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Recently, my husband and I went to San Diego for a short business trip. He was there for a conference and I tagged along because San Diego is always a great place to visit and I had a free airline ticket. We were staying across from the convention center in the Gaslamp Quarter. I camped out in our hotel room most of the time working on my book.

When it was time for a break or something to eat I would venture out for a walk. On the back side of the convention center is the Marina District with a view of Coronado Island and the surrounding waterways. A slight breeze, eighty degree weather and boats on the water combined together for the perfect formula to set me into a meditative trance state. It was deliciously relaxing watching all the marina activity. My focus turned to the yachts that were just below my perch from the upper outdoor deck of the convention center. Galileo, Oberon and two others were spectacular sea faring crafts busy with maintenance activity. They sparked my interest enough to drag my husband back later that day to show him.

The Galileo was beautiful, sleek and navy blue. The crew was working to stow their “toys” below deck. They were wiping down all the equipment and then brought a crane up from below to help lift and maneuver the smaller crafts into position for storage. Other crew members were polishing the railing on the aft deck. The ship was flying the flag of Great Britain but all three seemed to be registered in the Cayman Islands.

When I looked up the Galileo online I discovered that according to the website SuperYachtTimes.com……the Picchiotti Galileo G from the Vitruvius series has been designed and built according to Ice Class classification rules for navigation along the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans through Canada’s Arctic Archipelago….Now there is something I had never considered. A private vessel purchased and used to go through the Northwest Passage.

I am a land dweller and come from generations of farmers living in the valley flat lands. I love to look at bodies of water (rivers, lakes and oceans) and enjoy being on the water, but to sail around the world or live on a boat (not at dock in a Marina, but on the sea) is a very different concept to me. Okay there is also the piece about affording this type of vessel that I was trying to wrap my brain around as well. This was all very interesting to me and I was intrigued. Sure, lots of folks have boats they take out for a day, a weekend or short vacation and skip around coastal communities but this is very different from that.

Two yachts down from the Galileo G was the Oberon. This ship looked to me like it was a science oriented craft. It was also beautiful but utilitarian in feel. You could tell this was a work boat. Upon looking the Oberon up online I found this from CharterWorld.com… Oberon is a 50-metre vessel that was built to provide round-the-clock service and support for super yachts and is capable of traveling comfortably at high speeds in almost any sea state, which is possible due to the patented design of her Axe Bow.

Yes, you read that right, this is the support vessel for other big yachts! It carries the food, fuel, toys, other boats and extra crew. My understanding is it can quickly (up to 28 knots) go into port from anywhere and get restocked in any type of waters and hurry on back to the main yacht. Or perhaps if there are repairs that need to be made they are there to support those repairs. It also houses the additional crew members so they can rotate through shifts.

Again, as a land dweller this is not something I had considered. If you are out living on the ocean and traveling around the world you do need additional shifts of crew and tons of supplies. How cool to have your own mini fleet! This vessel is your support and safety net. So not only do you have to be able to afford the first vessel but also the second one and maintenance on them both. I am impressed.

I must admit there is a part of this lifestyle that appeals to me. Not so much being out in the middle of sea during a storm, but seeing the world and all the beautiful coastlines from a ship’s deck, that appeals. Having access to places and scenery that few get to see would be amazing. This type of life takes a special calling, adventurous spirit and skill. I appreciate that there are those that can afford it and those willing to do the work.

I have always loved being exposed to new and different ways of living in the world. This lifestyle and the industry surrounding it are one I had never thought too much about. Seeing these ships on the water, all the activity in the bay and marina and then looking up specifics online gave me a glimpse of a life outside my normal realm.

Our world is amazing, filled with different economies, different peoples with different drives and lifestyles. The boat, sailboat, yacht and super yacht communities provide an industry of ship building, products, jobs, dock locations, storage, transportation and so much more. Because it is out of my sphere I recognize I see it through romantic eyes and have a sense of wonder, awe and appreciation around it. I imagine it can be a difficult life just like any other and as with anything, I know there are trade offs to being on the water. Though, for those that are not land dwellers, it is their home. They accept those trade offs and relish their floating vessels and the bodies of water they float on.

It would be my guess that many visiting the San Diego Marina district experience that same sense of awe. Perhaps like me, they leave with a piqued interest and perhaps a secret dream to be aboard one of these great vessels sailing the seas and exploring exotic locales. Or maybe the lure is just that it is such a different lifestyle than our own and a perception of wealth and the ever elusive easeful life. You know, the grass is always greener and the ocean bluer… In any case, I am grateful for these people, their yachts and the possibility of living a different life and the fact that someone is actually doing it! Bravo!

Lisa Joiner

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