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Sans Souci and Me - a liveaboard life


Thanks, shadownet, I'm glad you enjoyed the posts. I may steal that line and modify it slightly, in fact, consider it already stolen! 'The road less travelled is not necessarily a road' :cool:
Haha, steal away! I live on a lake though not right on a lake, rather by it. Something about the water that allures. Lucky you to have a house that floats. Given all the rain and flooding we have had this year, a lot of people are likely wishing their house was made to float instead of flood. Well here is to roads (that are not necessarily roads) less traveled! :D


HW3D Vice President & Queen Bee
Staff member
Thinking about the live aboard life ... I spent the summer of 2011 in the Whispering Woods. It was a lot like I imagine living aboard a boat could be ... Some similarities ...

There were no modern facilities, just a camper with a battery, limited water, etc. we had a bed and a propane powered fridge and stove. We had started a garden in a small clearing on the property. I was determined to plant any and everything that could possibly benefit bees and pollination. We had 15 bee hives at the time and expanded to 25 between July and August of that year.

Any water we needed had to be pumped from the pond into a storage tank so we bought a gas powered pump, a large food grade water storage tank and several sprinkler heads.

Every moment I was not working I was there. We slept there more than we slept at home. I planted countless varieties of heirloom vegetables and medicinal herbs. I showered in a waterfall of rain falling off the awning on the camper. It was a major challenge and also a major time of bliss in my life. I learned a lot about myself being so disconnected to "modern" and so connected to nature.

Hurricane Irene came in September of that year and wiped it all out. We had strapped our bee hives to the ground so they wouldn't blow away and the water rose so high, the bees all drowned. The garden flooded ... pumpkins floating three feet above where they were planted, tomatoes gone ... Just chaos. I could not believe what Irene delivered to us. An entire summer of blood, sweat and tears gone ... in less than twenty four hours ...

Thinking of the difference of being on land and being on the sea and knowing the power of Mother Nature and water ... A live aboard life is a huge inspiration to me! Thanks, Lorraine for sharing your experiences here. As a culture we are so disconnected from nature that I cherish every story of the experience of being a part of it. Thank you!


The Wicked Witch of the North
Wow, Lisa, that is Mother Nature at her harshist, she's got this really bad habit of taking no prisoners. And it really, REALLY hurts when she does that. Sometimes the only thing that's between me and losing my home has been sheer dumb luck...that and the very BEST place to have an mooring. But a lot of luck. There has been nights (it's ALWAYS nights) when I have sat up in the wheelhouse, waiting for the mooring to go and ready to rush out and drop the anchor. It's never happened, I've never had to do it in twenty years but there could always be a storm with Sans Souci's name on it so I sits and I waits and I hopes. An awful lot of those nights I've had friends lose their boats...some sunk, some washed up on the beaches, some taken out into the Bay by wind and tide and ending up on the rocks. Never, ever do I think "that can't happen to us"...it can, it might, it possibly will. The two things I can do are keep my mooring checked and serviced, and keep a lookout. And hope, I will always keep hoping. Thank you, Lisa, for making me appreciate what a wonderful life I get to live xxx


Fascinating thread! :) What a lovely life. You do live with the rhythm of nature, Lorraine.

I thought I had to deal with nature -- sloughing thru the yard when it rains, four-legged friends jumping the fence and roaming at will, pine trees and more pine trees, a doggie that looks a little like Joysie at my heels 24-7 -- but I'm not as close as you.

Sans Souci -- carefree. An appropriate name for the boat and your life. :) Except for the carbon monoxide and wicked storms. Can you invest in a carbon monoxide detector?

I would love being able to see sky and sea all around me.


The Wicked Witch of the North
Hi Jan! Glad you like my ramblings :)

Can you invest in a carbon monoxide detector?

I'm so attuned to it now that I'm just as quick as a monitor. Plus the exhaust gases smell bad so I smell it too. And then get cranky pants!


I envy you your closeness with nature. Not with water, mind you - I envy that not at all. If there was a way to shower with sand, I'd switch to that in a heartbeat.

But yes ... envy ... nature ... Oh, right! I sometimes wish to be a hermit. I've got the beard for it. But I can't be a hermit around here because of the hermit lifestyle's lack of air conditioning. I think I'd have to move to Alaska to be properly comfortable as a hermit.


My world is one different to the norm. There are no roads nor rubbish collections, no streetlights nor phone lines, no power lines nor footpaths, no water reticulation nor postie. My world is one dictated by Mother Nature, surrounded by Mother Nature and sometimes involves going to war with Mother Nature (she usually wins). My world's boundaries are water, the river ruling my life. My dinghy takes me ashore, my mobile phone connects me to the other world and most importantly of all, my wonderful 100 year old boat, Sans Souci, gives me shelter, warmth and a home.

