Editor's note: The following was originally
posted to the Yahoo group "boat
". Dave Hahn, the moderator, has graciously
allowed us to reprint it here.
Camping to Me
It was the end of a long cold
week at work and the weekend forecast had cold and rain all
week end long in store. Took my umbrella and headed out the
building. I had been planning on going boat-camping all week
long and had my boat packed and ready to go on its trailer.
Made it to the van in the parking lot managing
to soak my shoes in a puddle. As I open the door of the van
and got in with my cold wet foot. I did not get upset because
I knew I would be on the road with my boat and on to some really
good boat camping.
The trip home though short was time consuming.
Traffic a 5:00 PM on a Friday with everyone out at the same
time was a bit frustrating. It was already dark and raining
and a full overcast gray and black sky. If it wouldn't have
been for the weather and overcast the street lights would not
have been on yet, I even had to have my headlights on a 5:00
Arrived home and backed into the driveway up to
the garage door. Got out and opened the garage and reviled my
floating camper for the weekend.
My boat was at that time a West Potter 19 I had
bought second hand. I hitched her up and went back to the van
and pulled her out into the dreary dark wet night and closed
the door behind her.
Hooked up the lights and safety chain and went
inside to change. Got in and took off my wet shoe and sock and
the dry one shed my clothes and got into some sweats and my
two piece slicker suit and my rubber boots and got my groceries
together and put them in my ice chest and locked the door behind
me. After getting my ice chest in the van and my self in the
drivers seat I paused for a second and looked out the windshield
and reflected at how great this is going to be.
I only live 35 miles where I wanted to launch
which would normally take only about 45 minutes to get there
but with the way the weather and conditions are I allowed a
hour or more to get there.
Had the road almost to myself and pulled into
the marina and backed up to the launch ramp. Removed my teardown
straps and got in the van and backed up to the water got her
off the trailer and walked her down the dock and tied her to
the pilings. I wet and parked the van. I had already dropped
the ice chest on the ramp so I picked it up and brought it to
the cockpit and put the motor down and started it to let it
No one was around in that weather to collect for
the charges and I had called reserving a slip on the very end
by the bay ahead of time though I do not know why with this
weather and rain the place was deserted and empty. Just the
way I like it. I would settle up when I was ready to leave.
I knew they all knew me anyway so there was not a problem.
I un-tied form the dock and went to the far out
slip there was by the bay entrance. I put bow into the dock
and tied off on two pints on the bow and two on the stern. I
open my locker and retrieved my shore power line and attached
it to my waterproof shore power input on the cabin and went
carefully plug it into the power outlet on the dock I have a
multi plug in for a/s power in the cabin.
Returned to the cockpit where I put up my homemade
boom tent I made out of blue throwaway tarp that I cut and added
grommet eyes to and attached it with some burgee's I had rigged
up for it. I than moved my ice chest and removed the top of
my rain jacket and hung it up under the tent to the boom. I
than opened the hatch and let the bib part of my rain gear fall
to my boots which I step out of and let there fireman style
in the cockpit.
Turned on my dome interior light and reached for
my ice chest and slid it inside and behind the two quarter-births
and re installed the entrence ladder and closed the hatch.
I than got both ceramic heaters I had acquired
and plugged them in to the a/c strip and got them going. I adjusted
the fan and thermostats to high to drive out the dampness and
cold. I have a XM Satellite radio and I plugged it in also.
I than put on some thick socks on top of my cotton ones and
fired up the stove so I could make some hot chocolate.
After just a little bit those heaters had to be
adjusted to low it got hot fast I had to open the hatch and
let in some cold air but I got them adjusted to a comfortable
level and all was right with the world. I took off the lights
and with only the red light of the XM radio and the red glow
of the ceramic heaters as I listened to an old edition of what
I call radio of the mind (old time radio stories) I listened
to the rain poring down and the wind driving it even harder
as I sat warm and snug in my little cocoon with good entertainment
and though tied up at the dock away form it all. This is going
to be such a great weekend get away.
I have made a board that fits between the two
settee births and have a cushion for it that way I can sit up
and stretch across. I found my self realizing I had fallen asleep
and it was 10 PM. got up and went forward to the v-births and
rolled my self up in my heavy flannel blanket. As the wind howled
and the rain raged out side my little warm cocoon and the gentle
rocking of her hull in the water lulled me back to sleep I was
a goner to the Sand Man.
Saturday morning found me stretching and than
lying there listening to the rain and wind. No change it was
still dark and dreary outside. I was warm and toasty in side
and I got up and used my Porto potty tuned to the weather channel
on my XM radio and than to the NOAA radio on my vhf and got
the coffee going, things would be better with coffee.
Sitting up and having coffee I looked out port
and starboard windows but everything was a blur for all the
rain and wind. I finely got enough nerve to open the hatch and
peek out side boy was I stunned by the cold it must be 32 degrees
wind chill out there. This is really cold for the Gulf Coast
of Louisiana. I immediately shut the hatch and grabbed some
more hot coffee. I guess its good to change the air in the cabin
once in a while but I will not be doing that again unless I
have to. I put the heaters a little higher to re warm the cabin
again as I shut down the radio and got out a good book to read.
About noon Saturday it stopped raining and the
wind started picking up. Wind switched to NW and than was blowing
45-50 mph and the tide started really dropping fast.
I realized that I would have to go out and slack
the lines and give my floating camper a little more room to
drop. I turned the heaters to full and opened the hatch and
grabbed m rain gear I waited 30 minutes for them to warm up
(ha-ha). Put them on and a thick watch cap and threaded out
into the cockpit. I decided to remove the tent because I felt
there would be no more rain. And proceeded to slack the lines
which were already straining for some slack.
The tide had already dropped one and a half feet
and was still dropping. I wondered if I would be left high and
dry by morning. I hope not because if it does the centerboard
will come up and restrict my living space in the cabin.
I just a little while my hands were numb. I jumped
into the cabin this time with my rain gear on and closed the
hatch. I could feel the heat blast me as I opened the hatch.
The rubber slicker suit help keep the wind off
me and kept me half way warm. I removed the gear and stowed
it aft under the cabin sole. Got comfy and instead of coffee
I made some hot tea with lemon juice and honey.
There I sat savoring the pleasures of a warm cabin
no phones no communications unless I want to let them in. you
see I have learned that you can get away even if you camp out
in your boat in the garage if necessary it is all a state of
Though I knew I had to go back out tomorrow and
put the boat on the trailer and get back home I was enjoying
right now. Now is what counted to me right than and I was enjoying
now for all it was worth.
That evening I enjoyed a warm soup and crackers
warm snug cabin good radio adventures on theater of the mind
and a good warm night sleep.
Sunday morning I awoke and fixed coffee and looked
out to find most of the marina was dry except the last three
I put on my warm watch cap and slicker suite and
ventured into the cockpit. I was surprised to find I hat to
climb up to the dock to disconnect power and ropes.
Back in the cockpit motor down and running I had
to be careful to come out of the dock and go and stay in the
channel. I raised the centerboard full up came the loading dock
and hit bottom.
Tied off and got the van and loaded the boat on
the trailer. As I pulled out the marina I stopped at the office
which still had not opened. I left an envelope with money and
a note in the slot in the door and rode off with the van heater
on full blast.
I smiled as I pulled away onto the highway home
relaxed and ready to face the world I had been camping I had
gotten away for the weekend and not the weather or any thing
was going to spoil it for me and I was not disappointed.
This may not sound like camping to some, but remember
camping is a stat of mind and this last weekend had been great.