Boat Life - Things I Hadn't Really Thought Much About Before Living on a Boat

We're living on the boat now, at the side of the Canal du Midi in France. 

We haven't gone anywhere yet, just enjoying being here in this village. 
Getting used to boat life. 

It's different.

(This post was written before we had solar panels.
The solar panels are total magic - and work amazingly well!

That story is here.)

The boat is "off the grid". We're not plugged in.

So - there are two things the boat needs on a regular basis: 
Power and water.

Even if we aren't cruising anywhere. 
Power to run the water pump, lights, toilets, shower pump, and the fridge. 

Maggie May in her canal mooring.

All are on a 12volt system.

The fridge takes the most power.

We found that running the generator for an hour in the morning will recharge the batteries enough to run the fridge - and everything else - for the rest of the day.

If we're cruising, the engine does the job.

You CAN plug in a boat.
Kind of like a camping van or an RV. 

There are a lot of boats that are plugged in.
-IF you can find a mooring with power - which is rare.

There's also a little 12v socket, like the one in a car, for recharging small things.  

There's a power and water box on the right, just below the stone steps.

Eventually, we'll get a few solar panels. 
That should help keep the house batteries charged.  

Most of the live aboard boats have solar panels.

An English couple live permanently on this boat - with solar panels - just down the canal from us.

It's made me very aware of all the energy - electricity - we use in our houses without ever thinking about it. -An endless supply of unlimited power all day long!

From the point of view of living on a boat, that's pretty special.
When we're cruising, the engine recharges the batteries, too.

For water, we have a LONG hose. 
There's a metered box not too far away.
For 2 euro, we can get about 300 liters of water.

Our tanks hold about 1100 liters, (about 300 gallons).

This lasts us about a month.
That's with 2 of us aboard.

Of course, the metered water box stopped working a few days before our first visitor, Stan's sister, Charlene - and we wound up taking showers at the public port facilities.

The Port Office. Showers thru the door on the far right.

Poilhes, the village we're in is VERY small.
It doesn't even have its own bakery. 

And in France, that's saying something.

But there's a bread van that comes by each morning. 
There's a shop where she'll keep a baguette for you if you ask her the day before. 

This shop - is actually ON a boat. In a nearby town, Le Somail. "Pain" is bread.

During the days, there are ducks and doves.
Kids walking to the school across the canal from us.

Tractors heading to the vineyards.

At night, it's so unbelievably quiet!
No cars, no one out.

Sometimes at night, I hear fish splashing beneath the boat.

Last night I heard an owl - loud and clear. 

A commercial barge - about to pass us.

Boats come and go on the canal, passing us.
Some of them are HUGE, commercial barges.

Or luxury hotel barges, with a full crew and lots of flowers.
It's impressive to see them squeeze through the narrow stone bridges.

Most bridges originate from the 1600's.

That's Maggie May on the left - dwarfed by the large hotel barge.

Some boats don't quite make the narrow bridges!

The galley - kitchen - on our boat is very comfortable. 
But there are so many fine local restaurants.

And of course, a glass of local wine...

There are 3 restaurants just steps from our boat.