Monday, October 4, 2010

Weather awareness

Modern man has moved a long way from living the way our distant (and maybe not so very distant) ancestors did.  Living in our houses, apartments and condos, we have effectively isolated ourselves from weather.  We move from our conditioned houses to our conditioned cars and then to our conditioned offices.  Only briefly are we exposed to the weather.

But there is nothing more real, more natural than the weather.  It is the condition of the Earth, it is our environment.

Living on a boat, you are much more aware of it.

Here in Puget Sound, when the wind is from the North, fair weather is in the offing.  Typical for summer weather, it is calm in the morning.  As the land heats up under the sun, the air over the land rises.  Cool air from the Sound moves onto the land (the "sea breeze") to replace that rising air.  On the Sound itself, a building river of air flows in, building thru the day as  the land continues to heat.  By evening, the North wind can reach 20 kt.  But with the sunset, the heat source is gone, and the engine driving this process shuts down.

But when the wind is from the South, typically it brings the foul weather - storms, rain, snow.

Winds from the East or West are abberations, and rarely occur.

And on the dock, Eolian faces North.  We only get to tie her on one side, which means that wind out of the North, East, or South will have her squeezing her fenders against the dock, typically in a rhythmic fashion, since the wind always brings waves too.  When the wind is strong the mast, tho bare, comes into play, tossing back and forth, rocking the boat, and adding its own sounds.

You are always aware of the wind; you know when it is blowing, how strongly it is blowing, and from which direction it is blowing.

If it brings rain, you know that too - that deck above your head is a drum - anything above a fine mist makes enough noise to be heard.  (And even mist collects on the rigging, making fat drops that fall intermittently to the deck.)

Surprisingly, even snow can be heard - it sounds kind of like sizzling. 

It comes down to a preposition.  Tho we are just as comfortable as our land-locked neighbors, living on a boat is living in the weather, while living in a house is living away from the weather. 

Just like there is something indescribable that calls people to the seashore, that provides comfort and solace when sitting before a fire, being in the weather (but protected from it) just feels inexplicably right.

I like it.  



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3 comments:

Drew Frye said...

Captain, to the helmsman: "Taker her into the wind. We are hoisting the main sail."

Lubberly helmsman: "Which way is that?" Lubberly helmsman seems puzzled by the captains stunned visage.

Anonymous said...

"...living on a boat is living in the weather..."

Having lived aboard several vessels (65 ft. schooner with leaking teak decks; 41 ft. ketch..) I like that comment very much.

It is one of the reasons I enjoyed, and hope to return to, living aboard a boat (sailboat in particular). You feel 'connected' to nature, the weather, the water, and sea life.

Thank you for your pithy posts..;)

bob said...

Anonymous: Thanks very much! Although not all of the posts are pithy...

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