Tooling down I-5 towards a family wedding in Northern California last week, I suggested to my husband “We should head back home up the coast and find someplace fun to stay overnight.” Grabbing the chance for a little sans-kids adventure, he said “Why not!” I opened the Airbnb app to see what I could find.
We’re relatively new to Airbnb, though the site is becoming increasingly popular, and has been recommended by several people we know. In essence, it’s a hipper version of VRBO, where property owners rent shared space, a private bedroom, or an entire home to adventurous travelers. There are properties all over the world, and the nightly cost typically ends up being far cheaper than a hotel or other lodging.
On this trip to Northern California, we waited too late to book an available or reasonably-priced hotel near family, so I decided to see what Airbnb might have. My husband and I ended up in a private room at the home of a lovely retired artist named Bonnie, and paid just a third of what hotels in the area were asking.
If you don’t (as I didn’t) know what “S/V” means, it means sailing vessel. In this case, a trailered 1971 Columbia 34 Mark 11 sailing vessel that its owner, Roy, had sailed around the world. The boat, now parked next to Roy’s house on the Southern Oregon Coast, was our home for one very unique evening.
Upon arrival, Roy requires that you sign a waiver, releasing him from liability if you…say…fall off the deck of his boat (after all, you’re about 15 feet up!). We signed the waiver, climbed the ladder, and found ourselves up high enough to see the ocean. In fact, we were so close we could hear the waves and gulls.
The boat itself was much roomier than expected. Quite tall on the inside, we could pass through easily, and were surprised by all the comforts of home, including electricity and wifi. Perhaps all the comforts weren’t there, as we only had a chamber pot in the “head” (bathroom), but Roy offered a private bathroom just inside his home, and that worked out fine.
There were three beds on the Breta, but none quite large enough for two big people like us, so my husband took the double berth in the middle of the boat, and I took the V-berth in the forward end of the hull. Roy explained that during his circumnavigation, he’d sleep in the V-berth while in harbor, but the middle berth while at sea, since it’s best to have the boat surround you while being knocked about in ocean waves.
We decided not to close the entry to the boat, and instead slept with the cool, salty air coming through. With the blankets Roy provided, we were plenty warm, and slept great, waking to a bright, clear sky.
Part of the experience in sleeping aboard the S/V Breta is getting to know its captain, Roy, and the history of how Breta came to be parked on dry land. It didn’t garner any national attention, but when the Japanese tsunami of 3/11/11 struck, the effects were felt the next day in the little town of Brookings, Oregon. Roy – who had two boats docked at the Port of Brookings Harbor – was devastated to learn that his LaFitte 44, a newer sailing vessel he planned to take for another trip around the world, had been washed out to sea (you can see a picture of it here on the OPB website and more news of the Harbor damage here). The other boat – Breta – survived, but got caught up in a 3-year battle between Roy and the Harbor (and the Special District Association of Oregon…and the local Sheriff…and the Coast Guard…it’s quite a story!!). It would take a book to detail Roy’s experience with the aftermath of that tsunami, and one day maybe he’ll write one.
We had hoped to learn a little more about Roy’s adventures sailing Breta around the world, but I was left to do my own digging on that one. In addition to the map of Roy’s route hung on Breta’s hull, I found this great summary of Roy’s trip in the “Changes in Latitudes” magazine (his is the 2nd story down). You have to take a look! You’ll get a feel for Roy himself, and see how he managed to take 6 years to sail around the world, spending only $14.66/day in the process.
Our stay aboard the S/V Breta was fantastic, and enough to make me want to continue looking for adventurous places to stay on Airbnb.
Would YOU like to try out Airbnb?
You can get $25 off your first stay by using this referral link: www.airbnb.com/c/snerdin. In the interest of full disclosure, I will also get a $25 travel credit when you stay – so we both win! Make sure to come back and tell me about your own Airbnb adventures!