Another Year Ends…In Failure

The decision was made early in the day, as soon as I looked at my smart phone and saw that the temperature was going to drop below freezing last night. I wanted to go home. We had not spent much time on Moonrise lately, as is usual for the winter months, and I was feeling guilty. We have this great boat, we pay for the slip each month. We needed to use that boat! Plus, she was just sad sitting at the docks all by herself. Guilt can be a good thing when it moves people to action, but when it leads to actions that are not based in reality, it kind of sucks. What reality had been denied? The reality of winter: that the cold sucks all the fun out of sailing.

The unretouched actual color of the sky.

The unretouched actual color of the sky.

There was going to be a raft up of folks from the Puget Sound Cruising Club, meeting in Blakely Harbor to watch the fireworks over Elliot Bay in Seattle for New Year’s Eve and it sounded like fun. Never mind that most of the people in that club either live in Seattle, a short ride across the water to the harbor, or very close by and we live 5 hours away by motor if the tide is with us.  We decided to go a day early and spend two nights on the boat. This was our second mistake.

We made arrangements for Andrew to watch the animals, packed some food, and headed out on Sunday. There was no rain, and also no wind. Zero. After a 5 hour motor boat ride up to the harbor yesterday (and that is a record time for us) we anchored in peaceful little Blakely Harbor yesterday. I would like to say that we were excited to be there, and excited to be back on Moonrise, surrounded by cozy looking homes with their Christmas lights up. It was quite festive.

The reality on Moonrise, however, was quite different. Guilt had pushed me to want to do this trip and while excited to be back on the boat, by the time we got to Bainbridge Island, I had reached a state of chill that was pretty uncomfortable and was remembering why we didn’t do much boating in the winter. You see, I have all these memories of being out on Moonrise, enjoying the big outdoors. This time I was actually quite grateful for the lack of wind as it would have dropped the temperature even further. I have mentioned before that I do not do very well with cold. It occurs to me that I may have to give up dreams of sailing in colder locations if I can’t figure out how to stay warm. This leads to a deep depression, so I won’t talk about it.

We hunkered down in the cozy cabin with our propane heater going, had dinner, watched some videos and turned in early. Even though we were warm all night, and the v berth really cannot be beat for sleeping soundly, I awoke with a swollen throat, feeling worried about the weather, my ears hurting down deep and with that inner knowing that if I spend another day on the boat in that kind of cold, I would be well and truly sick. As long as we stayed in the cabin, we’d be warm, but going outside to sit around and visit with people was not going to happen. Not to mention the difficulty using the head with two pair of woolen leggings, polar fleece pants, my sailing bibs, and multiple shirts, plus a jacket, gloves, a muffler, and two hats. I’m not kidding. That kid in “A Christmas Story” has nothing on me when it’s winter on the boat.  In the end, it was the prediction that the temperature would fall below freezing last night, and there was a slight possibility of snow, that made me verbalize my longing for home. And Mike agreed.

This kid has nothing on me. At least he has a mom to zip him up.

So there you go. Our big ‘winter trip’. Five minutes with the jib up. I freely admit that I breathed a sigh of relief when we tied the dock lines in our slip, and the first thing I did when we got home was take a nice long extra hot bath.

The saving grace was the Dahl’s Porpoises playing by the boat in Colvos Passage at the beginning of the trip. Here is a short video, with about 1 split second of playing porpoise, followed by footage where I search the water for them. Exciting, no? You can pretty much stop watching after the first 3 seconds. Happy New Year to all!

Oh, and it was a beautiful, sunny 28 degrees this morning. Thank the good LORD I am home!

19 thoughts on “Another Year Ends…In Failure

  1. Oh my gosh. I have to admit I too would be miserable and I would have been right with you escaping to home and the hot tub. I am a fair weather sailor and a fair weather anything. I grew up in Montana and love it. However, the older that I get them more I HATE the cold. I am now a tropical girl and want to be like a cat laying in any little bit of sunshine that I can find. (something I have done since I was a child). Do not feel defeated. You got out there and tried it and that is more than sitting at home for the new year. You started the year with adventure! Good for you! Happy New Year!

