• close family • small boat • big world •

When Can I Take Off This Hat?

November 9, 2013

By Paula
Manteo, North Carolina

A good friend recently commented that a great part of our current lifestyle is that we get to be outside so much of the day.  That’s an understatement.  We’re pretty much in the weather inside the boat or out, save for the lack of rain when in the cabin.  Greg and I have a history of fighting over the thermostat, and, here, he wins.  Without much of a heater, we have to take what comes.  And, right now, what comes is fairly cold.  Buttoned up with portals and hatches closed, it can feel just cool on the really chilly nights, but I would never call it warm.  And then Greg wakes up and opens all the portals.

The first time around in the warm island sun (1998)
Friends might be thinking of us luxuriating in the Caribbean sun, but we aren’t there quite yet.  As someone who breaks out her turtlenecks in early October, I am often in four layers, including double wool socks and my fleece hat through the whole day.  And at times, just the hat comes off before getting into bed for the night.  My legs haven’t seen the light of day in weeks.  Recently, when I could see my breath as I fixed breakfast, even Greg admitted it was time to get south.  As usual, Nicole continues to wear just shorts and a t-shirt, as she scampers everywhere barefoot.  She’s happy to finally be in a place with no arbitrary rules for coat-wearing.

When Greg is dressed like this...
...Nicole is like this.
Rainy days are the hardest for me to take, as everything we have gets damp.  Towels don’t dry, the portals need to stay closed, and the cold air can be bone-chilling.  We’ve come to rely on the bright sun to keep us comfortable.  I always volunteer to cook, so I can be near the hot stove.

Not only do we feel the temperature,
we feel everything else the weather brings.  Be it at anchor or in a slip, the motion of the boat is affected by the wind and waves.  Many a night’s sleep is interrupted by all the creaks and groans of the fenders against a piling, the lines tensing through a chock, or the anchor rode against the hull.  Wind and waves make us pitch or roll, so many nights are not calm.  The soft motion of the boat could be lulling, except that we need to be keen to changes that might mean our anchor has come loose.  Not even our babies kept us up this much at night.
Day Star pitches in her slip in Manteo, NC:

It is wonderful, though, to be so connected to nature.  Every day I watch the sun rise over the water.  Even walking down a dock is pleasant, with weathered wood boards beneath my feet, rather than hard asphalt.  Now I take the time to look around, and appreciate the little things I might otherwise have missed.   I’d forgotten just how many stars are up there, and what a glorious time it was to marvel at them all together in the cockpit that night when we lost our motor.  And don’t tell Greg, but I'm actually getting used to the cold, and love that it makes a 70 degree day feel like pure bliss.

Gwendolyn Yaeger said...

Did you guys go through the Great Bridge Lock or go through the Dismal Swamp on the ICW..Was the Great Bridge Lock closed?

Lisa said...

I'm fairly certain that coat-wearing rules are directly tied to temperature and weather conditions and are not, in fact, arbitrary.