I’m not sure about the title of this post. Here in the south west of England it’s been rain rain and more rain. Transport disruptions, homes damaged, a woman killed by a falling tree. We would perhaps be drier if we had stayed aboard Carina for winter. But here we are, on land for a few months, planning, organising, getting things ready for our next, and even bigger, adventure.
In early November we moved into a house in Exeter. It’s a relatively new house, wind-proofed, weather-proofed, hermetically sealed against the elements. It’s stifling. I’m looking forward to Easter, and to April, when we plan to return to our beloved Carina. This hiatus on land has confirmed that Carina is our home. Not that confirmation was ever needed.
Carina is in Teignmouth now on a six month winter mooring. Julian visited her the weekend before last to make sure she was in good order. The moisture traps had filled up and needed to be replaced, but other than that, she was fine. He has also, over a series of weekends, removed most of our belongings. Many of the items – pots, pans, bedding – we need for day-to-day living, but other items – some books, sailing bits and bobs – have been removed so they don’t get damaged over winter. Doing any work on Carina is difficult at the moment, mainly due to the appalling weather, so for now, Julian will visit her every couple of weeks to check mooring lines, look for evidence of leaky hatches, check for mildew, inspect the sea cocks and bilges, and other little jobs. The big work will come in spring.
When we bought Carina last year her heater was broken beyond repair, so one of our main jobs before we move back aboard is to purchase and install a new heater. Only then will be able to live aboard year-round – in this country or elsewhere. We’ll take her out of the water in spring for her annual anti-foul. Her standing rigging is now twelve years old and will have to be replaced before we set sail for distant shores, and her mainsail needs replacing. Her teak needs to be, variously, varnished or oiled, and the life raft is in need of a service. These are all Julian’s jobs, and so I stand back and let him get on.
Meanwhile, I’m thinking about our living arrangements. Through trial and error, talking to other sailors and reading how other live-aboards do it, I learned a lot over the summer about food storage, about storage of spare bedding, and other items. I’ve discovered the things I can live without (a pizza pan) and the things I can’t (a dictionary), and I have created lists of things that will make our lives more comfortable when we move back aboard. Moby Mouse taught me a lot about food storage, and for that I am grateful!
Grandparents have asked about Christmas presents and we have replied “Lego”. The girls love it, and it will provide hours of entertainment on-board. Although…can I trust the little imps not to throw it down the toilet or block up some vital part of the engine with it? Only time will tell. Other requested Christmas gifts are new sets of foul weather gear for both girls, and I’ve heard a rumour that Aunty Antoinette’s been on the hunt for hats and scarves.
Perhaps the best thing we have removed from Carina for winter is our big glossy oceans book. The girls sit quietly together on the armchair in our living room, the book open on their laps, having conversations about animals they have seen and animals they are yet to see. Lily, in her teacherly voice, points to pictures and says “Kate, that’s Captain Cook”, and “Kate, that’s the Golden Hind” and “Kate, that’s a humpback whale”. Katie nods sagely and says “Yes Lily. I know”. I try not to crack up with laughter, and let them get on with educating each other!