Being at anchor isn’t just swim, read and relax. Living on a boat is akin to running a town. We are the power company, water department, garbage & waste disposal, health department and all-things-maintenance. To keep it all in order, every day we track our usage of food, power, water and how much waste we are producing. Not enough fresh water? Too much garbage? Getting low on wine…😊? These are things that mean either a trip to shore via dinghy or a trip with Wild Horses to a service dock. Sounds easy? The tiny wrinkle that makes this challenging is that not every anchorage has access to the facilities you need. There isn’t a store around every corner. Garbage cans for household waste are somewhat rare (finding recycling bins is the biggest problem!). Not every marina has water and pump out facilities available. Oh, yeah, and the weather decides first where we anchor Wild Horses. An island may have garbage disposal but if it leaves us exposed to the strong southwest winds forecasted for the day, we can’t anchor there. You guessed it – we have to hang onto that garbage at least one more day.
Planning is critical.
Every day, usually several times a day actually, we take stock of where we are with stuff we need, and stuff we need to get rid of. So, what does our “critical stuff” dashboard consist of?
The Boss of it all
Weather – we watch it A LOT! The weather is our boss when we are on the water. We have several weather sources we go to regularly (including our own “just look at the sky” forecasts). Weather checks are done first thing in the morning, mid way through the day, last thing at night…and, yes, several times in between that.
Our solar array atop our bimini is 340 watts, more than enough to not only make up our daily consumption of amp hours but also to top up our cell phones, laptop, and to run our vacuum and coffee grinder (we’re not animals!). But, a few days of rain is a different story. When this happens, which isn’t often, we forgo TV for cards, open the fridge conservatively and use our mobile battery charges for our phones and laptop.
Diesel / Gas – Diesel for Wild Horses and gas for the dinghy. We have one 212 litre diesel tank, which is plenty for a sailboat and lasts us a looooooong time (I mean, sailing is our gig). The dinghy gets lots of use so we are always checking the gas levels. We carry one extra jerry can of diesel, and two of gas.
Fresh Water Tanks – We have a 624 litre fresh water storage capacity on Wild Horses which lasts about three weeks. This is really good for a boat and our fresh water levels are not usually a cause for concern.
Food – We normally provision for two weeks at a time. Wild Horses has a front-loading fridge (like a land fridge) and a top-loading freezer (opens like a treasure box 😉). All of this equals 7.7 cubic feet. Two weeks of food. Yes, it is sometimes a puzzle to get it all to fit. Mike knows to keep his distance until I declare that all the food is stored…
Stuff that needs to be “down” in volume
Waste. All things waste (Garbage, recycling, personal, dog personal). Except for personal waste, which goes in our holding tanks, we get rid of what we can, when we can. When those holding tanks say “full”, we head to a service dock to pump them out. When we do have to head to a service dock, it is usually only a fifteen minute detour and then we are back out on the water.
At the end of the day
All this checking sounds like a lot but keeping a daily eye on our dashboard and having great systems to keep it all in check, allows us to have more highs than lows at anchor!
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.