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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hopkinson

Living Aboard Again

Living aboard our 39 foot Beneteau Oceanis 393 in the Western Caribbean island of Roatan again, after being back on land for a bit is always an adjustment. We’ve got to get used to the rolling of the waves again, for sure. Even inside a sheltered marina, it can get a little choppy from time to time, with the wrong weather conditions. Currently, the weather, when it's not raining, is a dream; low eighties with a steady breeze, gusting into the low twenties. It feels like paradise after the freezing cold of the northeast.

Going from a huge, three-freezer, two refrigerator setup to a small top lidded, 12V powered combination fridge/freezer is like giving up the walk-in closets, and climate controlled storage units all over again. It’s not bad, who needs all that space, and all that storage, really?

We’ve got to remember how to coexist together in small spaces again. For two humans and two senior dogs, that’s not exactly a turn key process. More like a slow, groaning war of attrition. Fozzie got squished in the bed the other night. Steve fell into the bilge through a missing repaired floorboard in the middle of the night. Mischa complained when we turned off the AC for a couple hours yesterday. So it goes.

The good thing is, we have loads of practice living aboard. We’ve done it for years. What’s difficult, at times, is setting the throttle back on our daily expectations. The transition from North American expectations versus island expectations is like night and day. As we tell visitors all the time, you can’t be in a rush here on Roatan. Life has a more deliberate, slower pace, one that can rarely be forced. Get one thing done, consider it a good day. Trying to get two things done is just greedy.

Being both home and a boat, there’s no shortage of projects to tackle aboard City Dogs, and we’ve been keeping busy turning to-do lists into completed tasks. After five years, our tanks need to get their quinquennial hydrostatic testing done, in fact, all our dive gears has been serviced, and we’re eager to try out a couple of new lights and refinements to our underwater camera gear. 

Mainly, we’ve been organizing, turning drawers full of stuff into labeled bins, using all of the many storage spaces we have tucked away inside compartments, under floorboards, and in the bilge. Part of living aboard is utilizing all of the available space to the maximum advantage, especially tough because we’re carrying extras of all kinds of things because sourcing sailing equipment here is difficult, at best. Which means we find ourselves constantly performing the cruising calculus on a wide range of objects, wondering whether this particular random piece of hardware might be useful to us in the future, or whether the space it occupies might better be served by housing something else. There’s only so much room on a sailboat.

We’ve also got to take our boat out for a little shakedown sail before we start up running private charters again. We’ve got to make sure everything still works, from the blocks, to the sheets, to sails to the watermaker and more. There’s a neverending matrix of systems aboard a sailboat that need to be in perfect alignment to function with anything like optimum efficacy. One broken piece could mean the difference between smooth sailing, and motor sailing, or worse.

We strive for perfection, but often settle for functionality. Some days it’s not about what’s best, but what works for now. Learning the difference is something like island wisdom. Here, in the Bay Islands of Honduras, we’ve learned to try and think differently, to approach every day like, at best, a blessed revelation, or at worst, an eccentric amusement park ride inspired by a fentanyl fever dream. The unique blend of characters that make these islands home are just one of the reasons we love the islands of Roatan, Utila, Cayos Cochinos, and Gunaja so much. 

Whether you’re thinking about visiting for the first time, or coming back for the twentieth time, if you’re into sailing, drop us a line, and let us know what your plans are, and we will be sure to craft a personalized itinerary that takes your preferences, tastes, and experiences into account. Want to read what other folks say about us? Check out our Tripadvisor or Google. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Instagram. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

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