Winter is a Good Time for ………

Winter has finally arrived in Connecticut. So far, it has not been as harsh as the winter of 2013-2014, at least not from what we heard about last winter. We missed that one while we enjoyed the warmth of the Bahamas. It has been cold at times, zero degrees and below, but only a couple minor snowfalls …. until this week. A major “crippling and paralyzing” blizzard was predicted, but it fell somewhat short of that hype in New York and western Connecticut. I don’t mind that the weathermen and the politicians become overexcited and overly cautious. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to Mother Nature, as we sailors surely know. The storm was much worse, a true blizzard, east and north of us. Nantucket, one of our favorite islands, was hit very hard.

It's cold and makes things a bit more challenging, but a New England snowfall can be so pretty, too.

It’s cold and makes things a bit more challenging, but a New England snowfall can be so pretty, too.

SO silly.........

SO silly………

 

The more curious aspect of this blizzard was its two names. Connecticut’s weather folks at WFSB named it “Blizzard Colbie” after Colbie Caillat, while the Weather Channel called the storm “Juno” based on its 2014-2015 list of storm names. Channel surfing among the options left me confused at first – are there two storms? In my humble opinion, the Weather Channel gets to do the naming. Storms don’t recognize state borders, so why should Connecticut name any storm? Silly, silly, silly.

 

A view of the Connecticut River from Riverside Marina in Portland. That's ice out that.

A view of the Connecticut River from Riverside Marina in Portland. That’s ice out there on the water.

This is what boating in New England looks like - wrapped and buried in snow "on the hard."

This is what boating in New England looks like – wrapped and buried in snow “on the hard.”

I don't usually "visit" the boat during the winter, but I wanted to check some measurements. I can't believe Al does this on a regular basis!! It's cold!!

I don’t usually “visit” the boat during the winter, but I wanted to check some measurements. I can’t believe Al does this on a regular basis!! It’s cold!!

It’s a good winter to be home, for us. We missed our children and grandchildren last Christmas and enjoyed every moment of Christmas Eve with them this year.

What a special Christmas Eve it was.

What a special Christmas Eve it was.

We just had to have a group photo, but between timers on cameras and wiggling grandchildren, it became quite a challenge!

We just had to have a group photo, but between timers on cameras and wiggling grandchildren, it became quite a challenge!

We are vicariously enjoying the cruising life  through our many friends who have made the trip south again. Emails, phone calls, Facebook, and blogs keep us in touch. And when they have AIS, we can even watch their progress until they cross over to the Bahamas. Is that considered stalking??

AIS on Marine Traffic and Vessel Finder websites.

AIS on Marine Traffic and Vessel Finder websites.

Winter is a good time for going to the movies (“Imitation Game”) and enjoying a quiet evening with Downton Abbey on PBS.  Reading is just as good in the winter as it is in the summer on the boat. I have been consuming books at an alarming rate.

Al's kind of reading - "Trawler Trash, Confessions of a Boat Bum". Notice his new coffee mug? It says "I SIP DIESEL"

Al’s kind of reading – “Trawler Trash, Confessions of a Boat Bum”. Notice his new coffee mug? It says “I SIP DIESEL”

But Al rarely sits still long enough to read. Winter is his favorite time to “rip and restore” when it comes to boats. I try to avoid visiting the boat during this time because the sight is just too much for me to absorb. But sometimes I need to check something or measure …… See what I mean —–

The boat is ripped apart, things everywhere, tools everywhere. A mess!!

The boat is ripped apart, things everywhere, tools everywhere. A mess!! The truth is that by spring, he will have it all neat and tidy again; and very much improved.

There are some very major projects underway, but I will save those photos and details for later when everything is put back together and complete. We call this the “Trawler Transformation.” Al’s projects include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Flybridge enclosure (Nautical Needles in Westbrook, CT)
  • Helm seat re-design (wait until you see what Al designed for this!)
  • Anchor locker re-design
  • Holding tank/toilet improvements
  • Electrical and electronic upgrades
  • Transmission, cutlass bearing and prop overhaul
  • Guest cabin renovation
  • Galley renovation
  • Salon redecorating

In addition to electrical, mechanical, fiberglass, and carpentry projects, there are sewing projects underway —

Al has his own sewing machine for heavy duty tasks with canvas. He made  an aft cockpit enclosure.

Al has his own sewing machine for heavy duty tasks with canvas. The sailboat was very well outfitted with “garments” sewn by him. The trawler now has an  aft cockpit enclosure.

I am making new curtains for the salon. The old beige palm motif ones just didn't appeal to me. I chose a shell design in blue. Hopefully not too "shellfish."

I am making new curtains for the salon. The old ones were beige with a palm motif. Although in good shape, they  just didn’t appeal to me. After spending hours looking at fabric and ordering swatches, I finally selected a shell design in blue. Hopefully it is not too “shell-ish.”

We used the existing mirror in the guest cabin for the head (bathroom) because there was none there (imagine that.)  We really liked a mirror framed in shells at our friends’ house in Maine and decided to create a version for ourselves. Al made the teak frame and I arranged beach finds around it. There is no shortage of shells, coral, stones, and sea glass in our house. Snow Storm Juno provided a perfect day for the project. As the snow fell outside, I imagined myself back on the beach picking up these treasures.

The dining room table became the work space, covered in beach finds, collected over the years, from New England, St. John, and the Bahamas.

The dining room table became the work space, covered in beach finds, collected over the years, from New England, St. John, and the Bahamas. I even included 15 pieces of sea glass and I rarely use my sea glass for anything, preferring to keep it in bowls and jars.

The finished mirror!! Thank you to Sam and Kayda for the idea!

The finished mirror!! Thank you to Sam and Kayda for the idea!

The months are passing by quickly between the projects, our part-time jobs, and just enjoying life. In just three more months, it will be boating season again!! Stay tuned for more on the “Trawler Transformation.”

I’ll end this post with a photo of model lighthouses constructed by 2nd graders in the school where I tutor. They weren’t intentionally designed to be the Elbow Cay Lighthouse, but those red and white stripes caught my eye as I passed by he library.

I was passing by the library when the red and white stripes caught my eye - memories of the Elbow Cay Lighthouse!

Memories of the Elbow Cay Lighthouse