Valentine’s Day Afloat Throwback

With Valentine’s Day upon us, I’ve found myself reminiscing about last year’s Valentine’s Day afloat. Rob was fishing out of Sitka, Alaska, last winter and I had a 3 day weekend so I flew up to spend Valentine’s Day with my valentine aboard the F/V Fool’s Gold.

The first part of the adventure was getting to Sitka. Flying into any airport in Southeast Alaska is always an experience. Usually when you see those articles about scariest airports to fly into, at least one Southeast AK airport is on there. I’ve heard that Ketchikan’s runway is the shortest it could possibly be in order to land a 747. It also has water on either end of it so there’s not a lot of room for error there. I found Sitka’s airport to be a little more unnerving though. It really feels like you’re about to just straight up land in the ocean. It’s pretty much just a runway floating on an island. For someone who already has extreme anxiety about flying, this is not ideal. Luckily Alaska Airlines pilots seem to have a good idea of what they’re doing because we did not, in fact, land in the ocean.


It doesn’t seem like a jet should ever come this close to the ocean. Welcome to Sitka.

After surviving the flight which is always an accomplish for my nervous self, Rob and I headed to the harbor to set off on our weekend journey. Armed with a GoPro selfie stick that my mom had just given me for Christmas a few months before, mimosa fixins, and lots of bacon (always necessary for boat outings) we set out to find the Goddard Hot Springs. We chugged along in the Fool’s Gold, top speed of about 6 knots (aka very slow), to the springs and spotted plenty of humpbacks and sea otters along the way. Humpbacks are famous for their winter migration to Hawaii where they mate but there are some that don’t make the trek and stay in Alaskan waters instead. From what I’ve heard, it’s mostly young males that stick around because they’re not mating yet. I’m no scientist but it sounds legit to me.

One thing that struck me about being out on the water in Sitka was how different the ocean moves than it does here around Ketchikan. In Ketchikan, we are relatively protected from what you would consider the “open ocean.” Our island is surrounded by other islands that keep us from getting ocean swell. In Sitka, that’s not the case. There’s nothing really between Sitka and Japan and you can definitely feel it when you’re on the water. Even on calm days, the constant swell is noticeable and a bit unsettling at first.

Oh and how could I forget…Sitka also has a freakin VOLCANO that you can see for much of the drive. How neat is that?!


Rob took this picture of Mt. Edgecumbe AKA the freakin volcano!

After a few hours of travel and doing what you do on a very slow moving boat- read, nap, snack, repeat- we made it to the Hot Springs Bay where we anchored the boat and paddled to shore in a little inflatable along with our mimosa fixins. When I heard hot springs, I guess I was imagining more of a rocky sort of natural hot tub area. But this was different. Basically there are a couple wooden shelters that each have a big steel tub with a tap. The tap flows from the actual hot springs that is maybe unground? To be honest, I have no idea where the hot water came from. Rob hiked up to try to find the source but I was perfectly content just accepting that there was magical hot water that came out of the tap. I was also in a bathing suit at this point and not so interested in figuring out where the hot water was coming from as I was in just sitting in the hot water. Apparently in the summer it’s more of a hot spot (get it? HOT spot?) But since we were there in February, we had the springs to ourself even though there were a few other boats anchored up in the bay around us. Works for me!


A low quality photo of a high quality time. Enjoying mimosas at Goddard Hot Springs.

After getting our fill of mimosas and the springs, we headed back to the boat where we spent the rest of the weekend meandering the coastline between there and Sitka. There is just so much beautiful untouched nature here to explore and we even caught a few fishies along the way!


Bring your Valentine to work day aboard the F/V Fool’s Gold.

We’re spending this Valentine’s Day on land but it’s only a matter of time before we’re back out there on the water doing some more adventuring!

Thanks for reading! Float on, friends



Staying Afloat on Land

Friends, family, strangers, strange friends and family,

Greetings once again from beautiful Ketchikan, Alaska!


See. I told you it was beautiful!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about our life afloat. So long, in fact, that we’re no longer even afloat! Not to worry- we didn’t sink. We just don’t live on a boat anymore and actually haven’t for quite some time.

Long story short- my handsome boat mate Rob and I moved off the boat when he purchased a commercial fishing boat that needed to live in the spot where we lived. I wrote about our journey going to get the boat in Juneau. You can read about it here if you missed it. Basically, there was only 1 stall for 2 boats so one boat had to go. So we decided to make the move to solid ground and since then, except when Rob’s out fishing, we’ve been living the cushy, land life.

You know the one.

The one where you have a normal size fridge with plenty of room for all of your sauces. The one where you have a real bathroom and a dresser. The one where you can have bananas.

Yeah- that one.

And when I say we moved off the boat, I don’t mean, like, last weekend. I mean like nearly 3 years ago. So it appears we have some catching up to do!

After we moved off the boat, I wasn’t sure how to continue the blog so I just…didn’t.

