August started our 2 months of living on the boat in Dana Point Harbor. On the 1st of August I started our summer with a commercial photography shoot in Napa Valley. When I was first asked if I was interested in working on the project for St Joseph Health, I panicked. The idea of being away from my kiddles always brings about fear and worry. Then as time passed and I started to think more about the project and how my ideas and input could make the shoot a success I was convinced it was what I needed to do. So by the time I was heading to the airport I was sad to be away from the kids but excited to be on my own adventure while they continued theirs. Merrik spent the week in Buccaneers Camp at the Ocean Institute. Of course I had a tremendous amount of help and support from my family and Jim’s family to get the kids to and from their summer activities. By the time I returned to the boat summer fun was in full swing and we had pirates aboard. By the end of the month we were completely settled into the cruising routine: jumping off the boat into the water dinghy rides to the breakwater fishing off the dock paddling around the harbor surfing at the nearby surf beach dinner and ukulele music in the cockpit as the sun set behind Dana Point a watermelon tour at a local farm swimming in the pool at our friend’s new house an exposure to pertussis which we all escaped and visits from lots of friends at the boat. The light in our corner of the harbor was spectacular and I still want to go back to complete a few photographic visions that came to me as we ventured around. I was so at peace and definitely felt like I was in my element. It was easy for me to pull away from day to day socializing and go into my own little world. I already know I’m not a social climber and this summer reminded me that it’s clear I will never be a popular or trendy artist because all that stuff that everyone else is chasing just has no bearing in a life like this. It all falls away and disappears as a matter of importance. The daytime drama of the guest dock were a great reminder of why I can’t wait to sail away with my family. It was a test to live in such close quarters with our neighbors-late night arguments between couples, rowdy boy’s club gatherings at 3:00am and power boaters running their smelly engines-all of this was just yards away from our open hatches where we lived and slept. You definitely get a sense of the cross section of society in the yachting world on the guest dock. With transient boats barely afloat at one end of the dock and million dollar yachts at the other, it was quite a spectacle. We were somewhere in the middle of it all. The kids entertained the other live aboards to say the least and everyone remarked how they enjoyed watching the ballet performances, jumping contests off the dock, wetsuit water filling antics and circus acrobatics on our rigging. The other challenge was the lack of personal space shared by our own family. We lived in 38′ x 12′ of space. Yes, you could go up on deck if you wanted some quiet time but there was always the activity of the harbor to distract you. We had two rooms down below-the main salon with galley, dining area and mate’s cabin and then the captain’s stateroom with head. These two spaces were divided by a door that was often closed but didn’t actually close all the way because the boat is 35 years old and the teak door frame is warped. We all did quite well for being in such a small space. I think there is a lot of adaptation that has to happen for it to last years. I haven’t even mentioned the hard work all of it was-physically. Frequent runs up and down the dock to get ice and groceries since we had no refrigeration kept me in shape. I scoffed at the aerobics class that met every morning across the dock from us. I was just living life and getting and staying in good shape. It’s truly a great lifestyle. I definitely prefer to be on the hook but that has it’s challenges too when two of us have to get to shore to go to work. We are scrimping and saving to someday do this full time with no office jobs to report to.