Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
“When I moved to D.C. to be a Spanish and Portuguese translator at the State Department, I tried that whole live-in-a-big building-in-Rosslyn-thing. I knew that I didn’t want to stay there very long because no one talked to each other and the place cleared out on the weekends. Living there, I felt really isolated from people and D.C.
“I started walking around neighborhoods on the weekends, and came across an ad in the City Paper that said, ‘Great Condo alternative. Live on a houseboat.’ I thought living on a boat sounded crazy. I didn’t even know that D.C. had a marina. Still, I was interested, so I called up the lady and came down to check out the boat.
“I walked around, and things looked good. I mean, I knew nothing about boats, but the idea was pretty amazing. Afterwards, she invited me to the roof to have a glass of wine and watch the sunset. Some of the neighbors came by on a dinghy, and invited us to the Docktoberfest party they were having. That night, I met half of the people in the marina. That was amazing to me compared to my life in Rossyln.
“While my family and co-workers didn’t quite get it at first, I decided to buy my boat and moved aboard on November 1, 2007. While it may be crazy to move during the winter, the cold actually brings people closer together. I relied on my neighbors a lot to help when things would freeze, and we had weekly captain’s coffees on the weekends to talk about issues and catch up. This was really helpful to me, as I thought every issue on the boat meant that it was going to sink!
“Now, after three years, I am the president of the slipholder’s association and am involved with figuring out the future of our community. The SW waterfront is undergoing substantial development that will impact how we all live here. We are being told that we can stay here as a community during the construction, but we’re not sure if that will be possible.
“This whole waterfront is changing, and I hope that our houseboat community can survive. We are over 100 people here, and this is the only place that I know of around here that can hold us all. If necessary, they may have to break us up and move us to different locations, but that would really change the dynamics of this place. I hope that we can stay together. I guess time will tell. Come down here in five or ten years when the development is done and see if there are still any live aboards down here. For all of our sake, I hope there will be.”