I had always intended to transition it to something else but just…didn’t.

But I have longed to write again. So I just…did.

And for you, dear reader, I really think I can still come up with ways to twist the details of our life in Alaska to hopefully make it interesting enough to read. I’m at least going to try! If nothing else, I will be honest. And honestly (see, I’m being honest already!) that should be interesting.


To give a little more background on why I really decided to give this whole blog thing another go, I recently started listening to a podcast called “The Minimalists” which is run by 2 thirtysomething year old guys who in their late 20s decided to try this thing called “minimalism.” In short, it’s the idea of owning fewer material possessions in order to devote more time to the things you value. Kind of like owning fewer things so fewer things own you.

A lot of the ideas behind minimalism actually align with our former life afloat. Living on a boat, you are somewhat forced to own fewer things, and it’s an aspect of boat living that Rob and I always actually liked.

I won’t go into too much detail about it but if you’re interested, here’s their website: And the podcast is free on iTunes!

Aside from their ideas about material possessions, one of the things these guys talk about in the podcast is how you choose to spend your time and how it should align with your values. So it’s made me ask myself questions like- am I spending time doing things that I value? among other heavy stuff.

Well, remember the part where I said I would try to make my life sound interesting?

This is not that part. This is the part where I drop an honesty bomb for you, reader. This is the part where I admit to you an ugly truth which is that all too often lately I have found myself spending hours on end doing something affectionately called “online window shopping.”

For those of you who are better people than me and are unfamiliar with this idea, I don’t mean shopping online for windows. No, no. Online window shopping is where one spends hours online perusing but not actually buying anything. And then after those hours, you’re like, “Well, I didn’t buy anything so there’s nothing wrong with it!” It somehow feels like an accomplishment to spend hours shopping and not actually spend money. In reality though, if I at least bought something, then it technically wouldn’t be such a huge waste of time.

What I have to say to this past time is “F@*# you, Amazon Prime!”

But no, I’m only joking- thank you Amazon Prime for shipping free to Alaska. Thank you for all you do. Please don’t ever stop.

In all seriousness though, one of the things that I’ve started to question more is how I spend my time versus how I spend my money. I’ve always justified this practice with the fact that I don’t really spend a lot of money. Therefore it’s always seemed pretty harmless. When realistically what I should be looking at is how I’m spending my time.

  • Do I have money to spend on things that I find online. Yeah, sure. To an extent.
  • Do I have time to spend on it? Well, yeah. Apparently I do because I just said I do it.
  • Should I have the time to spend on it? Nope. I definitely should not.

And that’s where the issue lies for me. I truly want to try to spend some time doing more of what I love and value including writing and art making. Don’t we all want to spend more time doing things we enjoy? But too often we (yes, probably you too, I’m assuming) get caught up in the idea that we “don’t have time” for things. I could say I don’t have time to write. I could say I don’t have time to paint. But often what we’re really saying when we “don’t have time” is that it’s not a priority. For example- I have time to wash my bed sheets more often. I just don’t want to. Because making the bed sucks. Fitted sheets are the worst. It’s just not really a priority for me.

That’s an easy example though. It’s more difficult for me to say, “I don’t write or make art more often because it’s not a priority to me.” But my actions have shown that I’m certainly not prioritizing things that I value and that’s a truth I’m trying to change.

In the next few weeks and months, I hope to not only take on some more creative endeavors but also to catch you up to where we are now in life and some past adventures that you’ve missed. This includes exciting things like a brief stint abroad, Rob fishing on his commercial fishing boat, and a new fishing boat in the works. There might be even more not so exciting things like living out of suitcases and coming back from your brief stint abroad to find mold in your car.

So here’s to more boats, more writing, honesty bombs, and just trying to stay afloat.


The Kitchen Situation

As I sit here writing this post, dinner is simmering on the stovetop and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to reflect on the many adventures of boat cooking. I’d like to say that I’m in the clear for dinner tonight, but with boat cooking, you’re never really in the clear until the food is on the plate. Because boat cooking is hard. Boat cooking makes me so frustrated sometimes that I feel like ripping my hair out and eating that instead because it would be easier than boat cooking. The kitchen situation/lack of kitchen situation has probably been the most challenging thing about living on a boat. Some boat kitchens are probably really nice and very normal, but our “kitchen” consists of a small countertop, a mini fridge, a sink (no hot water though), some cabinets for food storage, and various small appliances that are jammed into a little cubby hole because there’s not enough room for them to actually stay on the counter.

the boat "kitchen"

the kitchen situation

Over the past few months on the boat, I’ve perfected many techniques in boat cooking but not without much trial and much more error. Don’t get me wrong, my handsome boatmate and I eat some pretty delicious meals and have an abundance of fresh seafood to dine one. Somehow, it always works out, but not without the occasional breakdown and shedding of tears. I’m not even kidding- I have actually cried several times while cooking.

