A Tale of Two Marinas

Further in her new slip at Butler’s Marina

Further was finally on the move last week. An epic journey, as a matter of fact: we moved all the way to the other side of Back Creek. Oh but hey, we did move from the head of the creek to down near the mouth.

More to the point, Further and I moved back to Butler’s Marina, the marina on the town side of Back Creek where we lived for most of 2018-2019. It’s a small, cozy marina and is a stark contrast to where we’ve been since August 2021.

That marina, let’s call it Gigantor Marina, is actually a working boatyard, with pretty much every possible marine industry having a shop on the yard. It’s convenient having those services present but it means there’s so much hustle and bustle, and transient sailors coming and going among the hundreds of slips that there’s very little community on the docks.

Gigantor Marina had its perks, including wonderful peace and quiet at the upper end of Back Creek…

Butler’s, on the other hand, is a marina of about 25 slips or so. It’s nestled into the residential area known as Eastport, just across the street from a wonderful local pub. When I lived aboard there a few years ago, there were half-a-dozen or so other liveaboards and we were our own little neighborhood. There’s only one other permanent liveboard boat nowadays, but it’s home to Dave and Dottie and their ancient, wonderful black Labrador, Scuppers, and it’s great to hear her arthritic “woof” when you step out of your car at the head of the pier. There are also a couple of other folks living aboard for a little while that make the marina a fun place to hang out, especially since this autumn has been pretty wonderful in terms of weather (with one notorious six-day stretch where the remnants of Hurricane Ian made things absolutely miserable).

…but the twilight at Butler’s doesn’t suck. This was the view upon arrival

Sidebar: there’s also one couple heading south in the next couple of weeks who, this past weekend, aided by their devouring a couple of bottles of wine, revealed themselves to be quite possibly the most repulsive people I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter in person. Their racist and homophobic tirades were so offensive that I finally got up and walked back to Further.

But Butler’s has a wonderful little fire pit on shore with some Adirondack chairs around it. There are two grills and a bunch of deck furniture on a wide area at the end of the dock. There’s also a washer and dryer that are free to use — FREE! — and the bathroom/shower is a tasteful tile-and-stone facility that feels like what you’d find in a nice home.

Gigantor, on the other hand, has one bathhouse with industrial toilets and showers (which, it must be admitted, had awesome water pressure). The thing is: it was (no kidding) an honest quarter-mile walk away from where they stuck us liveaboards up on G Dock. There were two (pay) washers and dryers to serve the entire marina and not a single grill or picnic table or seat anywhere on the yard. Other behemoth boatyards have amenities such as multiple laundry rooms, swimming pools, tennis courts and so on. As mentioned, even tiny Butler’s has more than one grill.

The amenities at Butler’s Marina are great and much more conducive to community

I’ve pooh-poohed Gigantor ever since I got there. It’s true that they maintain what they have in impeccable condition but there’s no…soul. No heart. It’s a business and it’s run like one. It never felt like a home.

That’s why it’s been such a delight to have moved back to Butler’s. Just being there has made me happier by a wide margin. And to live that kind of comfort, that kind of peace and joy, has been a treat.

And get this: it’s also a few hundred bucks cheaper a month. Seriously. So there’s that.

So it might not really be a case of the best of marinas versus the worst of marinas, but the stark contrast between Gigantor and Butler’s points up how important it is to be a situation and a place where you’re happy.

I’ll touch more on happy places — and the potential for new happy places in Further‘s future — in the next post…


Addendum: This past weekend has been the antithesis of last Saturday night’s eye-opening debacle. No sign of the repulsive folks (thank goodness). Rather, it’s been several evenings of unseasonably warm weather, a waxing moon and good times with wonderful neighbors such as Kurt and Monica, locals whose boat is still in the slip next to where Further was back in 2018-19. Just wonderful evenings that make boat life so fabulous.