John, bless his dear heart, predicted a harsh winter early last fall and demanded that we pull Dolce Vento out of her slip, store her on land, and have her protected with shrink wrap. As always, I never believe the worst could happen, but humored him, agreeing to contract for the work. I was glib and did a few “told you so’s” as warm, mild weather continued through December and into the new year. Little did I know that humble pie was on the menu soon.
A week to the day before the blizzard hit, the new dinghy davits and poles, holding the radar pod and wind generator at the boat’s stern were completed and Dolce Vento was dressed in her winter shrink wrap (think plastic fur coat). The sloping sides of the tented blue plastic covering, designed to deflect the snow and protect the deck, hopefully stood up to the weight of the snow and hair raising gusty winds. As the snow continued to fall through Friday night and into Saturday, we worried, stuck at home an hour away from the marina. By Saturday night after two days of snowing, we wrung our hands and paced the living room, hoping Sunday would bring the sun, melted the snow and open roads so we can go see how she survived.
From another perspective, this blizzard presented an opportunity to build my Bahamian and Caribbean knowledge, diverting my thoughts from the winter hazards. I’ve sailed in the Caribbean, but that was 25 years ago for less than ten days, when I was a novice sailor, one of 12 on two boats, the others so knowledge and experienced that they humbled me. So instead of wringing my hands anymore, I plunged into the book, Caribbean Passage Making, A Cruiser’s Guide by Less Weatheritt, a British sailor who spent years sailing and living in the islands.
After reading the titillating opening chapters describing fresh westerly trade winds, brilliantly sun drenched seas and crystal clear waters with a plethora of anchorages, I was confronted with cautionary tales of sea swelling tropical storms, hurricanes and ash throwing volcanic explosions. These were followed by pages and pages of the necessity of weather knowledge, how to avoid the storms and what to do if caught in their grips. (Just shudder when you picture it!)
By 2:30 Sunday morning, I put the book back on the nightstand, took a deep breath and buried my head under the covers, knowing that climate change will only increase these potential threats that emerge each year from July through December. Perhaps the next chapters will be more positive and encouraging. (I can only hope!)
This morning the sun blinds our eyes as we look out across our balcony. Melting is proceeding quickly, neighborhood streets are passable, and the power, lost at 6:00 AM, was restored in just over two hours. We are ready to watch football league playoffs and are making plans to visit Dolce Vento later this week. This afternoon, I’ll get busy cutting canvas for the hatch covers I plan to start sewing this coming week.
What a winter!