Living on a boat is a full-time job

Roberta and I divide our time between Mexico, Seattle, and the boat. Just before heading to Mexico for the season, we moved into a condo. Today is my first day on the condo. We’ve theoretically lived here since last October, but because we’ve been in Mexico, last night was really our first night. I introduced myself to the concierge, and said “we’ll be here the next two weeks, except that I’m leaving tomorrow for a two day trip on the boat, and then when I get back, I’ll be going to the boat most days, and then after April 17th, we’re pretty much gone for the next six months on the boat. I’d like to spend more time in my new condo, but I guess that’s why we downsized to a condo in the first place: so we can spend more time on the boat. Soon, we’ll meet that goal.

This brings up two topics…

1) All of our guests this season called in advance to ask “Is it safe to come to Mexico?”. If you have this question regarding your cruising plans, or are still on the fence for participation in the Fubar, DO NOT WORRY ABOUT IT. Not everywhere in Mexico is safe, and there are enormous problems in some parts of Mexico. But.. the problems are not in the places you are likely to cruise. The border towns are a major problem. If you stop in Ensenada, get your fuel and get south. Ensenada is not safe. I don’t know the other border towns with fuel, but would assume anywhere near the border is probably a problem. Cabo is safe, and I would say everywhere south is safe (Barra, Tenacatita, Puerto Vallarta, Chamela, Mag Bay, Hualtuco, etc), with the exceptiopn of Acapulco, where there have been problems. This said, I am using the word safe loosely, and your results may vary. Mexico is Mexico, and there are places where if you are drunk at 2am, on a quiet street alone, you can get mugged. If you anchor next to a poverty stricken town, and leave your tender on the beach, it can be stolen. Bad things can happen, but bad things happen in every major American city every night. Overall, I feel as safe walking in Cabo or La Paz at night, as in Seattle. It’s a wonderful country. It really bugs me when I watch the news reports, and don’t show a map showing where the crime is. The problems are fairly localized, and are primarily Mexican against Mexican.

2) John Torelli, a Nordhavn 40 owner, put together a slide show, for a recent TrawlerFest, talking about what it is like to live on a boat full-time. His speech was a hit, and if you are thinking about liveaboard status, it is worth checking out his slide show. CLICK HERE. We only live four to six months a year on a boat, and the logistics are really not that easy. It does change your life. Simple things like paying bills become complex things, until you learn the tricks. Steven Argosy, of Seabird, just had a funny story to tell about ordering something delivered to his boat. He bought something on the internet, and the company called to say: “We want to confirm your order. It seems a little funny that your credit card address shows as Connecticut, but, your mailing address is in Florida, I am speaking to you on a Newport Beach number, and you want your order shipped to Seattle. Is that correct?” It happens all the time when you live on a boat, because you start to lose roots. I asked Steven how he was handling mail during the trip, and he just gave me this great referral: Both Steven and I use Paytrust to pay our bills (

This is a longer topic than I have time for today. I’ll really dig into it sometime soon. I don’t have time, because I leave tomorrow morning on the boat! We’re doing a two day shakedown cruise. I just loaded a bunch of stuff onto the boat that I had in mini-storage. I bought new fenders and lines. I bought new flopper stoppers (oversized, for greater stability at anchor). I also bought a new camcorder – so that my blog can have video.

And, lastly…

I phoned Steven to let him know I’m in town. Braun and Tina (Grey Pearl) arrive tomorrow morning. The team is finally together. I mentioned to Steven that I was amazed we held it together and had no defectors (other than one boat; Starr, that dropped out early). Steven said he never had any doubt we’d pull it off. The next two weeks are going to be a lot of work getting ready.

Time to pack!

-Ken Williams

3 Responses

  1. I can suggest any mail forwarding service since I used one, but maybe you could try contacting the seller asking for the possibility of shipping the item internationally in case you win the auction, paying for the service yourself.
    It’s possible that the seller just didn’t want to set up shipping fees for multiple countries ,i recommend get this services form mail forwarding ( , I am very happy with the service PostScanMail.

  2. We leave from Shilshole marina tomorrow morning early, headed to Victoria Canada.

    I will have two friends on board, besides Jeff and I; one is a Nordhavn 55 owner (Dean Heathcote) who has run my boat before, and the other is a friend from my computer game days (Al Lowe — who wrote Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards). The plan is that Dean and Al keep the boat from bumping into anything while Jeff and I go from one end of the boat to the other operating everything, item by item.

    Apparently, the weather forecast for tomorrow is for a bit of wind. I haven’t quantified that yet… My guess is that we’ll give the boat a good workout.

    I am looking forward to this!

    -Ken W

  3. Ken,

    Just watched you pull out of your slip in Salmon Bay via the web cams! Look forward to hearing about the shakedown cruise and how it went.

    Jim E.
    Fairbanks, Alaska

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