No-one really dreams of a wet Christmas, but we may be in for one this year. As I write this, rain is pelting down on the steel deck above my head, making a lovely ringing sound—or are those sleigh bells? No, it’s way too early.
Though we had hoped to be in the Bahamas for Christmas, it looks like we’ll be in Florida, waiting for the right weather window to cross the Gulf Stream—and for a new compressor for our fridge.
The compressor is easy—a two-hour drive to West Palm Beach to pick one up (and lunch at my favourite French café there…) then two hours back and many hours of poor Chris with his head in the cabinet beneath the sink while he installs it. I see some skinned knuckles in his future.
The weather, well, there’s nothing we can do about the weather. There is a massive storm system coming through today, bringing heavy rain and a band of “strong to severe” thunderstorms, whatever that means. I’m sure it’s bad. The storm system is dragging a cold front behind it with gale-force winds. The marine forecast calls for “very rough” conditions on the intracoastal waterways, something we’ve never seen before. “Light chop” is the norm in these protected waters. And Chris Parker, our weather savant, is describing the conditions offshore as “horrendous.”
So we’re actually glad we’re still in the boat yard today, up on stands and tied securely to, well, palm trees. For some reason the boat yard workers, who really know what they’re doing here, have untied us from our mafia blocks—huge rectangles of concrete they tie boats to during the hurricane season. But the palm trees look pretty sturdy.
We’ve reviewed our “what to do if the boat starts to tip over” strategy just in case—well, I have. Chris says it will never happen. My plan is to wedge myself into the V-berth where nothing heavier than a pillow or a roll of paper towel will fall on me and to try to remember to point my feet in the direction we’re falling. What do you think? Sound like a plan?
Florida is a weird place to be at Christmas time. The holiday decorations have a decidedly tropical bent—hula Santa is our favourite, outside a motel along the highway here in Titusville. The garden centres have all the usual lush, flowering plants and trees as well as Christmas trees and truly magnificent poinsettias.
Yesterday, the cashier in the grocery store was humming “White Christmas” as she scanned can after can of chick peas, jumbo packages of toilet paper, many bags of pasta and yes, a few bags of nacho cheese Doritos. We’ve been stocking up on non-perishables—there are only a few supermarkets in the Bahamas, and they are in places we try to avoid, like Nassau.
“Have you ever seen snow?” Chris asked her.
“No. Well, yes. On TV.”
Fortunately, we had a bit of white Christmas in Ontario before we left the farm, so much snow the last few days we were there that we weren’t sure we were going to be able to make it out the unplowed road to the highway. But we did.
The weather forecast was right. It’s raining harder now. The boat yard will be ankle deep in water by the end of the day. In weather like this, it feels pretty good to be living in an ark.
With any luck, the weather will clear once the front moves through and we’ll get the boat launched and be at anchor somewhere on Christmas day. Maybe we’ll find some coconuts and play a little bocce on the beach before settling in to a dinner of fresh crab cakes and a glass of prosecco.
However you spend it, may your day be merry and bright, and may your Christmas be white.
Or at least not wet.