Shopping Live-Aboard Style

Saturday, 9 June 2001: The Grocery Trip

Although it's not really that much of an adventure (as compared with, say, a 3000 mile motorcycle trip), I imagine not too many people make their grocery runs via water in a dinghy. For me, it really is more convenient to do as such, especially on the weekends I have the motorcycle.

On the left, I'm leaving the marina under my own power. That is to say, I was rowing, with the motor in the picture tilted most of the way out of the water. This lasted just about exactly as long as it took me to get outside the relative shelter of the jetty on the south side of the marina. At that point, the wind and small waves became enough of a difficulty on a pleasant Saturday morning that I decided to be lazy. I fired up the motor and turned what might have been a 45 minute trip in to a 10 minute trip.

On the right, I'm entering the gas dock and boat launching area. This part of such a trip always reminds me of the small seaside community depicted in the movie 'Popeye' with Robin Williams. There are always plenty of people about and small craft coming and going.

Here, I'm on my way back from the store, under power, with about six bags of groceries and a 2.5 gallon container of fresh water.

The pictures above are of what are known as 'Anchor-Outs'. These are houses, sometimes built out of boats and sometimes out of barges, which are anchored off the land, just outside of the channel. It's a very inexpensive way to live if you don't mind generating your own electricity and transporting your own water.

This is the 'La Paloma', a riverboat built in 1915 or so, and powered by a 200 cubic inch single-cyninder engine which idles at around 34 rpm. She belongs to a very good friend of mine, Richard, who is well-known in this community for his friendliness and eccentricity. Above the exhaust pipe, you can see some calliope whistles Richard installed for fun. On the foredeck is Richard's new(er) dinghy (his 19th boat). I traded him that dinghy for an old Macintosh laptop, after someone stole his last dinghy.

These are some of the Sausalito house boats of which people speak so highly. They're very neat looking from a distance, but life aboard these floating homes isn't everything it's cracked up to be. When the tide goes out, these houses are left sitting on the bay mud, which doesn't smell all too good. Also, the houses are generally priced from $300K to $500K, and then you have to pay about $700 to $900 per month as the slip fee for the next 25 years. Eccentric, yes. A good investment ... no.