Jonas Peterson and Gillian Craig bought their 1978 Catalina 30 sailboat last summer in hopes of leading a more sustainable and mobile lifestyle. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Jonas Peterson and Gillian Craig bought their 1978 Catalina 30 sailboat last summer in hopes of leading a more sustainable and mobile lifestyle. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Victoria couple chases freedom, sustainability on 30-foot sailboat

Jonas Peterson and Gillian Craig pay $700 a month to live aboard their boat

Two people living in a 30-foot-long space may sound cramped, but for Jonas Peterson and Gillian Craig it’s been the ultimate taste of freedom.

Last summer, the 22-year-olds bought Blue Moon, a 1978 Catalina 30 sailboat. It’s something the couple bonded over when they first met in university – their desire to live in a more sustainable, mobile fashion.

“Your habitat is way more important than people realize,” Peterson said. “It has a huge effect on your lifestyle, and in our case, our health and happiness.”

With so little space, Peterson and Craig have been forced to downsize. Now, the only things they own are those they really need. And, they’re also far more aware of their consumption. With a mini fridge and a tiny trash can, very little goes to waste.

“You fit the box that you’re in,” Craig noted. For them, having fewer possessions has been an immense relief.

(Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

And, having shared a room together in a house full of other students for the past several years, the sailboat is their first real taste of autonomy, and one of the cheapest ways to gain it.

Craig and Peterson bought and refit Blue Moon for $13,000 and figure their monthly cost of living on it – including moorage, live-aboard fees, showers and laundry, depreciation and maintenance – is about $350 each. To put it in perspective, the average Victoria one-bedroom rents at $1,570 a month. In February, the purchase price of single-family-homes averaged $1.16 million, with condominiums at $542,564 and townhomes at $682,071.

RELATED: POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

“We could never dream of having a house here in Victoria, but that’s really what the boat has given us,” Peterson said. And, the boat feels cozy and safe.

“It just reminds me of being a little kid,” Peterson said. “It’s like a fort.”

Of course, it does have its challenges. Alone time now means one of the two has to be up top or out on a walk, and when stormy weather rolls in there is little they can do but hunker down.

During the snowstorm Victoria got last month, Peterson said their space heaters weren’t enough to cut through the cold and the couple spent most of their time wrapped in their heated blanket.

“It’s like camping,” he said. “You put all your clothes on and get into bed.”

Ultimately though, it’s worth it. The experience has brought them closer to each other and the natural world.

“My respect for the ocean has just skyrocketed,” said Craig, who has spent much of her life on the water. “I don’t have a time when I ever want to leave this boat.”

The couple has started a YouTube channel to document their journey and inspire others to do something similar. Their videos can be viewed on the Blue Moon Life channel.

RELATED: B.C. couple plans sustainable, zero-waste life in the Shuswap


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

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