This winter has been remarkably mild until this weekend, with Jonas' dramatic swirl across the east coast. So with a diet coke in hand and a sunny spot on deck to write, I wanted to break down how we're surviving -- and legitimately enjoying -- #davidsnowie aboard.
First, I freaked out a little.
Starting on Wednesday, I began getting texts from friends, concerned about whether we were going to make it through this storm. The initial blogs from Slate's meteorologist predicted a storm surge of up to 9 feet, which would put our docks within inches of pylon tops. The docks could float away. I immediately looked into making a hotel reservation and peacing out for the weekend, but Jon wasn't having it. Apparently he's a go-down-with-the-boat sort. I am not.
After a brief moment of marital discord, we agreed to stick it out on the boat this weekend, with a backup plan if the boat literally began to float away. Luckily the storm surge forecasts were reigned in within the next 24 hours for our area, so all that was left to debate was the scale of our general trepidation.
Monster storm surges aside, being on a boat is ideal for apocalyptic scenarios. We have more than 30 gallons of water onboard. We're well protected from wind and rough seas in our marina. Non-catastrophic flooding doesn't really affect us. We have DC power should the power go out. And we're well-stocked with booze. Jon also bought us each a whistle, in case we slipped off the dock and into the water. (Next time, I'm ordering some of these guys to strap to the bottom of my boots so that slipping will be a non-issue. Jon thinks they look silly. That's fine. I will laugh at him when he falls over and I don't.)
Our wise longtime liveaboard neighbors also advised us to pick up a few other things just in case -- an indoor propane heater and generator in case the power went out and we couldn't run our floor heaters. We couldn't get the generator in time, so another set of marina friends, who write the awesome blog, Sailing Chance, lent us theirs. After hearing from friends in Baltimore that they were without power and heat for hours yesterday, I plan to get a set of portable propane heaters for any land-based house I live in during the future.
Then we settled in to brave the storm, in the way you do when you don't entirely believe it will be a big deal and fear that it actually will be.
For once, the storm was not a joke.
We expected to get between 2 to 20 inches of snow. We periodically took turns punching the plastic wrapping around our boat to knock off the inches of snow accumulating on top of it.
The snow was thigh-high on me by 4 p.m. The marina store had a run on all its liquor, selling more in one day than it had all month. The news reports gave up predicting inches and just left the regular updates at "more than 25 inches". Workers, brought in to shovel snow, were sent home because it was coming down faster than they could shovel it. We liveaboards were left on our own for the night, and it felt like an adventure.
So what are a bunch of boaters left to do? Throw a storm party, of course! A boat neighbor invited whatever brave souls were willing to trek to his soiree-sized boat for wine, prosciutto and cheese. An ideal winter's night but the mid-storm walk was wild.
There were some wildly salty sailing stories exchanged, and there may have been a Queen singalong. Let's leave it at that.
Sometime between when we arrived and the fifth or sixth bottle of wine, the snow stopped.
We emerged to see that everything had remained copacetic. The power never went out, and neither did our internet. Only Honey was truly traumatized, during the two walks she had to take in the storm.
Today we awoke to a gorgeous snowscape and an army of people ready to dig us out. But even better, the sun had completely heated our deck, so that I can write this while hanging out in a t-shirt and bare feet. It's so warm I'm a little schvitzy.