Hot water scalds my naked body and for the first time in 48 hours I’m warm. The water burns my pale skin but its a luxury I only get twice a week, 5 minutes of pure heaven. I wash myself as quickly as I can so I spend the remainder of my shower rations soaking up the heat. For the winter live-aboard there is no pleasure greater than a hot shower.
The calendar knows nothing of the seasons, there are 21 more days till winter officially begins. We woke up early to the first of many 50 knot gusts, with the windchill its well below zero and the boat needs attending to. I drag myself out of our warm cocoon and Emily protests, stay and keep me warm. I put on hot water for coffee, pet the dog and start pulling on cold stiff layers of clothes. I have to check Sookie’s lines and give her the once over, then its off to check all my friends boats in the marina. I own every piece of technical clothing imgineable yet nothing is as warm as my hand me down wool sweater. My best friends wife shrunk it so he passed in on to me, a perfect fit. I make it 5 minutes with nothing more than my half gloves, wool sweater and thin cap.
The sweater is warm enough but the wind cuts through everything else. I pull out my new Gill OS2 Foulies and am greatful for the many days hard work I put in to afford them. Layered up with my expedition cap, neck warmer and glove liners I head out again. My gloves, now 12 years old are great but don’t stand up to the cold, I tuck my hands into the jacket pockets and set out to explore the marina. Two hours later all is well and all boats have been checked, re-secured and a bit of chaffing gear added. I’m still warm enough and happy I’m not at sea on such a crisp and cold day. Half way around the world my friends are battleing the same conditions at sea, I’m not as tough a them yet I wish I was.
The water is shut off at the dock and we have no on board tanks so we layer up grab our water jugs and search out this liquid gold that can never be appreciated enough until you have none. Yes we are suffering. The cold cuts like a knife but it isn’t the cold. The short days bring on depression and cabin fever but its not the absence of light. Condensation hangs over our heads and rains down on our computers as we tell a story we don’t like but it isn’t the damp moldy conditions. Its not going anywhere thats bleeds the soul. Stagnation is a slow painful death to those afflicted with wanderlust and we are trapped by the seasons, by circumstance and by our own stubborn will. They say winter comes in like a lion and goes out like a Lamb. Every day we do our Sundance, spring is closer than you think and we are here ready and patiently waiting. Like my old friend Larry once said, if its this difficult it must be worth it.
“There was a moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you’re writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.”
― Agatha Christie