On the 10th October we arrived in Valencia, and for me it was my first sighting of North Star. Before now I had seen a few pictures and been told about her, but nothing is quite the same as in real life. I was impressed, she was pretty; the blue hull gave her an edge next to the other boats on the pontoon and she was bigger than I was expecting. Down below I saw plenty of potential for making it a pleasant space to live in. There was a decent sized area where we could socialise, cook and sleep. Potential being the key, there was only very little snippets of the seats, cupboards and kitchen that I could actually see…
The first serious task we had to get done was a major clear out and sanitise of the areas we were to live in. I attacked the kitchen, having to almost get in the fridge to ensure a full clean out. Sam saw to the cupboards in the main living space sorting through the old clothing, life jackets and a load of unidentifiable items. Eventually there was sufficient space for us to unload our clothing into our new ‘wardrobes’, certainly a little different to what we were used too and the dawning reality that we have very limited clothing to live in over the next year.
Top of our priority list was to ensure we had good food and comfortable bedding – the staple to having happy people on the boat. On board we have a gas stove with 2 hobs, there is also a gas oven, however the ability of it is fairly limited. We needed to alter our cooking methods to a considerably smaller kitchen than either of us were used too, yet still ensuring the meals were edible… out came the spice box! A few boat favourites so far are chicken fajitas and spaghetti bolognese, nothing out of the ordinary but some hearty, hot food for hungry sailors. Warm and comfortable bedding was equally as important as the food. The space and reality of sleeping on a boat is quite different to that of a bed. Simple things like having a flat bed to sleep on isn’t something you’re going to find on a boat, the bed is slightly slanted (and we aren’t even sailing yet).
Shopping has become a large weekly event for Sam and I. We have to think carefully about what we can store in our limited fridge space and what food will keep us both happy. However thats not the most complicated part, the size of the Carrefour (the Spanish equivalent of Sainsbury’s or Tesco) is obscene. We could spend hours in there attempting to find one can of tomatoes, and thats no exaggeration. We are becoming better at navigating the Carrefour, and timing our weekly visits to try to do it faster than the week before gives it some excitement.
Next we turned our attention to other sections of the boat – the ‘library’, the chart table and the storage cupboards above the seats. Another metric tonne of rubbish was uncovered, and subsequently binned. There’s something oddly satisfying about throwing away old rubbish and seeing the spaces left behind which we can utilise. Now that we have a clear and organised living space I plan to brighten it up with some colour and decorations to make it as homely as possible.
Having lived aboard North Star for the past three weeks Sam and I are starting to feel comfortable, even referring to returning to the boat as ‘going home’. It has quickly become natural living and cooking in our new environment. Neither of us have particularly thought about what we have left behind (in terms of a bedroom and a kitchen) of course family and friends are missed, but we’re prepared for the adventure we set out to embark on.
Written by Georgie