Clint Williams writing on living on the water…
I wake up in the morning not to an alarm clock, but to the natural rhythm of the day. The sailboat my wife, Jodi, and I live on is facing north, so the sun rises on our starboard side.
Today, there’s not a cloud in the sky. Funny, as yesterday was overcast and rainy. It’s amazing how fast things change with the weather. The sun is just coming up and the reds and oranges and yellows set the horizon on fire.
In the west, the moon is vibrant, bright, and white as it is going down. That side is blues and purples and deep reds. The horizon in 360 degrees looks like a color wheel. Remarkably, the water is still and the reflection of the moon and the sky on its mirrored surface is almost miraculous.
And what’s wonderful is that I have the time to appreciate it.
Up until about three years ago Jodi and I owned a successful business. Before that I had worked for the same company for 20 years. In both instances, the alarm clock was the opening salvo for each day. Every day was an endless barrage of emails, phone calls, paying bills, and mindless work. Chained to a desk, a mortgage, and a mountain of debt, I found it depressing watching my life dwindle away while I labored.
So, we decided to make a change. We sold our business and paid off all our debt. Then we sold our house and bought an old 40-foot sailboat. We paid cash for it and it cost much less than most new cars these days. We chose a sailboat because it allows us more freedom than owning a house and land, and there are no property taxes to worry about.
Originally, the sailboat was at a marina right next to a popular tourist area, Kemah, on Galveston Bay. It was nice because we were new to sailing. We could make it to new places around the bay in a day and anchor overnight in different surroundings such as a bayou or a crescent-shaped island.
After a while, Jodi and I wanted to be closer to the Gulf of Mexico and open water, so we moved to a smaller, quieter, and more picturesque marina on the Texas Gulf Coast. We made improvements to the boat and honed our sailing skills.
We now enjoy relative solitude and the sound of the wind in the palms instead of cars on the freeway. Plus, we find sailing in the blue water of the Gulf more gratifying.
We’ve discussed other options, too…Mexico…the East Coast of the United States…the Caribbean. Looks like we’ll be heading to Florida towards the end of the year, then to the North Caribbean, and then who knows.
Each day starts with sunlight beaming in through the hatch and port light in the v-berth, our bedroom. I get up not dreading the day, but welcoming it. I take several short steps to the solar charge controller at the navigation desk. I check it first thing every morning to make sure that the batteries are healthy.
Then, I only have to turn around to be at our propane stove. I fill the kettle, and put it on to boil for coffee. The biggest decision of the morning is what to have for breakfast. Oatmeal, scrambled eggs, pancakes, or maybe biscuits? Jodi’s still asleep. No rush. We have all day.
The kettle starts whistling. I pour the hot water into the French press and wait for it to brew. The aroma of fresh coffee is in the air. I think about what I need to get done to the boat. There’s not much. In the past two years we’ve got it outfitted the way we want and all the big projects have been done.
I take my coffee to the cockpit, sit back, and relax. The morning is chilly but my time is now my own.
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