Permanent Solution Or Temporary Refuge? | The Anchor-outs Community | San Francisco Bay, USA

Since the economic crisis of 2008, the artist and musician Jeff lives on his boat in the Bay. During the day he cycles on land, sometimes returning to late, he sleeps on a chair at the harbor.

 

Photographer Bente Marei Stachowske is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography.  From her project ‘Living On The Anchor’To see Bente Marei’s body of work click on any image.

 

One of Ale’s cats running around on his boat in Richardson Bay.

 

Giovanna is looking out of the hatch. She lives alone on her wooden sailboat after a divorce.

 

Christal and Aubrey on their boat in Richardson Bay Area near Sausalito playing with their dog.

 

Sausalito is San Francisco Bay Area city where some of the richest and some of the poorest people of the American society live. Luxury villas line the coast, about 120 boats lie at anchor in the bay. Most of them serve for housing purposes.

Their owners are known as  “anchor-outs”. Their boats differ from one another as much as the owners do from themselves. Some boats are so cluttered that there is hardly any space for living left, others are all tidied up and clean. The people who live on these boats live their very own version of the American dream of freedom. Some want to live close to nature, others do not want to or cannot afford to pay rent. People who do not get their bearings in society, who do not fit into the norm or who used to be homeless found a place to stay. Some consider the bay a permanent solution, others a temporary refuge.

 

The dog plays outside while inside they are playing music and singing songs. Its a party on Christal and Aubeys boat, they invited some of their friends from the Anchor Out Community.

 

View from Sausalito over the Richardson Bay

 

When viewed from land the boats in the bay convey an idyllic impression. They enhance the maritime townscape of Sausalito. From this perspective it is quite difficult to get an idea of the owners and their way of life aboard. Life on water also holds everyday risks and challenges. During severe winter storms everybody is vigilant. Boats that come off the anchor chain pose a threat to their owners and to others.

Of the more or less 100 people who lie at anchor and live in Richardson only a few are depicted. Some residents of Sausalito welcome the anchor-outs as neighbours, many merely tolerate them and still others are bothered by them. They think of the anchor-outs as a threat and even call them freeloaders and thieves. This is why the anchor-outs community constantly worries about losing its independence.

 

Eugene lies on the bow of the dinghy early in the morning. Minnie went out with him to enjoy the sunrise, she loves the morning hours.

 

Ale in the kitchen of his boat in Richardson Bay where he lived for 51 years at anchor. Ale passed away in summer 2015.

 

Christal invited some women of the Anchor Out Community on her boat. They sit together in the living room while sharing dresses and self made jewelry.

 

Katy on her dinghy on the way to her boat. Katy and Damian are living on their boat for six months. They are musician, playing guitar and banjo. Katy and Damian play to tourists to earn money during the day and for their friends at night  on the boats in the bay.

 

See also:

Sea Eye Mission Mediterranean Sea 

By Bente Marei Stachowske

 

 

 

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