Yesterday the outdoor thermometer at the marina was at 30 degrees when I took the pup out at about 7:30AM. By early afternoon the temperature had risen to just shy of 60 degrees. But once night fell the cold set right back in and come 8:00PM we were at the freezing mark. I pulled out one of the work lights, plugged it in, and set it on top of the engine. There is a light socket in the engine room, but I haven't figured out how to switch it on; it would be much easier to use that than to run work lights in there. I filled the water tank today though the marina owner said he won't turn off the dockside water until it gets consistently colder. I go through a tank of water in about two weeks, so it would be nice to at least get to the next fill-up before having to run a hose from the bathhouse. The boat is pretty chilly and an upgrade to a heated mattress pad will need to happen sooner than later. I could just sleep on the settee in the salon, where it is warmer, but it's so much nicer to be able to stretch out in the large v-berth.
Tides are my enemy now. The tide dropped so far yesterday I had to go loosen up lines that needed to be tightened the day before because the winds were whipping. Those same winds blew the water out of the bay and left us pretty dry in the marina. I could see the barnacles on the exposed portions of the bottom and the few inches of rudder sticking out above the waterline.
Pup dog does not like going ashore when we have very low tides because her ramp is at such a steep angle. I sat next to the ramp yesterday to reassure her and told her it'd be fine. I may have spoken too soon. Just when her front paws hit the dock the ramp slipped backwards towards the boat and off the dock. It's tied to some eye-bolts so it won't fall into the water, but it does end up hanging down several inches below the dock when it falls off. I kept telling her I'm sorry but that she's OK and she's so brave. I tightened up the aft spring line to keep the boat from moving forward and tightened up the stern lines, as well, though the boat wasn't really able to move around much being stuck in the mud. When I tried to get her back aboard she just looked at the ramp, looked at me, and then laid down in the grass in protest. She gave me a plaintive but determined stare telling me she was terrified of the ramp, didn't want to be in trouble with me, but also had no intention of moving an inch. Poor girl. I got some treats, showed her that I was holding the ramp and that it was firmly planted. After some coaxing and false starts, she scrambled down the ramp to plenty of praise and treats.
I usually ignore the many emails I receive from West Marine but yesterday's one-day-only deal was too good to pass up. 25% off the chart plotter I had been coveting. Touch screen. NMEA 2000 plug and play. Built-in GPS. Pre-loaded with US Coastal and northern Bahamas charts and able to take additional charts via SD card. Once I can afford an anemometer and a radar, they are easily hooked up to the unit. I may route my depth sounder's data to it or I may wait and add a newer transducer later on to add the sonar to the chart plotter display. So, I raided a good chunk of my little "cruising fund" built up from the sale of most of my worldly possessions, but having a real marine chart plotter will be a major convenience when cruising. And once I add on radar I will feel more comfortable on the water at night and in heavy rain or fog. This is my biggest single purchase for the boat since buying the boat. Now I just have to install it!
I'm still not sure where I'll be at the end of this month. I should be running a marathon after Thanksgiving and an ultra in December for which I am woefully undertrained. I may be here, running, drinking "special cocoa" with peppermint schnapps, wintering over in Annapolis. I may be sailing to Hawaii and beyond. I may be donning foulies to take the boat to southern climes. I simply don't know. And that's just fine by me.
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