I was going to say that I’ve always been comfortable on boats, but then I remembered my uncle’s sailboat and the day we went out sailing in Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the US. Not a great day sailing. My parents and my brother were onboard, along with my uncle and my cousin Pete. A crowd, in other words.
I can’t remember how big the boat was, but I do remember it didn’t have a loo. No toilet. And I had to pee. Badly! My uncle told me to hold it or hang my 10-year-old butt overboard and go. In front of everyone. In front of the crowd! In front of my cousin. I had a crush on my cousin; he was a teenager, tall and tan and blonde and so nice to me. Who wouldn’t have a crush on him? Who would want to pee in front of him?!
When my uncle saw that I wasn’t going to hang my butt overboard, he handed me a tin can full of worms and said, ‘Use this.’ Ah, yes, the worm can was the solution! I tossed the worms overboard, took it below deck and filled it up again - in privacy.
That was the first boating experience that I can remember.
In my 40s I bought a boat instead of a house. A 50’ Grand Banks trawler. All wood. It was gorgeous. My then husband convinced me living aboard a boat was the way to go. Too bad I didn’t buy a house and divorce that husband; I’d have a million-dollar house by now! But I bought the boat. And loved it.
For 3.5 years, I lived aboard Esoterica. My husband lived onboard for only a year. Living there alone I learned so much about motors; the boat had twin Ford Lehmans and the engine rooms were walk-in size. I learned what to do at 3AM when the bilge alarm goes off because there’s too much water in the bilge. I learned that a boat is definitely the toilet that one throws money down; just the varnishing of the wood on board was a full time job. Once done, your boat worker starts again.
It was a sad day when I sold Esoterica. It had been my home at the Sausalito Yacht Harbor, and my cat’s home. Daisy would sit in the sun on the bow and let busloads of Japanese tourist take her picture. We boated in the middle of 10,000+ dolphins, off Catalina Islands (Southern California) for over an hour. It was a miraculous experience, seeing all those dolphins, big and small swim at breakneck speed alongside the boat.
Esoterica was a calm place to live and definitely bohemian! My favorite aunt, a wonderful artist and bohemian also, once told me that most people were squares and circles, ‘You, Lucy,’ she said, ‘are a triangle.’ My account once told me that I’d probably never be rich, but I’d definitely have an interesting life.
My brother Mark and I
on my uncle's infamous sailboat!
Esoterica, where I lived for 3.5years.
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