think it would have been stressful and less relaxing. Living aboard is a real experiment and it helps to be flexible.
Do other people mix housesitting with living aboard?
i’m less keen than tracy on temporarily moving off the boat; i find it more difficult making the adjustment, though she finds it a relief to have more space, and with kids coming it really was a godsend.
once i have adapted to small space i don’t notice it, but after a week in a big house, it feels like moving back to a closet. i especially notice how cramped the fo’c’sle is, and how difficult temperature regulation is in there. tracy is at the period of life where she is a blast furnace, and at night i can’t get far enough away from her. my head will be cold, my torso will be sweating from the burning log next to me, and my feet will be freezing.
we have already had another family ask us to housesit at the end of the month, but no way. if we could get at least a month or something i might consider it, but popping off for a week here and a week there is too much like when we had the prop wrap this fall and we lost our home for 6 weeks. it worked well for us at christmas, but we are liveaboards!