Yes, that is what they call people like the Captain and I, Snowbirds. We migrate south to escape winter. As I rock gently on board Steadfast, wearing flip flops and summer clothes, my family and friends across Canada report snow drifts higher than they can reach, and temperatures so low they are difficult to read. If you are disgusted with me for taking the easy road, read on to hear the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey says.
The first two weeks on board are as physically challenging as daily workouts at the gym, with a trainer pushing you to work harder! I complain every year, to no avail. It just isn't right to cram a whole year's amount of physical exercise into two weeks. After two days living aboard, I have pulled and stretched muscles I never remember meeting personally before. It feels like a steam roller flattened me overnight. If I'd seen it coming, I would have dodged it for sure!
Perhaps it's the three foot gap I need to jump to get between the boat and the dock. Maybe it's the narrow companionways and stairs. It could be handling lines under tension while transversing the locks on the ICW. For sure it's the heavy lifting, hauling three months of supplies from store-to-car-to-boat that has contributed to my noodly-feeling arms and legs. No way has it anything to do with the fact that I am 14 years older than when we first began this lifestyle!
Shopping at Sam's Club for everything we will need/want for the next three months at one go is a little intimidating. We needed help to get three, over-full carts to the truck. At the Marina, we wore a groove in the cement docks to our boat, back and forthing to unload it all.
Then the real fun began....dividing those economy sized packages into single serving baggies. Life definitely took a turn for the better the day we installed a deep freeze on the fly bridge.
Good news/Bad news/Good news:
Where there's a will, there's a way.
The ice maker died and NO ONE can survive a winter in the islands without one, so we need a new boat!
Captain B and the Marina manager found a new ice maker that will fit where the old one was installed, so if it works, we can put off buying a new boat this year!
While the Captain was away, I filled the water tanks, put in a load of laundry and took the dog for a walk. I came home to find no water pressure, no toilet flush, no hand washing. Getting ready to refill the water tanks, I was concerned and confused, because that was not normal and this boat is also 14 years older than when we first met.
Captain B arrived at that very moment and saved the day/the boat/my life! A hose had fallen off the hot water tank, a geyser of water was pumping into the engine room and .... It never dawned on me to go below and check things out. By turning off the water pump and the hot water tank, Captain B stopped the emergency. The bilges are now fresh and clean, and all pumped out once more. Whew! It's time to put my boat-thinking hat on.
Note to self: Stay committed, life is a challenge on every level. Look for the happy spots in each situation. Rejoice, give thanks, pray without ceasing.
Yup, the "garden" of basil, cilantro, mint and amaryllis has been planted. The water and fuel tanks are full. The water maker is commissioned. All systems are tested and we are mostly ready to move further south, first to West Palm Beach and then across to Bimini. Yippee! Winter has officially arrived aboard Steadfast!
Happy New Year, Rosemary