    “New Girl… on the dock!”

    • This is the spirit I try to hold, it’s true. The soul is willing, but the body, alas, is sometimes unwilling. Still, we got to see porpoises and that makes everything good! They are so entirely cool!

  2. Happy New Year!! brrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I hate the cold. I don’t function very well. The last couple of days at the boat were in the mid 40s to 50s with a wet wind blowing constantly. I said to Tate many time I don’t know how people up north go’s so cold and awful.

    Certainly heading south to the equator will fix all of that. Nice and warm basking in the sun. You are brave and strong for going out anyways. Not a failure but an adventure! Fuel to make you want to head to warmer water. How do those porpoise stay warm?… Lucky bastards.

    • I know! I look at all these mammals that live in the sea; the sea lions, the seals, the whales and porpoises and ask myself how they can possibly be warm blooded!

  3. And had you stayed out, risking frost bite and freezing your ass off, what medal is it you would have received? Exactly. Sailing is supposed to be fun. Some times its not but why would you purposefully sail when it sucks if you have another option. Good call!

    • Ah, you see? You have hit the proverbial nail on the head! It is supposed to be fun. In my head, it always IS fun, even when we have ‘interesting’ events happen. I don’t like giving up, and I’m always taken by surprise when it turns out to be un-fun for whatever reason.

  4. That’s like me and fishing. I love to spend a day on the lake, whether we catch any fish or not. But I just can’t do it in the winter. It makes my bones hurt too much. Tracy will go out and stand waist deep in a river when it’s 28 degrees… sheesh. I don’t know how he does it.

    • I think the answer is 4 little words: He is a man. They come supplied with internal heating devices. Mike can stand at the wheel for a long time before he actually gets cold. I really cannot hold my own weight in that department, unfortunately for him.

  5. Oh Melissa you are a woman after my own heart! I too am a fair weather sailor and it was so clearly proven to me as we sailed south… The warmer the air and water got the happier Cathy became! I was in heaven once we sailed into the South Pacific. That is why once we finish our circumnavigation (now all in warm waters – Vendee Globe no worries I will never compete!) we will then keep Terrwyn in New Zealand! YAY! They too have winter but nothing like ours :). Hang in there and do your sailing in the summer. No guilt no failures 🙂
    Fair winds and warm waters

    • Thanks, Cathy. You know, since you are from this area, that we have what I call ‘Almost winter’ for a long time before the cold weather hits. It’s not really cold yet, but certainly not warm. Still, good sailing can be had if you time it just right. I’ve always enjoyed those outings. But Mike reminded me that they were always day sails, not overnights. So we’ll stick to that. Or, even better, Mike can go out and I’ll stay home. We can’t wait to check out New Zealand by boat.

  6. Disappointing, but now you know! Or at least were reminded since it’d been a while since you tried that one. I too am a fair weather person, although I do not like hot weather. 72 is perfect for me. But of course it could be much warmer if I were on the water and would probably need to be. Other than the fact that you were freezing when up above, it sounds like you and Mike had a nice cozy evening together. 5 hours is a very long time. I was surprised to hear that’s how long it took you to get up to Seattle. I had no idea. Happy new year!

    • Hi Gwen! Yes, it does take a long time to ‘drive’ to Seattle by water. But then, we’re only going about 6 mph, so that puts things in perspective. We had been hoping the orcas would still be around as they had been hunting in Colvos passage the day before. It certainly doesn’t take THEM that long to go from Tacoma to Seattle!

  7. I too detest being cold… it is the one thing that makes my job really difficult at times.

    I am looking into investing in some battery-operated heated underwear. The batteries are rechargeable and they have everything…. for sure I am going to get the vest.

    Just google it!

    • That is excellent! I was wondering if such a thing had been invented yet. I told Mike what we needed was heated foul weather gear, although the idea of wearing electric underwear in a marine environment kind of gives me pause. Still, I might risk it if it meant I would be more comfortable sailing in cold weather.

  8. Failure?! No way … it’s called wisdom … LOL! We can’t stand the cold either, and there’s plenty of warm places to cruise, so no need to think you can’t cruise. That warm bath sounds good this cold dreary day!

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