Eight months after selling The Sea Shanti, we’re living in Morehead City, on a small strip of land on the coast of North Carolina. The water is less than six blocks in either direction. We’re as barely on land as we could be in some ways. Sometimes it feels like we’re shipwrecked in a strange land the indigenous people call Suburban America. These are a proud people with strange customs, a friendly, generous people. We’re doing our best to fit in.
As is the local custom we have a fine little house, complete with a white picket fence and a lawn to mow on the weekends. Autumn is still prospering with Aware Copywriting and Fain is starting school in a week or so to study Aquaculture at the local, well respected community college. As for me, I’m working as an Electrician’s Helper at Jarrett Bay Boatworks.
Jarrett Bay Boatworks is a prestigious, locally owned company that builds 60-80’ sport fishing boats. These are luxury yachts in every sense. The company has been around for over 30 years, and working there has some status. Jarrett Bay is a source of pride in both the community and the state. It’s a world of quarter million dollar SeaKeepers and imported Indonesian teak decking. A far cry from the scrappy sailboat world of the liveaboard. The pay isn’t great, but the people are.
I’m trying to find someone to give me a skiff that I can fix up and use to commute to work by water. From Calico Bay a couple blocks behind us, I could take the Newport River to work and get there in about half the time as driving. Prior to the bridges being built, skiffs were the family car around here. At least I’d be on the water every day, and on weekends, we could go out as a family and explore the little inlets and bays around here.
As it is now, I can see the water most of the time. I’m around boats all day, and going over the bridge to work, looking through Beaufort Inlet, I can see the horizon off in the distance. The horizon seems impossibly far away now. It isn’t, but it seems that way sometimes. We’re trying to put money aside for another sailboat in a year or two, but terrestrial life is expensive.
Still, in other ways not much has changed. We still function like a crew as much as a family. We still plan and scheme like we always have. We’re happy, and healthy and….generally optimistic. All the important boxes are checked. And at the end of the day I remind myself that all we have to do is stay smart, stay tough, and stay lucky and it will all work out.