Well, that's it.

December 10th, a dreary cloudy day with temperature in the 40's (Fahrenheit).

We had several nights of below freezing temperatures, which raised my fears that Harmony would become ice-locked before I could take her to the boatyard to be hauled for the winter. Ice formed on the Browns River overnight, but melted during the day.

When I got to Harmony, I put on my Mustang suit, which is a full body exposure/PFD (personal flotation device). It's a great suit to have when you are single-handing on an abandoned bay on the verge of winter. If you fall overboard, you'll have 30 more minutes to contemplate that you are going to die. Needless to say, I give real thought to going sailing at this time of year. However, the wind was fair and the bay pretty calm. So I did it.

It's always a poignant moment for me. Everything is different. Instead of broiling in the sun, I have to worry about slipping on an icy deck.

Ice On The Deck

Even though the bay was mostly empty, the working boats are still out there. Tony's barge, for example.

Barge Still Working

Although humans head ashore for some familial huddling and cuddling, there are still natural sights to see, some that you won't see in the summer. Here is a flock of brants, which visit Long Island in the winter.

Brants Over Great South Bay

It was a short sail. I didn't want to push my luck. By way of reinforcing this notion, as I dropped my sails outside Browns River, the Suffolk County Marine Police Kappa boat happened by. The crew asked me if I was in peril. I shouted over that I was not and that I had just finished my last sail of the season. I imagine that they had some colorful descriptives for me, but they were polite.

A moment after they left, my outboard cut out. I'm not sure why, but it did give me an anxious moment before I restarted it.

Heading back up the Browns River on my way to Westin's dock, I passed the Land's End catering hall. With it's colorful awnings removed and summer flowers dead or sleeping, it looked pretty dreary.

Lands End In Fall

Too soon, it was time to tie up at the dock, waiting to be hauled the next day.

In Line For Hauling

There are a few times during the sailing season when I have a conversation with Harmony. The first is when I finish my winter work just prior to her Spring launching. When I arrive at the boat yard to move her to my slip, I greet her for the season. During the sailing days, there are times when I can't hold back my exhilaration. It usually accompanies a caress of her coaming. When I bring her to the dock at the end of the season, my words are those of thanks for taking care of me and a promise that it's now my turn to take care of her.

Here she is in dry dock. Winter work will include the usual osmotic blister repair (already started) , laundering and repairing her sails, a new depth sounder, waxing the hull, and wood work that I've been neglecting. In a few months, we'll be back on the water again. Check back the end of March. Maybe I'll have new photos.

Harmony In Dry Dock