Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Stormy end to 2012

I'm not sure what the old adage is for December, I know April showers bring May flowers and March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb but since we're in New England I'm going to venture to say no adage truly fits anyways. The adage for our first December aboard is December winds bring sleepless nights & nervous frights. The past 2 weeks brought lots of good cheer, holiday celebrations, family time and LOTS OF WIND, SNOW & COLD. Within a week we were slammed by two big storms. One wasn't even named and it was BAD! The other was a 'classic New England Nor'Easter'.

The first storm struck on Friday, Dec. 21st. The winds were directly out of the south/southeast which means the winds were funneling up the river and churning up the waters of the Piscataqua. The winds and waves caused our boat to "hobby horse":
Though when a boat does it it's not nearly as fun as a this 2-year old. It's more like the boat CRASHING back and forth and every time your heart ends up in your throat and you question the strength of those nylon dock lines. For whatever reason our boat got the brunt of the waves and wind. 
This video was taken earlier in the day on Friday and doesn't barely do it justice. For the first time since we've moved aboard both Tim and I felt a bit queasy and seasick. As you can tell from the video, Toby wasn't digging it either. We left the boat for a while (saying our prayers to the dockline gods), had lunch with old friends who were in town, did some food shopping and when we returned around 3pm things had progressed far worse than earlier. 

Our boat stern is marked by the smaller mast after the white wrapped boat

The waves were MUCH bigger and were crashing up over the docks, slamming on the stern of our boat. Tim and I were SOAKED from waves almost sweeping us off the dock as we ran down to check lines. It was too dangerous for Toby to go down on the docks and we had some laundry some do (and for full disclosure, we weren't too keen to go back aboard a hobby horsing, crashing boat) we took refuge at a friend's house who was away on vacation (Thanks Needles!). All ended up OK. The docklines held, the boat was ok and our neighbor Toralf clocked wind speed at 45 knots. It's still amazing to us how our 'neighborhood' can go from frightening, dark, unsafe one day to calm, beautiful and peaceful the next. 

Our boat is on the left with the 2 masts of lights

We enjoyed a wonderful night of wine & cheer with our boat neighbors the night after the storm. Amongst them they have over 35 years of liveaboard experience. They wanted to know how things were going for us on our first year living aboard and we all laughed at their first year experiences. Our neighbor Tim said, "you wouldn't believe the stupid stuff we did our first year - don't worry, you'll learn!" It was fantastic to share our stories with them, get roused for bailing in the storm, get advice, tips and laugh about it all. 

Christmas was spent with our families down in South Shore Massachusetts, it was lovely and very special as we don't know where the seas or life will find us next year. It was full of great, utilitarian, boat gifts, including a wrench set, head treatment and a grill for the stern pulpit (SWEET!). 

No sooner did we arrive back aboard then we were walloped by a Nor'Easter. Luckily the winds were coming from the Northeast (hence the name) and so the hobby horsing did not occur this time. But the winds were STRONG and the sound of the crashing halyards and the wooshing through the stays, the jerking of the boat off the docklines is just too unsettling to sleep. The three of us clocked a max of about 20 minutes of sleep that night. We were at the ready for any lines snapping or fixes that might need to be made. This we're told is pretty typical for boat life so we are anticipating many more sleepless nights. 

We were proud of ourselves for riding out our first Nor'Easter and allowing the fear to come in and deal with it. We awoke that next morning tired but victorious in our own resolve to continually gain more comfort with our boat, with our dock lines (till one snaps) and our own capability to handle whatever might come our way. 

This week is the first bitterly cold period we've faced. Last night it was down to 9 degrees. We were still warm and toasty aboard Zephyr thanks to our little heaters and a new electric blanket. 

As we welcome 2013 we are so grateful for this opportunity to live a less ordinary life, we're thankful for brains that are like sponges constantly open to new things and learning new ways of living, we are proud of what we've learned so far, we are excited about the future of this dream and...yes, we are dreaming of tiki drinks, beaches and warm summer breezes filling our sails! :) 

1 comment:

  1. I'm proud of y'all! Please remember the summer I was with you on the Cape, Jill, in which I poured boiling water from the stove into a bathtub in hopes of being able to warm up. Clearly, I wouldn't be able to power through the winter like the three of you are doing!

    Very impressed!