Learning to celebrate the small things – one foot at a time

galley of boat
The galley

We moved aboard Tamaha full time in January 2014 with the first priority to get rid of years of neglect and make her hull and decks water tight. She was in a state of disrepair and not had a refit for a couple of decades.

Below decks we only had time to give her a thorough clean and a fresh coat of paint before moving aboard. We did not have time to check and flush the plumbing system or change the ancient water tanks. Fortunately we had shore power so replacing the outdated 12 volt system could wait.

While Kevin battled the elements to sand off years of flaking paint and multiple layers of cracking varnish, I attempted to made a little home from our basic facilities below deck. All water had to be brought on board in containers and the only flushing toilet was on the other side of they boat yard. We had no washing machine or any other modern conveniences and the galley space was very, very tiny and ill equipped.

Kevin working one foot at a time

We quickly realised the mammoth life altering task we had taken on. The only way to get things done and not panic, or fall into despair, was to take one day at a time and celebrate each tiny victory. The layers were so thick and old and on many days Kevin only managed to scrape one foot of paint from the gorgeous original teak. Slow, slow progress in the dark of winter, but each day, we took the time to appreciate that foot more of Tamaha’s emerging beauty. Every meal prepared in the tiny galley was treated like a feast and feeling warm and cosy on bleak winter nights was acknowledged and appreciated. Our dreams and vision were discussed as facts and if one of us got downhearted the other reminded them of what it would be like on a warm sunny day in Southern France.

Sutton Wharf
Appreciating the small things

Our chores soon became routine and part of normal life. It was like being transported back to a less hurried and gentler time. We knew exactly how much water we needed on a daily basis and our food buying choices turned more towards fresh produce due to storage facilities and the need to keep rubbish down to a minimum. We learned the personal value of our clothes and material possessions – if we wanted something new, something old had to go. A hot shower was savoured, the water appreciated for flowing from a tap to create the most glorious, invigorating experience – just for me.

The liveaboard life has indeed been a life changing experience and continues to be so.  I now have a greater appreciation of almost everything in my life and I have learned to celebrate the small things – one foot at a time. 


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