I know a family in coastal Alaska that bought 4 acres of water-front land just a couple miles by water from a small town. The land was amidst the mountains and also had great soil for growing garden veggies.
The first thing they did was build a dock....no small chore when you have 20 foot tides!! The land was in a small protected, deep-water cove, so they built a floating dock that rose and settled with the tide. The largest expense with the dock was the pile-driving crew. The wood was milled in a local sawmill using some trees the family had downed to make room for the garden and some open land on their property.
The second thing they did was build a four-season storage shed to clear out lots of the stuff aboard their boat and make more room for their family.
The third thing they did was plot a garden, and also build a spring greenhouse for starting shoots early before planting.
There is a fast-moving stream very close-by for freshwater, they filter all drinking water.
The boat is a 65 foot on deck steel-hull staysail schooner, very full keel. Lots of grids up in alaska for doing routine bottom work...travel lifts are few and far between. Kodiak, Homer; Seward, Cordova. Almost no private marinas up in Ak (maybe Juneau)...most are floating city-docks. You share your space with crabbers and trollers and draggers....always with different "tall tales"! Quite a different world than the lower 48.
Anyway, they have LOTS of room aboard the boat for their three kids. Each kid has a separate stateroom. In the winter, they have diesel and woodstove heat aboard the boat. The cove is normally fairly ice-free. 2 of the kids are home-schooled...the older kid has now started skiffing in the two miles to the local small k-12 school. The other two kids, even though they are home-schooled, take part in many after-school activities.
They grow their own vegetables, smoke their own moose-meat and salmon, grow plenty of sprouts aboard the boat, listen to a GREAT local NPR station, their kids have learned to build skiffs, and live fairly self-sufficiently.
What's more, on weekends when the wind is right, they often toss their lines and take their home sailing...even in winter. During summer months, they often leave for extended alaska coastal cruising, at which time they have to weigh their garden maintenance with the pleasure of sailing, but usually expect the garden will be totally overgrown upon their return, and in need of a few solid days of tending. Next summer, they are planning on sailing the Aleutian Chain, as far as Adak.
They truly have the best of both worlds....to be able to "homestead" and grow their own crops in Alaska and smoke their own meat and salmon, to having a wonderful schooner as their home, one which they can take anywhere in the world. Whenever they sail, they'll always have their homestead and one of the greatest little Alaskan villages to return to.
Granted, they're not your average "live-aboards" and I am so glad they're not. They are probably one of the most adventurous and close-knit famillies that I know. And they're not really isolated, either, for most times when I visit, there is always a skiff or two tied up to the dock that belong to kids from neighboring 'homesteads' and from the village. They just drive skiffs instead of ride bikes back and forth.
"...and a star to steer her by."
Last edited by SoulVoyage; 05-15-2010 at 01:18 PM.