Living Aboard a Boat Marine Weather

"Board" Yet?

Thursday, October 16, 2014S.V. CAMBRIA

Cruising the Pacific Northwest isn’t all fun and games.  It can be pretty challenging.  Especially this time of year.  And two of the biggest issues we face during the late-season are bad weather and filling the time:  The days are shorter, colder and a lot wetter so it’s not unusual to find ourselves huddled down below decks trying to stay warm and dry . . . which can leave us with a lot of time on our hands.

And that’s what brings us to Tod Inlet – the weather.  A strong Pacific frontal system is headed our way promising to bring gale-force southeast winds and plenty of rain.  We won’t see much of the wind in Tod Inlet; it’s a veritable hurricane hole (though its real claim to fame is that it borders the world-famous Butchart Gardens).  But we will see the rain, which means plenty time inside. 

So how do we stave off cabin fever?

Here are a few of our tried and true ways to pass rainy days at anchor:

  • Weather:   This is a daily job all season long but takes more time and consideration once the Pacific High starts to break down and we begin to see the lows move in from Southeast Alaska.  Environment Canada updates their forecast four times during the course of the day, and it’s not unusual to see studying at least three of them for any changes.

  • Boat Jobs:  Rainy days are a good opportunity to attack a boat job that’s been lingering in the background:  cleaning the boat, oiling the woodwork, going through inventory, fixing the heater.

  • Writing:    Writing a blog takes a lot of time, but it’s something I love doing.  So, the days when I’m not distracted by the kayak or a hike, you can find me sitting the computer working on one thing or another. 

  • Sirius Radio:      We’re serious about our radio.  Whether it’s music (always classic rock and blues), politics (I’m a big MSNBC fan), sports (ESPN’s World Cup coverage got us through a lot of boring passages this summer), or a stand-up comedian on Laugh USA, it’s on for hours filling the boat with noise, laughter and life. 

  • Knitting:   I’m a big knitter.  Or at least I used to be.  Not only is it a great hobby for the boat because it’s compact, but it’s easy to spend hours working on a project without even realizing it.

  • Guitars:    David has three aboard and they all get plenty of play, especially on rainy days (and sleepless nights).

  • Baking:     This one’s a triple threat.  Not only does it pass the time, but it warms up the boat and results in a very happy husband . . . especially if it involves chocolate.

  • Puzzles:    Not the jigsaw variety (but those are good, too!) but KenKen and Sudoku are great for passing a half hour here and there.

  • Reading:   We don’t read as much as we used to, but we still keep a few books aboard and the iPad’s library is always stocked. 

  • Route Planning:    It's never too soon to start thinking about next season as far as I'm concerned, especially on days when I need to be reminded why we're doing this.  So, spending an hour or two reading through cruising guides looking for places we may have overlooked or studying new areas is a good (and productive) way to pass a rainy afternoon.  

  • Napping:   Nothing passes the time on a rainy day as quickly as a good nap.  Need I say more?

  • Board Games:    We have a full complement on Cambria (and more in storage), but our favourite has to be Rummikub because it works well with two players and changes each time you play (sort of).  But we also have more traditional games like Scrabble, Risk, Monopoly and Yatzee.  Then there’s backgammon, Qwirkle, Quiddler, Phase 10 and, of course, good old regular cards – Gin, Solitaire, Cribbage.  But when all else fails, or one of us doesn’t feel like playing, we have plenty of game apps on the iPad. 

  • Movies:     We LOVE watching movies and find them to be a great way to break up the monotony of (what can sometimes be) a very long day.  The truth is, though, we watch one every night come rain or come shine. 

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