Sans Souci was built in 1916 on the Otago Harbour in the South Island of New Zealand. She spent her life down there until 1966 then came north to Auckland. In 1996 I found her in Whitianga and fell in love. My son and I moved aboard her in October 96 and she has been my home ever since. So this year she celebrates some milestones. She turned 100, she has been in the North Island for 50 years and she has been owned by me for 20 years. Not bad at all for an old girl, not bad at all.

I like to hit the coast of Lake Michigan at fresh water whale breeding times....


The Wicked Witch of the North
There is a widely held view amongst a lot of groundgrippers that living aboard is 'romantic'. And I can even understand it to some extent. It is very nice on a sunny day to be sitting at anchor somewhere, with not another boat to be seen, no sounds but water, breeze and birds. It's not so much fun when the wind gets up in the night and even though you are in a sheltered spot, the wind screams across the bay, the boat sails back and forth on its anchor, and you sit in the wheelhouse for hours ready to start the motor in case that anchor drags. Or perhaps you are home on your mooring and there is a storm warning. Four days of screaming wind and rain later you have acute cabin fever, the boat is damp, you are sick of being in bed though it's the safest place, there's no phone reception because the storm knocked out the repeater, two boats have sunk on the breakwater, several others are on the beaches and all you want to do is go live in a little country cottage with roses in the garden miles from the sea because your boat has shrunk around you to the size of a six foot dinghy. Or maybe you are sound asleep when you wake to find yourself on a precarious lean, rush up in to the wheelhouse just in time to save the computer monitor from sliding off the desk. Things are clattering, books are falling and when you go outside, the water around you has almost all gone. There's been an earthquake in Chile and you are experiencing a tsunami. As there is nothing you can do, you sit on the high side of the boat and wait for the water to come back, not knowing if it will be as a wave. When the water returns back up the river as a surge over 10 minutes, you retire thankfully to bed. Not romantic but very, very real.


The Wicked Witch of the North
Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. That's the science. Its visual effect in a maritime environment is called phosphorescence. The real thing is far more beautiful than what these few words convey.

Phosphorescence is fairyland brought to life. Everything in the water glows; swimming fish, the dinghy wake, the waterline of the boat, mooring ropes and the tide running passed them, waves, wavelets, debris floating in the river, all are set aglow by the action of tiny dinoflagellate in their billions, flickering on and off. On a particularly good night like tonight, everywhere you look there is something glowing. I was saved from running over a mooring buoy because there was a glowing trail coming toward me in the dark. It made me think of those catseyes on the road that stop you crossing the white line onto the wrong side. As I journeyed up the river into the dark, Mother Nature kept me on the right course, guiding me home with tiny flashing organisms that didn't even know I was there.

Satira Capriccio

Contributing Artist
But then ... the moon comes out, and the sparkly fishies leap to and fro all around your little six foot dinghy ...

and you are so grateful you decided to plant your feet in a tiny speck of flotsum instead of a bunch of mud.

I don't know that I so much think living aboard would be romantic as I never ever truly feel as connected to the world or at peace unless I am standing on the edge of the ocean with nothing but water before me and the scent of sea around me.

Soo ... I would think that living ON the water would also give me that feeling.

Besides, the noise of traffic just doesn't quite sound the same as the sound of waves crashing on the rocks :wink:


The Wicked Witch of the North
I don't know that I so much think living aboard would be romantic as I never ever truly feel as connected to the world or at peace unless I am standing on the edge of the ocean with nothing but water before me and the scent of sea around me.

That's a very good description of the way the sea affects me too. And being on the water does give me that feeling so I believe it would you too. It's why I get a bit bleak when I'm ashore too long.

Seliah (Childe of Fyre)

Running with the wolves.
Contributing Artist
I don't know that I so much think living aboard would be romantic as I never ever truly feel as connected to the world or at peace unless I am standing on the edge of the ocean with nothing but water before me and the scent of sea around me.

That's a very good description of the way the sea affects me too.

That's the way the mountains affect me, and it's the only place that does. LOL

You ladies take the shoreline and the ocean. I'll happily stick to waving at you from the mountain top. :roflmao:


The Wicked Witch of the North
I'm happy to share the planet ;) You have your mountains and I'll have my sea and we'll both be happy :)


Wolff Playing with Beez!
Contributing Artist
Happy Belated Birthday to Sans Souci! I'm glad you all are loving life on the water! HUGS


The Wicked Witch of the North
Hey thanks Richard, she appreciated the birthday wishes. The cool thing about being 100 is you don't just get a one day birthday, oh no, your birthday lasts all year :)

And we are loving our life on the water :cool: