Welcome to My Hood

It has been straight up gross here lately- rainy, windy, chilly. This weather is pretty much the norm for Ketchikan though so a few weeks ago I took the rare opportunity to snap a picture of the harbor on a beautiful, sunny day. So there it is! The neighborhood in all of its sunny, boaty glory. Tip: if you click on the picture it gets bigger!

Bar Habor

Bar Harbor, Ketchikan, Alaska

So what do you think- won’t you be my neighbor?

Mr. Rogers

How can I write a post with the word “neighborhood” in it without including this guy? Correct answer: I can’t.

 

Until next time, float on friends

The Fishbowl We Call Home

I have never lived in a fishbowl, but I imagine that living on a boat is similar, only without the tiny colored pebbles on the bottom. You know the ones.

Living in a fishbowl might be great if you are a fish and you never have to change clothes, sleep (do fish sleep?), or really do anything that you might not want others to see you doing. That being said, I’m not a fish. I change clothes, I sleep, and I do things that I might not want others to see me doing.

Visibility is important on a boat, I get it. When you are out on the high seas and there is a rock or, say, an iceberg, you want to be able to see it. More important than sinking hazards, there might be a whale nearby and you definitely want to be able to see that.

Don't mind that exposed reef over there. Look at meeee! I'm jumping!

Don’t mind that jagged looking, exposed reef over there. Look at meeee! I’m jumping!

There are many reasons why it’s important to be able to see out of your vessel. That being said, when you are safe in the harbor and you are going about your normal, everyday tasks, it’s a different story. If you are able to see out of your vessel, that means people can see into your vessel.

Are you watching me do the dishes?

Are you watching me do the dishes?

Lately in Ketchikan, we’ve had a string of unusually gorgeous days. When it’s sunny here, you are practically obligated to go for a walk because you never know when your skin will feel the sun again.  It’s a rainforest so we’ll take any Vitamin D we can get. It just so happens that a harbor is a great place for people to walk their dog or walk their children. After all, you think,  “It’s scenic, it’s nice to go see all the boats, it’s nice to- wait a minute, is that a woman picking her nose in there? Let’s turn around, kids.” Yes, it was. That was me, making the mistake of thinking I have privacy.

Look, it's a Hoosier on a boat. Fascinating.

Look, it’s a Hoosier on a boat. Fascinating.

Bigger boats have a lot more privacy than our humble cabin cruiser and many people who live on boats sleep in what you would call the “berth,” which is what a bed on a boat is typically referred to. The berth is more private and would be a good space to do things you don’t want passersby seeing i.e. changing clothes. We choose to use the berth for unseen storage instead, however, meaning that our entire living space is open for the whole wide world of Ketchikan to see. Up until a few days ago, the front door (OK, it’s technically the back door because it’s at the back of the boat) was covered with a protective coating like the kind that comes on a piece of glass or plexiglass when you first get it. Though my handsome boatmate is very handy and installed a brand new beautiful sliding door, he is not exactly the decorating type. I think he would have been content leaving the protective coating on. But not me. Decorating is in my blood. It always has been. I also wanted the option of being able to see out the front door if it was, for example, a nice day and I had already picked my nose in private. This is why I took it upon myself to find a solution.

One of the great things about living on a boat is that it’s totally ok to indulge in the nautical trend because, hello! It’s not a trend when it’s a real life boat we’re talking about! That print of an anchor? I can totally buy that because I live on a boat. Oh, pillowcases with anchors on them? I live on a boat, they’ll never go out of style! When I found this fabric shower curtain on Urban Outfitters, I knew it was the one. It’s a boat- OF COURSE it needs a compass. Urban Outfitters also ships free to Alaska which is rare. I’m always looking for websites that will ship free here and have only found a few. All the more reason to get it.

In order to give it a more nautical look, instead of a curtain rod, I used boat cleats and a piece of rope, both purchased from a marine supply store here for under 10 bucks. I LOVE how it turned out. It’s simple but makes such a big statement in this small space. Plus now I have the option to tie it back and enjoy the sun on the back deck or close it and enjoy the privacy. Perfect.

