Sunday, 22 January 2012

Just goes to show...You're never too old to make dumb decisions

In the absence of any sailing we're reduced to writing about the shed which is a sort of mixed blessing. The shed I mean. It certainly keeps the wind and elements off us but the ice will form on the inside of the sheeting (and the hull come to that!). On the sheeting it's no big deal except when the temps rise, the ice melts and water drips everywhere. 

As the temps have been consistently below 0C/32F for the last week or so we've had a water free "home". but the downside of this is; the plastic is white so we get no solar benefit and when the sun shines it may still be colder inside the shelter than out!  Wind chill excepted. We've started adding "windows" in an effort to reduce thus effect. We'll see how that works out. A week or so back we were getting ready for another day when a pick-up pulled up outside the shelter. Our good friend Jonathan appeared...Now we've known this guy since the first time we arrived in Belfast in 2004 and when he heard that we'd briefly considered wintering here this time he pulled out all the stops to persuade us this would be a good move....including, it has to be said,  promising to help build the shelter and make us weatherproof. In the end we stayed, he sailed down to Puerto Rica and we built the shelter without his help and guidance (he builds houses for a living). But we're not holding that against him(??) and on this day he turned up with a pick-up bed full of maple, a wood burning stove and the chimney bits needed to make it work. Moments later another friend, Pablo, arrived on a separate mission and together they start putting the thing together. Meanwhile Kenny, who works for Alex the yard owner, turned up and asked Bee if she wanted to be involved in a rescue. As Kenny is a volunteer fireman she had all sorts of scenarios rush through her head and eagerly said "Yes".  "Oh Good! He needs you to drive to Manchester and deliver the spare car keys to him as he's left his in  California some 3000 miles away"...... Sure we'd go, little realising it was a 4 hour drive each way...about what we drive every few years it seems.
Window AND chimney Boy we know how to...
Anyway we did it, going through Greenland on the way. Place names in the US are so familiar but geographically out of kilter to us, Peru, Paris, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Calais...
Anyway we got back to find the chimney gently smoking as the fire had been lit and replenished some 5 hours earlier. What a wonderful homecoming! It is one of the heart warming things about this country that so often the people are so unbelievably kind.

A few days after this I'd lit the fire in the morning and gone off to do something, returned to the shelter to find it smoky and thought I'd left wood too close to the stove. Not so - turned out to be the heat from the stove melting the ice which dropped onto the heat source and turned into steam - our own sauna no less. 

Bee, de-rusting chainplates

Deck in sunshine
There is no doubt about it we have had a mild start to the winter but... the last week or so seemed pretty relentless (for entertainment I'm reading about Shackleton's expedition to Antarctica -it makes me feel warmer...) The last few nights have seen temperatures around -15c or worse which seems pretty cold. Not to those folks from Russia, Finland, Poland etc, who come across these pages or friends in northern bits of Canada but cool enough. On bitterly cold nights we stock up the stove with small bags of coal we make up during the day. That way it keeps going until the early hours and keeps some heat in here. 
Door, hidden away with entrance for Toots too

Friday 19th Jan. Yesterday was one of those days you need to forget. The ground inside the shelter and forward of the boat had turned from a sheet of ice to a lake. Several centimetres deep...I wandered over to the mast shed, collected the industrial wet and dry Vac they have and plugged it in. After I'd emptied the thing twice I realised the water was seeping under the wall and I was attempting to vacuum dry the car park..... I went outside and began chipping through the ice with a pick axe and several hours later had constructed a system of "canals" to drain the water into the sea. By then it was approaching three pm, the strength of the sun had waned and the escaping water had begun to turn into ice......


  1. Brrr.... That sounds very cold, the people up there sound really nice and very kind (but then again so are you two (I remember your donation to me, thanks again) nice post as usual thanks for sharing. fair winds, rob

  2. Blimey! We are tucked up in sunny Florida. Found an AMAZING deal of a marina, $350 a month all in, includes power,wifi,water,and free ice...Guess you don't want anymore of that though...
    Place is full of giant motorboats, guess these rich guys know a deal when they see one.
    Keep warm, I'll look out some woolly socks for you both.

  3. And I thought here was bad - just rain and more rain ! Take care and keep warm