The Winter Struggle is Real

Our first snow as winter liveaboards hits the marina.
The first snow of the season coats the docks

I sit here listening to the winter wind howl as I half reward myself for a job well done and half drown my sorrows with a glass of Pinot. It’s cold out there. Really cold. In fact, it feels like 2. It’s only fitting that we’d run out of water today, and that all the hoses on the dock would be full of ice. Whoever used them last didn’t make sure they were empty when they were done. The marina turned off the water at our slips back in November, but our dock jury-rigged a set up with hookup points the whole length of our dock. A few hours of sun is usually enough to unfreeze any water left in the hoses, but not today. Today, they would fittingly stay frozen solid. After a few failed attempts to crack the ice and blow the chunks out, we were about ready to call it a day. Plan B was to head to the bodega to pick up a few gallons of water to get us through the night until we could fill up tomorrow. But, sadly, we remembered that the weather isn’t going to get any better tomorrow and we had a sink full of dishes.

After a healthy debate over our options, the only logical thing to do was to roll up all 200 feet of the hoses, drive them up to the showers, and stick them under the hot water to thaw. Bonus that I hadn’t showered yet today and could knock out two things at once. Just picture us with our shower bags thrown over our shoulders and 50 ft of hose wrapped around each arm as we kick open the door to the lounge stomp our way into the bathrooms. We looked as ridiculous as it sounds. Worse, maybe. Of course we couldn’t go unnoticed during Expedition Get Water, and ran into our friend Mo who confirmed our suspicions that we were crazy and no one has ever tried this before. I’m not sure if that makes us smarter than everyone else or much, much worse. Desperate times, my friends. The good news is we successfully thawed out the hoses, I was able to wash my hair and we were able to fill our tanks. We may have accidentally left a coating of ice on the docks where we couldn’t get the hoses connected just right because our hands were also frozen solid (sorry dock neighbors!), but I promise I went out and scraped up any random piles of left over salt on the ground I could find to sprinkle over it to help minimize the damage by morning. I’m just going to chalk this up to another adventure in living aboard during the winter and a lesson to keep a bag of salt at the ready. Winter: 1, Kelley & Jason: 0

A coating of snow covers the bow of our Vagabond 42. The snow coats the lines on our sailboat. First snow for ChancelotThis weekend we also had our first snow of the season and our first snow ever on Chancelot. As fate would have it, it started snowing right as we were trying to set up our winter cover whose purpose is to keep the snow off the deck. Turns out the 1-1/4″ pvc we got for the frame was too rigid and didn’t work anyway. Winter: 2, Kelley & Jason: 0. Actually, Jason threw out his back trying to carry 18 10ft 1-1/4″ PVC lengths to the boat at once, so Winter: 3, Kelley & Jason: 0.

The wind has been so strong the last couple of weeks that it knocked down our ill fitting dodger, pulling out all the snaps at their bases. All the “clear” vinyl windows got so cold and dried out they cracked into multiple pieces. Winter: 4, Kelley & Jason: 0. To be honest, this was probably for the best as it will prioritize us building a new one. We could only ever get maybe a third of the snaps to attach so it wasn’t exactly super sturdy to begin with. Slowly we’re going to rid this boat of all the green canvas!

To top off all this defeat, I forgot my keycard to the gate when I took the dogs out. Nothing like running up to the security gate and back, two dogs in tow when it’s literally below freezing out. Winter 5, Kelley & Jason 0. The only thing getting us through all of this is thoughts of the trip to Barbados that we booked for the end of the month. We got another steal on our plane tickets through The Flight Deal ($193 direct on Jet Blue!). We’ll be having fun in the sun soon enough! 

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  1. Feeling your pain. I listened to ice flowing past my hull this morning. If it gets any colder, I’m going to need to get a second dog as a bed warmer.

    We’re in the ICW in Virginia waiting for a new clutch cable to arrive.

    Winter may be kicking your butt but you’re not down and out. Winter 0, Kelly & Jason 1.