Although the sailing off into the sunset dream didn’t work out; living aboard was a positive experience.

There is the obvious such as moving from a house to a boat (a tiny house that floats)  is  about minimising. What do we take, what do we pack away in the garden shed and what do we get rid of? I am lucky, I’m not a hoarder and have never been wedded to things. This exercise was easy; even cathartic.

It was however living in the marina that had the most impact on us. There is a huge sense of community. It was village life complete with the leisurely chats in the communal laundry, and the friendly waves  as you passed on the pier, more often than not followed up with the invites aboard for a drink and a yarn. It was pitching in and helping someone berth their boat in stormy weather, knowing full well that the favour would be returned in a heartbeat.

Life in the marina is seasonal: in November the flavour of the marina would change as the cruisers arrived after  scurrying down from the islands to avoid the hurricane season. Some were friends who would spend our winter in the Pacific returning to the marina for the summer and to pick up some work to fund the next trip, yet others were yachties from foreign ports stopping over in New Zealand for maintenance and/or to explore the country.

In winter, the cruisers would leave our shores; some liveaboards would fly off to spend the Northern summer in their homes, be it a house or RV, in Europe or America, and some, like us, saw the winter out tucked up aboard their boat in the marina.

Yes, some were wealthy, but most were ordinary folk who made a conscious choice to live very simply so they could live the lifestyle they wanted.**

We feel fortunate to have been part of this world: the people, many who became friends, were kind, caring and inspirational; the lifestyle was simple and uncomplicated. This is slow living.

* We returned to land when our son bounced home – the boat was a bit small for three of us!

** Lin and Larry Pardey’s books are worth reading, if you are interested in cruising on a budget.