Friday, January 30, 2009

Winter: Life on the dock

A recent email from Angela aboard Ghost, just across the dock from us, included this sentence: "We miss you guys. Can't wait for summer so we can have more gatherings."

G-dock, where we are moored, has 64 slips. At least 14 of them currently have liveaboards in them (the Marina arbitrarily holds the number of liveaboard slips to 20% of the total, or about 300). And in the spring, summer and fall, folks are outside a lot. There is almost always someone working on something, with a couple of beer-equipped guys "supervising". People are coming and going. People are sitting in their cockpits, or on deck, "Like crows on a wire" to quote Art from Phoenix Rising (pictured above, working on something). Everyone shouts hello as folks go by. There's always a BBQ going on at least one of the boats, and a trip down the dock to shore can take a long time because there are so many folks to talk to. Spontaneously (or at least it seems that way to me), a dock party will spring into existence - everyone contributes a dish, and its BYOB and lawnchair, and we spend the evening enjoying each other's company.

Ah, but not in the winter. In the winter, the trip down the dock is a lonely, dark affair. No one is outside. All are down below in our cozy bubbles of warm dry air. Lighted ports mark the boats that are liveaboards, but there are no laughing voices in evenings of these short-daylight days. To be sure, when the winter storms come, people are out checking each other's dock lines, and it is possible that the comment shouted in the howling wind might be the only face-to-face contact you have with that person for a month.

But we do communicate. Strange as it seems, I call the people in the boat next door to us on the cell phone, using an entire electronic system to bridge a distance of just a few feet. And we exchange email. And like Angela, we are all waiting for the longer days and warmer weather.

Reading back thru this, it is unrealistically dreary. There are dinners, and there is shared wine. There are occasional contacts with folks as we see each other in the parking lot. But it takes summer to bring everyone out.

It is coming.

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