IMG_2685For the tieback of the curtain, I first tied a monkey’s fist knot to continue the nautical feel (it’s a boat, remember?) Then I used another cleat and put a simple overhand knot in the other end of the rope. Voila! Perfect curtain tieback!

IMG_2668

IMG_2687

Ta da! And I wasn't kidding about the anchor stuff either.

Ta da! And I wasn’t kidding about the anchor stuff either.

What do you think? I’m a huge fan. Stay tuned for more info and pictures of the fishbowl I call home. Just to give you some perspective, I pretty much had to back into a corner to get this shot.

Until next time, float on friends

Springtime, sunshine, snorkeling, & scallops. Seriously.

So I went snorkeling last weekend. “Oh, you must have gone to a tropical destination where people snorkel,” you might be thinking. But you’d be wrong. I snorkeled in Alaska. In March.

You know, I never really thought I would some day move to Alaska, but then I did. Once I moved to Alaska, I never thought I would get a summer job guiding snorkeling tours. Then I did. Once I moved to Alaska and got a summer job guiding snorkeling tours, I never thought I would get into the water in Alaska once the summer was over. Then March 23, 2014 happened, and I did.

A little background for you here- Once upon a time last summer, fate brought me to the doorstep of Snorkel Alaska searching for a job. The summer cruise ship season had a little over two months left when I completed the drive from Indiana to Ketchikan in late July of 2013. I wanted to find a full time guiding job, but at that point in the season, I thought my chances were slim. Then my handsome boatmate, Rob (boatmate is like roommate but I just put boat instead of room…see what I did there?) mentioned that he knew the guy who owned Snorkel Alaska and that he was looking for another guide. Snorkeling in Alaska? “That sounds weird” I thought. I had gone swimming in Alaska before, but by swimming I mean I jumped in the water then swam to the dock really fast to get out. I’m a certified diver but my diving experience was limited to the warm Caribbean. Doing it in Alaska, though? Again, sounds weird. But it did sound pretty cool and definitely adventurous and I like cool and adventurous so I decided to give it a go! I spent nearly everyday of the next two months in the water and as it turns out, it WAS cool and adventurous. In fact, I liked it so much that I plan on doing it all over again this summer!

Back to the story…Fred, the guy who owns Snorkel Alaska, invited Rob and I to go out snorkeling for scallops last weekend. The stars must have aligned or something because Rob actually had the day off AND it was gorgeous outside so we said, “Heck yeah!” We ventured out in Fred’s boat to our chosen site and hopped in. Both the air temperature and water temperature were in the lower 40s. On a side note- in my time here, I’ve gathered that most things people do for fun in Alaska involve harvesting food, even if it means going to crazy lengths (i.e. getting into 40 degree water) to do so. All in all, we ended up with 11 scallops thanks to Fred and Rob. Admittedly, I didn’t find any but it was an awesome day nonetheless and totally worth it just to be out in the sunshine!

Polar vortex? Not in Alaska!

Polar vortex? Not in Alaska!

Though I didn’t actually find any of the scallops myself, I DID help to eat them. Once Rob and I got home, we decided on the simplicity of sautéing them in butter and lemon juice then topped them with a dash of wasabi. And they were DELICIOUS. Rob said it was the best thing he’d eaten in a long time which is saying a lot. Or it could just be saying that he hates my cooking since that is mostly what he had previously eaten for a long time. Hmm…

If you’ve never seen a scallop, here’s what a cooler full of them looks like.

Catch of the day!

Catch of the day!

Here’s what an artsy picture of a scallop looks like.

scallop

Once your pry them open and take out most of the orange goop, you’re left with the edible part!

Spoiler alert! It's a scallop.

Out of the shell and ready to be cooked!

Out of the shell and ready to be cooked!

Thanks to Fred for the awesome day! Can’t wait to do it again!

Stay tuned for GoPro footage of last weekend and future dives. I’m trying to reteach myself how to use iMovie. This could be a while.

Until next time, float on friends

 

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