Let me tell you what I look for in Cruising… Better yet, what do YOU look for in Cruising. Close your eyes for a moment and say the word out loud.. CRUISING. What comes to your mind? Soft blue waters caressing white sand beaches, snorkeling with baby fishes swimming alongside you, a palm thatched tiki bar beckoning you from the shore. You dive in and swim effortlessly over, reach the shallows, rise from the water, flinging back your long hair as the bartender sets a tall fruity drink at your table…
Now wake up to the real world! Nobody told me Cruising would be COLD! That it would be WINTER! We don’t even have WINTER at home!!!! In all of my planning and in my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined this coldness.
Now to be fair, we did spend several weeks in places that cost us some time, and had we not done so, we would have been in Florida by now… but not before we were attacked by the brutal cold and bone chilling dampness of a Gulf Coast Norther’.
So now picture this… yes, close your eyes. You drop the anchor just in time to see a white sliver of beach in the last moments of weak sunlight as it peeks through the almost complete cloud cover. As soon as the sun disappears for good, the temperature drops to the point that your breath fogs up the full cockpit enclosure so that you can't even enjoy the million-dollar-view. But still, you offer up thanks once again to the great guy who sold you this boat with the enclosure already installed. You sigh with resignation as you herd the kitties down below, grabbing your blanket as you go.
You think of things to cook so that you can use the oven to provide warmth, because the six grand worth of new AC/Heaters you had installed within the past six months have ceased to do it. Again you think, where will we be that we can have someone come out and look at the AC units? But, because you don’t know where you’ll be, because you’re controlled by the incessant cold fronts that keep coming and coming and coming… you wait to make that call.
|Jetsam snuggles and Jezabelle is beneath the blankets
The cabin cools off quickly after the oven and stove are turned off. You eat your dinner, the last bites congealed with cold… And you might as well just go to bed so that you can snuggle down into the pile of blankets and down comforters you’ve tossed onto the bed. The kitties burrow down into the covers and you let them, because their little bodies are WARM. Who cares if there’s a little bit of cat litter in your bed in the morning…
|Yes, I took a picture of my BREATH!
No need to spring out of bed in the morning either, because if you thought the boat was cold last night… you ain’t seen nothing yet! The walls and ceilings are dripping with the condensation from your breath as it gathers above you and rolls down to drip on your chest.
We run the generator for a while and use a cheapo space heater to make the cabin warm enough to get up, but first, snatch the clothes you’re going to put on and tuck them beneath the covers, preferably next to a cat. Dress under the covers and dash to the cockpit, where, if you’re lucky, the sun is warming up the solarium for you nicely.
You have multiple layers of clothing on and are marginally warm, except for the face, feet and hands as you get underway for the next hop, where you hope you will find some sunshine and light winds with temperatures at least warm enough to allow for a dinghy ride to shore for a nice long walk.
It’s wildly beautiful, but you can’t help but regret all of the wonderful places you’ve passed through to get here, without enjoying all they have to offer the summer traveler. Snorkeling, swimming, lying on the sun drenched beach and beach BBQs into the evening that seems to never get dark… Ahhh just thinking about it makes me ready to hurry on towards Florida… Soon… very soon.