We’ve been in Jolly Harbour marina for over a week now, completing odd jobs and waiting for Nick’s parents to arrive. After spending the last month at anchor, it’s given us ample opportunity to compare the two and I’ve come to the conclusion that I definitely have a love/hate relationship with marina life.
Why I love being in a marina:
- Electricity! Sweet, unlimited electricity, oh how I love you. This means as many episodes of True Blood per night as we like, I can use the bread machine every day if I want to, and we don’t have to run the engine whenever it becomes cloudy or there’s a drop in wind. Don’t get me wrong, I love that when we’re at anchor, we mainly live off renewable energy, but I also love being able to charge the laptop or have a movie marathon whenever I feel like it.
- Hot water! Oh yes, no matter how fully charged our batteries are at anchor, hot water only comes from one place: out of the kettle. At least it keeps our showers quick…
- Daily showers! No longer do I have to clean myself with scented wipes in an effort to conserve water! Okay, we have a watermaker, but it only produces 15 litres per hour, which really isn’t very much, and because it uses so much power we usually need to run the engine at the same time. No longer a problem in a marina! Just fill those water tanks right up from the tap!
- Internet. This is a double edged sword. It’s awesome to have relatively fast marina internet on board and we finally got around to booking all those flights we’ve been putting off because the internet’s always too slow to reliably load a page. But it also means that we end up positively binging on internet and hours can go by with us glued to our tablets. Photos and videos are actually loading on Instagram now! I can click a link on Facebook and not have to worry about spending 5 minutes of my time watching the page load only to find out that the article is rubbish and boring. It’s a heady sensation, having access to fast internet. And not always a good thing…
- A calm, still boat. Oh, it’s so nice to be able to walk down the companionway without having to suddenly grab the handrails because a ferry has just gone past making the boat tip and lurch, or spend a night swaying from side to side in bed because of annoying swell. I can even do yoga on board without constantly falling over! What luxury!
It’s not all perfect, though.
Why I hate living in a marina:
- The noise. Okay, sometimes anchorages are noisy too, but normally we’re far enough away from the action that a couple of earplugs successfully drowns out any music and we can still get a good night’s sleep. Here, the marina bars put on bands several times a week and there’s just no escaping the noise no matter how hard you squish those earplugs in. At least they stop playing at 11pm, but even that’s 2 hours past my usual bed time (hey, we do get up at 6am most mornings!).
- Hull slap. Yes, the marina is generally calmer than being at anchor- but when those high winds set in from a weird direction, suddenly the surface of the water is jumping around all over the place, creating a maddening slap against the hull. I was actually driven to the sofa in the saloon one night, where I slept until morning (the forecabin was full of sails and laundry, which I just didn’t have the energy to clean out at 2am).
- Lack of sea breeze. Actually, we’ve not been to bad the last week, although the first few nights here were still and muggy. Now the breeze is up, it comes straight into the cockpit and down the companionway into the boat. However, you never get as much breeze as you do at anchor, and keeping the boat cool (ish) can be a challenge.
- No personal space. Gone are the days where Nick can run around in the cockpit in naught but a sarong. He tried it the other day and apparently got some weird looks. I can’t even sit in the cockpit in my pyjamas anymore: too many people walking past. Our washboard is never in place when we’re on board, so any random passer-by can see straight into our saloon. Even going to the loo at night time, when the lights are on but the blinds are up, you’re taking a bit of a risk that your neighbours aren’t looking out of their windows just at the same time you’re baring your tush.
- No view. When we’re at anchor, I spend all day in the cockpit. Sometimes we have a view of a beach. Sometimes it’s mountains, or the ocean, or a township. Sometimes it’s all of the above. I love the peace and serenity that comes with getting up and enjoying a morning coffee with the sunrise as a beautiful anchorage slowly comes to life. In a marina, your only view is the cockpit of the boat opposite.
That all being said, we like Jolly Harbour very much. It’s not quite as polished as Rodney Bay in St Lucia, and it’s not as characterful as English and Falmouth Harbours on the south coast of Antigua. But we’ve decided that it’s the perfect place to leave the boat for hurricane season, and as a result we’re all booked in to be hauled out the first week of June. Our original plan was to continue north up to the east coast of the USA, but we’ve realised that we really don’t want to rush and miss out on half the places along the way. What’s the point? We’re not in a rush!