This time last year, the Smalls and I were housesitting. A most beautiful old house in Arthur’s Seat on the Mornington Peninsula. Housesitting was part of my coping mechanism. Chunks of time to live outside the boatyard, benefit from other people’s dishwashers and washing machines. Chickens.
This house was seriously heavenly. Still is. We drove to Frankston to our lovely friend’s home on New Years Eve. It was volcano hot. By the time we reached their street my iphone had called a halt to proceedings, shutting down because the temperature was too much for it to cope with.
Small DB screamed the last third of the way, despite the fact I had given them both ice to suck, and spray bottles. The car had no air-conditioning – another thing I do not miss. We had a wonderful time, but couldn’t make it through to midnight. I drove back to the house with two slumbering Smalls, carried them inside and upstairs one at a time. By midnight, I was breathing the night air as I retrieved our stuff from the car.
I said a happy new year to my dad and took a last Instagram photo for 2015. I had no idea what the coming year would bring. Bella Luna, by that point, had been gestating for pretty much nine years. I had long ago stopped thinking about whether we would launch, or where we would sail – I just thought about continuing a day or a week at a time – with occasional housesitting gigs sitting like little jewels ahead of me.
That night, listening to people setting off crackers while I sat on the car in the first minutes of 2016, I had no idea what I would see if I had been able to look forward exactly one year. There is no part of me that could have imagined I would be sitting on Bella Luna in the sunshine with M and Smalls, moored on Sandy Bay in Tasmania, planning to watch the earlybird fireworks.
I never suspected that learning to liveaboard a boat at sea would be, in some ways, significantly different from living on the same boat in the boatyard – and in other ways so similar. Reality has not set in for me yet – it still feels like a holiday that we’re going to exit stage left and go home from. But this is it. This is home – wherever we anchor or tie up to a pier – Bella Luna is the quarter-acre block we could never afford and didn’t aspire to. We are, although it hasn’t really hit us yet, gypsies of the sea…
My word of 2016 was ‘incremental’. My word for 2017 is ‘flow’. To strive, but to know when to stop, to be resilient, but know when to rest. To have an open heart and be disciplined about documenting our days. All the things. Happy New Year. xxx