Not too long ago, while rummaging through old journals in our storage unit, I found the exact page in November 2016 when I wrote down a hare-brained idea to move aboard a boat. I don’t think Jack was too worried at the time because the chances of me finding a boat we could afford seemed pretty slim.
I guess you could call me Pretty Slim because I’d found the Shanti on Craigslist by March 2017.
We purchased her for a measly three grand and started revising our lives in order to transform the old boat. Jack cut back on his business hours, and I tried to beef mine up. Jack spent his days in the boatyard worrying about how to renovate the boat. I spent mine in front of a computer worrying about how to fund the renovation.
It was going pretty well until we moved aboard in September 2017 when the bottom dropped out of my business for months, leaving us nearly penniless and in a boat that still wasn’t able to float. It took until the end of September to suss out all of the hidden leaks, but at last, on September 21, we dropped in the water for the fifth and final time. No leaks.
Our friends Stephanie and Travis brought a small fishing boat out to drag us across the inlet from Seabrook Yacht Repair to our current home, the Pontchartrain Landing RV Park and Marina. Money was still only trickling in, but we’d overcome the biggest hurdle. The Shanti was, at least, a floating barge now.
We settled in. Maybe you’ve read the posts. We slept in hammocks and cooked in an Instant Pot on the floor, enduring extreme temperatures, annoying inconveniences, et al. for two years. We lost two pets: one to the water and one to old age. Fain was diagnosed with epilepsy. Our car died.
It was two years of one thing after another, and we’d all begun to lose hope that we’d ever get out. I think we were all questioning how much more moxy we could muster.
But finally last week, we cranked the engine, and she roared. Our engine is working, and we’re close to our original goal of living a more nomadic, adaptable lifestyle. Naturally, there are still more hurdles to overcome.
This week, we’ve launched a few times, and Jack has identified and repaired a number of problems each time, including:
- a stuck throttle,
- a slipped steerage belt,
- and leaking transmission fluid.
As per the Shanti custom, fixing one transmission leak revealed another, and it looks like Jack is going to need a week or so to really get it worked out.
In the meantime, we have managed to move to a new slip, so we’ve already gained some ground and some perspective. I’ve been using the time to work on a new business plan and a family budget, and both are promising for the first time in more than a year. Aware has made a robust recovery, and we’ve actually got enough resources to handle things like boat insurance and engine repairs. I’m confident we’ll be headed out in the next week or so, and I’m excited to start updating you more often.
To be perfectly frank, I haven’t felt like posting here much because it’s been depressing and disheartening and there’s already enough stories in the world about everything going wrong. I decided to hold off until I could give you better news, so be on the lookout for more of that in the coming weeks.
Until then, think buoyant thoughts!