A huge challenge with the kitchen situation is that it’s made me crave ice cream way more than I’ve ever craved ice cream before. It’s not because I actually want more ice cream, but since I no longer have a freezer to store it in, I FEEL like I want ice cream all the freaking time. The mini fridge technically has a freezer, but it’s a joke freezer. You could fit maybe an ice cream bar in there, but by no means could you store an actual container of ice cream.

“The list” has also proved challenging when it comes to boat cooking. If you’re at all boaty, you know that when a boat is listing, it means it’s basically leaning one way or the other. The list is great in some cooking instances i.e. when you’re frying an egg and it all goes to one side of the pan and you don’t have to worry about it spreading out all over the place. But other scenarios are more difficult. Rice, for example. Up until I begrudgingly purchased a rice cooker out of pure frustration a few weeks ago, rice was my worst enemy. Imagine the rice sitting in the pot and half of it is out of the water. It was impossible to get evenly and fully cooked rice.

Another big issue- the mini fridge. Both my handsome boatmate and I are avid sauce lovers. In a normal fridge, all the door space is for sauces, but our tiny dorm room style fridge has gotten to a point where it is mostly just a place to store our sauces. Left-overs? No room, too many sauces. Imagine going grocery shopping and returning home to find that there is no where to put your perishables because your sauce collection has maxed out fridge space. Welcome to my life.

Sauce central


I would say the two best feelings in the world are 1.) eating and 2.) overcoming a challenge. Dinnertime on the boat just so happens to be both of those feelings, but positivity aside, the kitchen situation still sucks. It doesn’t just suck when you’re trying to cook but also when you’re trying to clean up from cooking. As mentioned earlier, we don’t have hot water on the boat. This means that doing the dishes is a big ordeal. It involves boiling the water then pouring it into the sink…all this SOUNDS surprisingly simple but surprisingly isn’t. Pouring boiling water into the sink obviously requires some cooling time. You’d be surprised how often it happens that you take the time to boil water and are literally just waiting around for the water to boil then it finally boils and you pour it in the sink then totally forget it’s there.  Eventually, after you are completely wrapped up in watching “How I Met Your Mother”, you suddenly remember the boiling water you waited on forever. And now it’s super cold. OOPS.

Boat cooking really has challenged me in ways nothing else has challenged me before. I really grown to love cooking and figuring out new ways to prepare it is a delicious, delicious thrill. At the same time, it sucks.

Delicious and frustrating. Such is life, I suppose.

So friends, I could choose to just say “Until next time, float on” and end this post now but I think it’s about time I share this video. It kind of has to do with this post because it is literally a video of me boat cooking, but it mostly just has to do with me being a big, fat loser. For Christmas, I got a GoPro. Rob and I were also gifted this amazing product called the “Sushezi” as in, sushi-easy. One lonely day on the boat, I decided to practice using my GoPro, practice using the Sushezi, and practice using iMovie to make videos. It wasn’t intended to be used for anything really, but after showing it to those closest to me, I was told that this can’t be kept a secret.

Without further adieu, enjoy “The Sushi Movie.”

After that, I guess there are no other words other than, until next time, float on.

intro to life afloat

So I don’t know what to write for my first post as a blogger- I don’t know if people I know will be reading this, if people I don’t know will be reading this, or if anyone at all will be reading this. But here goes! My name is Maria, and I live on a boat in Alaska with my wonderful boyfriend Rob. That’s right, we’re on a boat. Hey, I think I’ve heard a song about that…

If you’re on the shore, then you’re sho’ not me.

Our living situation is admittedly unusual and I think it could be interesting to share some of our experiences along with those of other individuals/families who live on boats as well. This blog is not for me to be pretentious and brag about how great it is to live on a boat. Not at all. In fact, let me give you an idea of what our home looks like.

not our boat

That’s not it.

The boat we share together is a lovely and humble 31 foot cabin cruiser. If you are like me and have no idea what to picture when I say “31 foot cabin cruiser,” I’ll give you some specifics: our living space on the boat is about 9.5’x12.5′. That’s a little less than 120 square feet. For two people. Think smaller than your college dorm. Probably smaller than your kitchen. Maybe even smaller than your bathroom. For two people. It’s not a houseboat, except in the sense that we live on it and it’s a boat. And it’s not a yacht. He will probably read this and be offended, but it’s definitely not a yacht.

There it is!

My sister in Indiana suggested I start a blog a few months ago as a way to keep in touch with my family in Indiana when I moved to Ketchikan, Alaska. Well, sister, here it is! Living in Alaska is an adventure in itself, and living on a boat here is a lifestyle that (I think) is worth sharing. It has it’s advantages and disadvantages (more on that later), and I figured there might be a few people out there who would be interested in reading about it, especially if you are like me and obsessed with all things HGTV. I’ve always loved writing and am excited to share this adventure with friends and family, near and far.

Until next time, float on friends