The Boat Tour!

Baking cookies, as a gracious excuse to tour a new neighbor’s house, is something I am not super proud of, but I have done it. It is not about comparing nests, nor about stealing decorating ideas. I suppose it is some sort of curiosity, a remnant if the childhood years. So, if you are a bit like me, you might be wondering what that boat-home of ours looks like and how we live in it. Here is the boat tour for you; once we have a mailing address again, I will publish it, for the cookies. 

"Graceful" is an Italian boat, made in 1985. It is a Grand Soleil 39 (the model), and it is 39 feet long. Buying a boat is more like buying a car; it does not increase in value, so just like buying a car, when you buy a used boat, the price is a fraction of the cost of a brand new one. Most of the families we met have one, or no current income, and own their boats, so an old boat is easy to find and buy, and own without a mortgage. Selling a boat is a different story, it is always a buyer's market, but we will worry about this when the time comes. Maintaining a boat is like organizing a wedding, everything is extremely overpriced once you place “marine” in front of it. I am blessed with a handy husband, so when things break (which they tend to occupy themselves with frequently), he fixes them!

Just like neighborhood houses, there are outrageously priced boats, as well as boats that barely float. Unlike houses, however, the seas are for everyone, and the dolphins can care less for the price tag.

To start, here are a few photos of our changing neighborhoods. 
Our current neighborhood in Miami, FL. We have transitioned into mooring ball life.

St. Augustine, a beautiful place, but we did not have time to tour it. 

The neighborhood "street" in Vero Beach, FL. We all liked the town very much, and might be going back there. 

The outside of our boat.
Our keel is almost 6ft long, making the boat quite sea-worthy, but also leaning very much when we sail. 

We need to get that name repainted, it came to us with the boat and we love it. Like deacon Nick said, "Like the Theotokos, she is full of grace". 
The family car, known as dinghy. It is a small folding boat, which we use to get ourselves from the boat to land. 
The car "garage"

Moving with 1 Sophie power.

Moving with 2.5 horse power.

The companionway is the entry into the living area of the boat. There are a few steps leading below, so when we are inside, we are halfway in a submarine. Just like with a new house, it took us all a while to get used to the sounds of the boat and all that water swishing, splashing, spraying and swirling around us. “Wait, what was that? Joe, Joe, wake up! Are we sinking, or is that normal?” Eventually, it does become pleasant and calming to be rocked to sleep and enjoy the sounds of the water.
Our "patio" outdoor seating area, one of my favorite places on the boat.

The wooden "door" and a sliding glass hatch above lead to the living space below. Notice our shoe rack, no one likes stinky shoes inside small spaces!

The galley (boat name for kitchen). I will just add descriptions with captions.
It is a double sink, which can be covered partially, or fully to make extra counter space!

Our plates and cups. Thank you, great grandma, we use the cups all the time!

Our glass cups and jars fit perfectly inside the larger plastic ones, which gives us twice the amount.

It was Bobby's turn to wash and dry the dishes...

The fridge is a bit small, but you can find the milk under the chicken broth.

And with the milk under the chicken broth, Bobby can help make crepes!

Half the sink is utilized as counter space for drying.

The living room – no space is left without a purpose, every corner and wall has nooks and hidden cabinets for storage! Both sofas turn into beds, or are a nice hiding spot when a small kid gets upset.
With boats, if you face the front of the boat, your right side is called "starboard", and your left side "port". This makes is easy to communicate directions regardless of which way someone is facing, and directions, while sailing, must be followed quickly. 
Starboard side, as soon as you go downstairs - the navigation desk with our electric panel, GPS, radio, etc. Yes, the desk lifts up for extra storage. 

Port side sofa turns into a double-ish size bed. 
Port side sofa-bed
Starboard side of the living room decorated for Christmas! 

Starboard side becomes Bobby's bed at night. Notice the navigation desk behind it
Port side shelves with our homeschool books and extra storage behind the sofa.

Starboard side shelf.
This is not just a pillow! It is stuffed with extra bed sheets and a blanket, we have three of these!

The boys’ bunk cabin is on the port side, and has two berths (boat name for “beds”). We use the top bunk for their clothes, which fit great in one of those $4 closet hanging organizers from Walmart. It works well, because when we are under way and the boat is leaning, things do fall down, but it does not hurt! Bobby prefers to sleep in the living room, on one of the sofas, pictured above.
We have an ice-maker, which we use to for storage, mostly garlic, onion, ginger, potatoes. Yep, there is additional storage under the top bunk!

Our life raft takes up a lot of space, but it is one of those things that we pray we never need, but we need to have. 

The boys closet, each boy gets three cubes for their clothes, and we keep socks and underpants in small laundry bags. 

Sophie’s cabin - starboard side.
Sophie has six cubes for storage, as well as a hammock!

Our master suite with hammock “dressers”, and a reach-in closet. After 15 years of marriage, Joe and I, finally, have our very own bedroom with a bed!

My hammock, again, great solution while under way, because things never fall out!
Our reach-in closet.
The head (knows as bathroom/toilet in a house) is next to our master cabin. There is another one in Sophie's cabin, but we use it for storage. The small brown paper bag under the sink is our trash bag. There is no toilet paper allowed in the toilet. If the toilet paper must remain hidden, it is placed in a small scented diaper plastic bag first. I am sorry for the details, but these are things rarely mentioned in literature, so it is time we started talking!
Let's keep this photo small.
The faucet becomes a shower-head, but we only shower at the marinas.
 A few of the not-so-romantic aspects of our live-aboard lifestyle. 
There is a maze of cables and compartments underneath the floor, but they do fill up with water, and the pump sits a bit high, so if we don't want stale smelly water, we need to soak it up!

The bugs net I quickly made using a sheer curtain and masking tape. We use masking tape a lot.

It is very convenient to be able to do more than one load of laundry, but then you have to transport it to the boat!
Drying towels, while we had our heater running, back in cold NC.

Joe fixing our engine, located under the companionway steps.

Joe not fitting on the boat, it is too short for him!

Yep, different kinds of mold under the mattresses. We constantly battle moisture, go figure!
To finish this blog on a better note, here are some of the fun things we do!

School, everyone's favorite time of the day...

Being creative

Being zombies.


That's reading too

Allowing to be painted on.

PE class!

This concludes the tour of our boat, and some of our boat life. We usually take pictures and videos of the fun times only, but there are many challenges as well. Some we more or less predicted and prepared for, others we need to figure out together as we continue our journey. It is difficult, but unique and memorable.


  1. We love reading comments. Please, do comment, so we won't have to do it ourselves!

  2. I LOVED the boat tour. You've got everything so beautifully organized. It looks so homey. Do you have any pics of the living room/family room or wherever you guys come together to relax, read, etc.? Sophie has the best deal, I think. Her room is so nice. It is fascinating that there is a whole world out there of people who chose to live on their boats. Are there are some who live this way permanently?

    How are you guys faring with the cold? Or is it warm and balmy where you are?

    1. Dear Anna, so good to hear from you! I hope you are doing well, we do pray for you. The living room area is in the photos, but it is a small space, so we use it as a dining room/study room/bedroom. Quite a few people and families live on their boats full time, and have been for years. It is still a small fraction of the land-inhabitants. It has been a difficult transition for us, but Sophie now wants to be called “boat kid”, while Joey still hates the boat, but love everything we do with it. Bobby is somewhere in the middle. Miami is unusually cold for this time of the year, and even if 53F does not sound cold, that is the temperature in the boat, because we have no heating while on a mooring ball. I do know that the north is frozen as we speak, so I dare not complain too much :-)


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