So we quit our jobs and moved away to a tropical destination to live on a sailboat. Life should be nothing more than lazing around the decks of the yacht, pausing only to add another ice cube to the margarita or to reel in another mahi mahi, right?

In actuality, we’ve been working 12 hour days, coming home drenched in sweat, motor oil and polysulfide bedding compound. It’s hard work; it’s dirty, stifling hot, cramped and often toxic. But we are learning so much about the boat, and about boats in general, and about physics, mechanics, chemistry, plumbing… the list goes on.

When we began dreaming about this trip, one of the things we were most excited about was the education we would receive, and in one short month, without even leaving the boat yard, we have become jacks of (almost) all trades. The running joke is that our resumes will be humongous and ridiculously varietal after a year of sailing.

Here’s a brief rundown of the skills required to keep our little boat afloat and moving in the right direction (and photos below for proof of our growing education):

Diesel Mechanic (we’ve changed the lube oil, gear oil, fuel filters & impeller)
Small Engine Mechanic (cleaned and adjusted my first carburetor)
Carpenter (installation of the composting toilet and sea cock plugs)
Fiberglass Technician (glassed and epoxied the bottom of the bilge)
Electrician (Katie’s fixed the vhf microphone, and both of the fans)
Plumber (removed the toilet, replaced with composting head…that means less plumbing!)
Seamstress (repairing the headsail with just a needle, some thread and a sail palm)
Metallurgist (galvanic corrosion is everywhere, anodes and cathodes and nobility oh my)
Diver (We’ve checked our mooring chain, and every day at anchor we’ll be diving to depth)
Medic (so far Wylie’s been the only patient with a sliced paw)
Sushi Chef (no such luck yet)
Meteorologist (a lot yet to learn here)
Astronomist (the stars should be good out in the desert)
Material Engineer (epoxy or polyester resin? 316 Stainless or bronze? dacron or rayon?)
Navigator (hopefully soon, if we ever get our boat in the water)
Fisherman (pretty unsuccessful so far…see “Sushi Chef” above)
Marriage Counselor (so far so good)
Bartender (Katie’s got the margarita down pat)
Veterinarian (Wylie: sprayed by skunk, paw lacerated, GI problems…we’ve got our work cut out for us here)

And I’m sure there’s more yet to come that we’ll just have to learn on the fly. Hopefully, in the months to come, we’ll forget some of those plumbing skills and hone in more on the bartending and the sushi skills. Y todo en espanol.

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