On a couple of occasions during our sailing career, we've been either in a boatyard that would not allow liveaboards (Uruguay) or doing a boat project that didn't lend itself to living aboard, e.g. sanding and varnishing the boat interior (Ecuador). In those instances, we opted to find a place to live ashore and it was always a great adventure.
In La Libertad, Ecuador, the boat was hauled out at the Puerto Lucia Yacht Club and with the help of a local friend, we found a rather large “unfinished” house to rent. Much of the house was in a construction state, but the master bedroom was finished and the master bath, though a bit rough, was useable. The kitchen had basic appliances, but the countertop was tile-less with only bare concrete and there was no kitchen door. Since it was only a block from the marina and very inexpensive ($100/month), we decided we could make it work.
I regularly had to shoo roosters out of my kitchen and ducks came in quite uninvited. Jelly came with us, but was useless when it came to herding large birds. It wasn't until I was walking upstairs from the kitchen to the bedroom in my skivvies that I found the owner was still living in the house. What a surprise … actually a double surprise since we later learned his teenaged son was also living there on occasion. Our local friend was as surprised as we were, but the owner said he didn't have any other place to live and it was such a large house, he didn't mind us being there. Hmm...a whole different perspective on a house rental.
In Piriapolis, Uruguay, we negotiated the rental of a furnished “casita” (tiny little house) for two months and made sure we were the only occupants. Again, the rent was cheap ($125/month), but since it was further away from the marina, we also added the use of a pair of bikes into the deal to ride back and forth to the marina. The casita was cozy and kind of romantic ... until the rains came. It seems the backyard was more lake-like when there were heavy rains and the low threshold at the back door allowed a torrent of rain to enter and pool in the dining area. Several inches of water had rugs sopped and wastebaskets floating on more than one occasion. The landlady told us this happened every year … what can you do about the rain? Hmm...
The stories are amusing now, and I guess the point of this post is that these surprises, though a bit bothersome at the time, are the stuff good memories are made of and we wouldn't dream of trading these experiences for a generic hotel room. Living ashore was distinctly different than living in the marina where most of our interaction was with other yachties. We survived the minor catastrophes and chocked them up as little annoyances. We enjoyed our time living in neighborhoods, getting to know our neighbors and delighting in the fact that my favorite vendor at the fresh market knew me by name.