We are Claiming our Dream and it is....Cleveland
Living in Limbo

No, I'm NOT Used to this Weather

Yes, I know this isn’t the coldest weather Florida has seen. (The most recent worst winter here was in 2010—when we passed through on our way south. Coincidence?)

Yes, it certainly isn’t the coldest weather I’ve seen.

Yes, I’ve gleefully skied on much colder days.

Yes, I did live aboard this boat—year-round—for seven years in Maine and thrived.

No, this hat is not a good look for me.


Here’s the thing. When I lived in Maine:

  • I was used to the winter
  • I had all appropriate clothing
  • The house/boat had a furnace
  • hen we lived aboard, we were on the dock, not on a mooring

I know the Northeast is having a horrible winter and yes, I’m delighted not to be living at below zero temperatures.

Here in St. Augustine, we are on a mooring in a very bouncy Matanzas River (Disclaimer: Today is Thursday, January 4th and it is not bouncing. The prior three days included north winds with gusts to 50. Bouncing.) This is the coldest weather we have experienced since February 2010. How cold is it? We had ice on the hatches this morning, and the laptop would not start until I had brought her to shore and warmed her up. Bitch.

My dear land friend, Lynnelle, thinks we are crazy and asked whether we were alone. Heck, no. There are folks who have arrived via boat for the fourth year who usually enjoy spending the entire winter in St. Augustine. There are others who timed their stop for the holidays and Nights of Lights. And there are others who have been stuck waiting for the weather to change because the only thing worse than living aboard in this is moving in it.

Most of us are from northern US and Canada and every blessed one of us has friends on Facebook who have said, “You’re from (Maine, Ohio, Toronto, Rhode Island) you should be used to this!”  Our friends have an added statement, “You lived aboard in Maine. You should be used to this!”

Yeah. No.

Let me count the ways:

  1. When we lived on the dock in Maine, we shrink-wrapped the boat, which provided added insulation and kept the ice off the deck.
  2. When we lived in Maine we had a working furnace that could be run 24 hours—like a real home furnace. We had four zones. We were prepared.
  3. When we lived in Maine we had appropriate boots and clothing. I had Thinsulate-lined L.L. Bean boots—the warmest boot ever. I wore them with leg warmers to keep warm to my knees. I had a black down coat that came nearly to my knees and had a hood big enough to go over a hat. Now I admit I do not need that kind of gear for St. Augustine’s winter, which would be grounds for yanking my chain, but I came here in 2015 with no real winter clothing at all. We had to go to the thrift store to purchase blankets for the 3 cool days we endured in 2016.
  4. When we lived in Maine we lived on the dock. We did not have to get into our dinghy in now 53-degree water, the Tohatsu did not have to start and run in 34-degree weather, and we didn’t have to bring dry clothing with us because we were guaranteed to get soaked.
  5. Also, I’m wearing an impossible number of layers. This pile is everything I took off before this 20180104_092613[1]morning’s much-needed shower. We did 4 loads of laundry, nearly all of it every cold weather item we owned. I actually put on business attire after my shower until my warm casual clothes were washed and dried.
  6. Two words: Cold Bra. I don’t wear a bra to bed but do pretty much always when upright. Putting on that puppy every morning requires determination, fortitude, and one small squeak.

That’s enough. I am not really complaining. (OK, maybe a bit.) This is not the coldest winter Florida has had, but it’s the coldest I’ve experienced aboard since 2010 (when we had all the comforts noted in 1-4 above. I know that dear friends are now enduring the storm Grayson, and a number of these friends are living aboard. It will not be fun. It will be horrible. They will have much better stories and much higher ranked bragging rights.

And we are fine. We have a propane heater that keeps us comfortable when we are up and bundled  (all those layers.  And we are both sleeping surprisingly well at night. I figured out why. We have so many blankets that we’ve created our very own weighted blanket which evidently helps alleviate anxiety. What, me worry?

Nah, I’ll just go to sleep.

This too shall pass.


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Melody cook

Nice read. Met you in St Augustine at Anne O'Malley cruiser get-together. Enjoy your humor. Happy New year. We are now in West Palm Beach awaiting weather window to Bahamas. SV No Worries

Keith & Nicki, s/v Sionna

Love you guys! This, too, shall pass.
-6° right now and falling, but we are cozy in our tiny apartment in Maine!

Anna Marty

It hit us a low as -3° in Grand Forks. We too shall survive!

Sue and Dan

Hi Barb and Stu,
So much has happened since we last saw each other in Gozier...Guadeloupe...many Lunas ago.
Would love to chat with you both.
We are now landlubbers in Florida until early February then heading for crazy times in Louisiana for Mardi Gras!
Would love to hear from you both!
Sue and Dan
Former Canadian sailing vessel Triumph

Richard Butler Creagh

I'm not used to this weather too! Great post, dear. Stay warm!

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