Springtime in Port Townsend…or I think we’re land lubbers again

So, let me catch you up. We docked in the Port Hudson marina, in early October, after nearly 5 months exploring Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. We were planning to stay for the winter, maybe get out sailing on good days, but mostly tuck in and rest a bit. As sailing/liveaboard newbies, (and newbies to PNW weather!) the last year had been challenging and we were tired….and damp.

Then fall storms and winter weather set in. Did we get out and sail on good days? Nope.

We have managed a few boat projects on the good days — stripping varnish, general maintenance — but mostly we’ve been growing a life in Port Townsend…and a lot of barnacles. But more on that later.

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We discovered one issue to some kind of surf and turf arrangement right away…housing. Port Townsend is experiencing that same insidious thing that many places are in the US …Air B&B! Many of the cute back houses, granny flats, and basement apartments that used to be rented out to young couples and little families are now being rented by the day to out-of-towners and business travelers, leaving a dearth of affordable housing for so many. It’s a real problem that the city is grappling with and attempting to actually do something about.

So, we knew we needed to continue to live aboard thru the winter and see what came of our housing search. We quickly found the Port Townsend EcoVillage — a co-housing community that strives to live in community, sharing lands, garden, meals, and life together.

We visited. We loved it. The “villagers” — for lack of a less-bizarre-to-modern-American-ear term — were open, welcoming, present, and interested in making real, tangible adjustments to work as a community and make a smaller impact on the environment.

They were in the process of building a duplex to house two new families, and they had prepared 3 tiny house spots for future (yet unnamed) tiny housers. We decided to apply for the duplex, feeling that finding/building a tiny house was out of our reach.

Long story short, there were many applications for the duplex and we decided to broaden our potential housing to the tiny house spots as well. The EcoVillage works on consensus, which means nothing happens unless each and every member of the group can get behind a proposed project. We’ve watched this process in action and it’s stunning how well it works. They’ve had many years of practice and they’re good at it.

But, it also means that things often move at a glacial pace. We applied in February, attended many meetings and waited and waited. All the while weighing our other local options — from long-term liveaboard/cruising to building a yurt in the woods.

So, fast-forward a few months, in early April we attended the EcoVillage retreat — a time of bonding and learning as a village — as members and future tiny house builders!

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The tiny house lot is just beyond the deer fencing, behind Rowan. Yes, there are a lot of deer in Port Townsend.

Having lived in roughly 150 sq ft (and none of it “square”) for the past 2 years, we are ready for some more space. We are planning a 400 sq ft “tiny” house — which should have everything we’ll need, just in smaller proportions than larger houses.

We’re excited about this new adventure. It’s daunting, as there is so much work still left to do in the actual building of the house. We are able to live in the duplex, sharing with another family, while we are building. There are many kids in the village and they enjoy playing together.

So, back to the barnacles…we hauled BRIO out yesterday. Whew! We knew she had growth — old bottom paint, mixed with a winter of sitting still = abundant sea food salad!

So, for now she’s on the hard. Awaiting sanding, painting, and some maintenance…and us to decide what her next adventure will be.

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