We thought long and hard before we picked the name for our blog. We wanted to convey something more than just sailing and living on a boat. Life at Six Knots is about a lifestyle, about choosing to follow our hearts and not what society or our families and friends think we should be doing. It’s about living our best life on our terms and focusing on the things we find important.
It’s about having adventures. Sailing. Hiking. Cooking. Exploring. Trying new things. Meeting new people. To sum it up: its about living life, not just admiring it from afar.
Check out the video below to see what Life at Six Knots really means to us.
*This post includes affiliate links. That means if you click a link and purchase the item, we get a little bit of commission, which we appreciate the heck out of, btw!
Port Ludlow to Mackaye Harbor
Our first experience anchoring was…fun. Aside from some quirkiness from the windlass, we did pretty good! Port Ludlow is a muddy bottom (like most of the Puget Sound area), so it was a good place to learn. We were exhausted by the time we got settled down after taking Katie to shore to do her businesses, but we managed to spend a few minutes enjoying a beautiful sunset.
We faced our first “living on the hook” challenge: making coffee with no shore power. Usually we use an electric kettle to get the water temperature exactly right, an important element of the brewing process when you use a Chemex coffee maker. Without power, we had to heat the water in a pan and then pour it into the kettle (we use a gooseneck kettle for even pouring). A stovetop kettle is definitely on our wish list for future cruising adventures, but for now, this worked quite nicely for us.
Before we got to the actual cruising portion of this adventure, we had one stop to make: my dad’s family’s annual reunion in Sequim.
I have such fond memories of attending the reunion when I was a kid. We made a road trip out of it several times, and those trips are some of my best memories of childhood. We would stop and camp along the way, sleeping in this green tent, all four of us (my parents and my brother, Matt. Dan was there for one trip, I believe), and cooking on a camp stove. The Pacific Northwest is known for its berries, and I remember picking strawberries one year and my mom making a strawberry pie inside the tent because it was pouring rain outside.
This was the first time in over 20 years that I made it to the reunion. Since I was a kid the last time I went, I didn’t remember a whole lot of people, so it was fun to re-meet so much of my dad’s side of the family. Jim and I both really enjoyed chatting with everyone, getting a tour of the dairy farm run for three generations by the Smith family, and having my fingers sucked on by baby cows. There was so much good food and good conversation that all around warmed my soul.
That night was a full moon (or almost full), and it was red in all the smoke from the fires. We sat outside, enjoying a nightcap and listening to the music coming from the wedding at the yacht club. It was a perfect way to end a wonderful day.
From Sequim, we made our way across the Straight of Juan de Fuca and into the San Juans. Our first stop was Mackaye Harbor on the south side of Lopez Island. We picked blackberries and checked out a cute little general store and enjoyed a beautiful walk on this green and lush island. Everyone who passed us waved from their cars, and we just loved how friendly and welcoming people were.
Next week we start really exploring the San Juan Islands. Stay tuned as we anchor at Friday Harbor, Blind Bay and more!
We’ve spent the last two weeks in California in our old surroundings, visiting with our family and friends. And it has been great. And hard. And trying. And fun. And it has given us a chance to reflect on all of the changes we’ve made in our lives in the past six months.
It’s crazy to think it’s been that long. Six months. Half of a year. And three days. Since we became official liveaboards. Of course, all of the changing came about a bit longer ago than that. Gosh, we’re rounding the ten month mark on that. How has it already been ten months?! But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re talking about the six month mark.
Six months ago. We’d been “sneak aboards” on Willow for just about a month before we got the call from the port to let us know they had a liveaboard spot available. We were out on the boat in Liberty Bay with Jim’s parents who had come to visit us. They knew right away what the call was when my face lit up with a smile I could hardly contain. It was the moment we’d been waiting for and we began celebrating immediately!
I’d be lying if I said we hadn’t been stressing about it. In Washington, you’re allowed to “live” on your boat for 90 days out of the year, and 30 days out of every 45 (I think….we were trying to ignore that one and focusing more on the 90 days). We’d been told not to worry about it, that the port wouldn’t kick us out if it went beyond that. But we are rule followers, so we were concerned about what we’d do and what our options were.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to worry for long, and here we are, six months as legal liveaboards.
I didn’t think much about it until we returned to California. We settled nicely into life on the boat. It feels natural to us, like where we are supposed to be. But now we are in California, cleaning out the rest of our storage unit, selling more stuff, and shooting a wedding. We’ve been living in a regular old house, showering without having to feed a machine quarters or worrying about running out of hot water (despite the port’s fancy new tankless water heater), watching cable television, and preparing meals in a full-sized kitchen.
But with access to all of these modern luxuries (things most people take completely for granted, by the way), we actually find ourselves missing the boat.
I love our tiny kitchen, our fridge with just enough room for food we’ll eat within the week. Even our tiny three (though you can only use two at a time)-burner stove and tiny oven. It’s the perfect size for just the two of us. Even for four of us if we have friends over.
We’ve realized that we don’t need the king-sized bed we used to sleep on.
We quite enjoy the smallness of our space. We use all of it, and we don’t need any more.
We miss how so much of our lives occurs outside. Those walks up to the bathrooms to take a shower are inconvenient, but we love that they take us outdoors, give us a little exercise and fresh air.
We love waking up every morning already on the water. Sunrise at the marina is so peaceful and quiet and lovely. Really, it’s wonderful all day, but sunrise is particularly special.
We miss our tiny town, where we can walk almost anywhere we need to go, where we leave our boat and almost inevitably run into someone we know. We miss the sense that we belong to the community and that it belongs to us.
Ten months ago, before we began this journey, we never would have guessed that we would be living on a sailboat in the Pacific Northwest. We wouldn’t have imagined we’d be surrounded by so many amazing people or that our lives would feel so full.
And six months ago, when we were granted liveaboard status in Poulsbo, we couldn’t have imagined that it would be exactly where we belong.
This month we are hanging out in California. With work commitments and a storage unit full of stuff we need to either get rid of or move to Washington, the way was paved for us to spend a significant chunk of the month.
Since we needed to bring back a bunch of stuff, we opted to drive down. Part one of our journey includes our road trip down as well as our stay in South Lake Tahoe with Granny Judy.
Sadly, we had to leave Katie with our friends, but don’t feel too sorry for her. She enjoys being an honorary member of their family!
A few weeks ago, we got a bit of cool news: my youngest brother, Dan, and his girlfriend, Erika, had taken jobs at a dude ranch in Montana for the summer. They were packing up and leaving almost immediately, and were we available for a short visit on their way up? Well, of course the answer as an ecstatic and high volumed YES!
They drove up, stopping to visit a few friends on the way and arrived in Poulsbo on Dan’s birthday, just in time to celebrate with a little dinner and a beer at Tizleys. The next day we spent doing the tourist thing in Seattle (since Dan had never been outside of SeaTac Airport), and they were on their way the morning after.
It was a short visit, but I’ll take any time I can get with my youngest brother!