Florida Ice Age – 2018

Thursday January’s 4th, twenty eighteen

The talking heads on TV were full of drama last night as they tried to prepare Floridians for the cold. Breathless exclamations about “wind chills of -1c or 30f. “Protect the three P’s” they said; Plants, Pets and People in that order. Warming shelters are open all over to protect the homeless. They have closed schools, they don’t have enough heating. Video clips showed children on the ground in a skiff of snow making snow angels, in Tallahassee. There was hardly enough snow on the ground to keep sparks from rising as they made their angles into angels.

It was almost eerie as the wind followed the predictions on my IPad. At around 10:00 yesterday the wind would drop from the NEish wind at 15 to 20 to Light and Variable and then jump to NW at 25 gust 35. The eerie part was the instantaneous jump of the wind to the NW. Suddenly it was howling. This NW wind is the pipeline for the cold to flow into Florida. This storm that developed as a Low in the Bahamas is screaming up the East coast. Hurricane force winds (but not a hurricane (no tropical characteristics)) and very significant ocean waves. These waves will create big Northerly swells for us on the beach.

Once the sun rises (if it does) I will rise and report if there is frost on the decks. We did move our basil plant in, we covered it and it was closer to the heater than I was last night.

Yesterday we did part two of provisioning. We found all the pieces required to change Fracas life lines from the old covered cables to Dyneema (Ultra High Modulus Polyethylene) rope.  The 1/4 inch rope is stronger than the cable it replaces. It is a 12 strand hollow rope that you splice with the Brummel splice. For some of the connections I am using purpose built fittings from S.C. Johnson. The first section went fine. I am trying to get the gate right, I’m struggling with getting the proper length. I have to do two splices close together. I’m hoping that the third try will be the charm.

This system allows me to make repairs and replacements on the fly. No swagging or worrying about rust. Adjusting tension is simple, the terminal ends of the lines are lashed to the pulpit and pushpit. Using this type of lifeline requires a little more diligence in inspecting for chafe and wear. They will have a two or three-year life span based on solar deterioration. I will report on their effectiveness as we travel.

We did shop. We picked up some missing items from our list. Another cart full from Publix and Walmart. We picked up rum. I like to have a bottle of sipping whisky on board. This is usually a bottle of a scotch I can’t afford. However, I came across a solitary bottle of Red Breast on the shelf of the Ocean Breezes liquor store in Jensen Beach. Many years ago Mark Whissell shared with me a taste of this smooth Irish Whisky on the berm at Boyles. I’ve had one eye out for it ever since. Hmmmn? It’s 07:15, too early I guess… and once the corks out? Damn, there are rules; *Section 4, subsection a), clause iii) of the cruising sailors handbook “unless subject to snakebite, bug bite, annoying discourse or other malady, the cork shall not be pulled before 11:00 (10:00 if in Bahamas).

I used the gift certificate from Jeni and Evan to complete my fishing ensemble. I just have to put all the pieces together somewhere near where the fish live. I guess I also need a license. That may have to wait until I’m in the Bahamas.

Today we dump the car off and Uber back to the boat. Our weather dependent plan is to get out of here tomorrow. more later

*Brent Masson, Berm poet

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