For months, Captain Paddy informs me “it’s coming”. He is referring to our least favorite time of year — called winter. I know what you’re thinking. Paddy has amazing insights ’bout the coming of the “seasons”.
The nuances of weather are amplified when you are engaged in an extended camping trip – on a catamaran. For us, the arrival of winter in Baltimore looks like:
1) frost on the dock making for a slippery and treacherous AM walk from Cat Maudy to shore.
2) no more running water. The marina decided to shut this off. It has something to do with 20 degree weather. Our running water consists now of whatever is left in our tanks. And that’s not much.
3) the cockpit of Cat Maudy is filled with bottles of pink liquid. That would be anti-freeze.
4) Captain Paddy’s mood is not so good. He has to put the pink liquid into the engine, the hoses…and anything else that will freeze and break.
5) our ‘boat camping’ experience is restricted to the salon. This is the only section of Cat Maudy that has any heat. We run all computers day an nite — to add to the heat factor!
6) we run our propane heater INSIDE. Some might consider this hazardous. Yes, the fumes could kill you. But we’re desperate for heat.
7) we avoid going down into the hulls for any reason. Here, your breath looks like puffballs of fog.
8) wool hats and 5 layers of clothing are worn 24/7. I’m starting a new hairstyle – called the matted hat look.
9) winds are blowing from the north – steady 25-35 knots – forcing new cold air to leak into Cat Maudy’s uninsulated structure. It’s breezy inside.
If that isn’t enough to push us to land life (or better yet, migrate south for the winter!), now the igloo people have arrived. The shrink wrap boys. Within hours (and in between wind gusts) – Cat Maudy is covered in a sea of white taut plastic. The good news is, that the wind gusts no longer send blasts of cold air thru Cat Maudy’s uninsulated structure. But there is a downside.
The entrance into Cat Maudy is a tiny door….that rests at an angle….making getting ON or OFF Cat Maudy a Cirque du Soleil challenge.
Here is how it works. First, you lie down on your belly and squirm around in the cold fiberglass cockpit or fishdeck…and with your arms, swim your way thru the tiny shrink wrap door. Don’t stop with any momentum you have made via “swimming”. Start kicking with your legs, until you are through the opening. If you are going OUTBOUND, grab onto something so that you don’t slide into the 40 degree water. If you are going INBOUND – resist the temptation to stand up. Keep flailing with your arms and legs until you are past the helm station. Then, work your way up to a standing position.
After 3 days of igloo life, I caved. As much as I resisted making any transition back to land – (knowing full well it would be a temporary transition) – the igloo broke my spirit. We dragged off the boat anything that could turn to mold for the next 3 months, contents of the ‘fridge, and of course Soxy….and reluctantly patted Cat Maudy a temporary good bye. Let me emphasize TEMPORARY. Don’t worry Cat Maudy, the first warm spell (above 30 degrees), we’ll be back. OK??