At times it felt as though we would never leave. The summer was so consumed with landlubber responsibilities that we didn’t have time to prepare ourselves and our boat for the big journey ahead. It seemed as though Cheryl’s Ellicott City house received all the attention with contracted improvements and “stuff” donations, sales, and giveaways prior to putting the house on the market on July 2. Within a month we had a contract but demanding buyers, so more improvements were needed before settlement in mid-September.
Philippe and Jean-Luc came home from NC to help with the big move, say goodbye to their childhood home, and drive Cheryl’s Mini-Cooper to its temporary location at their apartment. Neighbor and good friend Betsy was a huge help that final week—we wouldn’t have made it without her. At last, on Friday September 18, Belle Bateau became our full-time home and finally received our full attention.
With just a couple of weeks to get everything ready, including ourselves, it was a bit stressful to say the least. And yes, a bit of a culture shock too. We were now living in 12% of our previous square footage (and that includes the cockpit, which is like including your outside deck) and enjoying just 2% of our previous storage space. Big boat, small house.
We had rented a 10 x 20 storage unit near our marina and had to re-organize it —several times. We would move stuff onto the boat, and then move stuff off of the boat when items wouldn’t fit. We measured and re-measured lockers, and bought and returned storage containers that weren’t efficient sizes. We re-stocked the medical kit, ordered spare parts, ordered more spare parts, downloaded navigation charts, fixed leaking ports, installed new hatches, installed a new wind generator, and so on. Trust me when I tell you this list was 88 items long, and as things got checked off, more things got added. And we got grumpier.
This weather-imposed delay gave us more time to prepare and say goodbye to friends and family. Cheryl even got to attend her 20th consecutive Annapolis Sailboat Show—her annual pilgrimage. On October 17, Cheryl’s sister and 83-year old parents drove from PA to see our new home and drive Dudley’s van back to PA for safekeeping over the winter. We bid goodbye to helpful neighbors on adjacent slips and provisioned one last time.
Planning to leave on October 18, HVAC issues delayed us yet one more day. Will we ever leave?!?!?