Ravensdale and snow on the iced-over water at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK
Freezing temperatures and a dusting of snow this morning (Friday) made us very grateful for our super efficient heating system on Ravensdale.
However cold it gets outside, we’re always lovely and warm on board our 43ft Neptunus 133.
People who haven’t stayed on a boat in cold weather always ask how we manage to keep warm when the temperature plummets.
They seem to think us liveaboards are all going to freeze to death during the winter, but thankfully that hasn’t happened to us yet 😊
And it will never happen, as long as our heating doesn’t pack up as happened in January 2016 when we were without heat for a whole month. Now, that was cold!
Meanwhile, we’ve been unable to take the boat out on the water this week and this time it was not due to the weather as we’ve had a couple of lovely calm days.
It was because the timing of the high tides meant the sea gate was not open at times we would’ve wanted to go out on the Solway Firth in Cumbria, UK.
Freezing outside but lovely and warm inside
Frost on the pontoon and Ravensdale's mooring ropes yesterday (Thursday) morning
Wednesday night into yesterday (Thursday) morning was the coldest night so far this winter with the temperature falling to -3.2C (26F).
The untreated pontoons were very slippery first thing on Thursday morning but, we’d seen the forecast for ice, so Phil salted the one leading from Ravensdale to the ramp the previous night, which meant it was safe to use in the morning.
The frosty pontoon from Ravensdale to the ramp to the marina facilities
And last night it was bitterly cold again with the mercury falling to -2.1C (28F).
We awoke this morning to a light dusting of snow, which had turned the pontoons white and settled on the patches of ice on the surface of the marina water.
It all looked very pretty. So much so that I just had to take my camera for a little walk around the marina before I went up for my shower in the marina’s toilet and shower block.
Snow and ice on the water by the marina slipway
I was going to wait until afterwards but thought the snow and ice could’ve disappeared, or at least been less impressive, by the time I had finished showering.
Having said that, the snow could hardly be classed as impressive, given that it was just a sprinkling, but we don’t get a lot of snow here in Maryport, Cumbria, so I just had to get some photographs of it 😊
Patches of snow and ice at Maryport Marina (Ravensdale is on the far end of the second pontoon)
I love the cold, bright conditions this type of weather brings but, whenever the temperature drops, we’re always very thankful for our Webasto 5 diesel heater that keeps us toasty inside our floating home.
The Webasto 5 diesel heater that keeps us warm on board Ravensdale
We also run a small fan heater in the aft cabin for a short while before going to bed and before we get up in the morning.
A dehumidifier used for about an hour night and morning keeps the cabin dry and aired.
And our electric blanket is worth its weight in gold.
Happiness is a warm, dry bed 😊
No chance to take Ravensdale out on the water
Ravensdale on the Solway Firth last month
We've only been able to take Ravensdale out onto the Solway Firth once so far this year.
Initially, we were waiting for the exhaust elbow for her port engine to be welded.
Phil refitted it as soon as we got it back, then we had to wait for calm weather.
We went out fishing on January 20, then waited for the wind to drop sufficiently for our next outing.
There was one day last week when we considered going but thankfully decided against due to the marina being iced over and, as it happens, we couldn’t have gone anyway as the marina gate remained closed while a fault was fixed.
Since then, it has either been too windy or the gate has been closed at the times we would’ve wanted to go out.
The sea gate at Maryport Marina that keeps water in the marina when the tide is out
Wednesday of this week was a lovely calm day, but the tide times meant we would’ve either had to go out very early, very late or stay out all day, which we don’t want to do until our staffie pup, Ruby, has become more used to going out on the boat.
The gate is only open for about two and a half hours either side of high tide and the high tides on Wednesday were at 07:13 and 19:47.
Oh well, at least Ravensdale is seaworthy and ready to go as soon as we get an opportunity to cast off our mooring ropes and head out of the gate.
Our portable generator
Phil decided to test our portable generator this week as it hadn’t been used since the last time Ravensdale was out of the marina over two tides in mid-November.
And we were very pleased to discover that it was still working well.
He let it run for a while then topped it up with petrol so it’s ready to go when we need it again.
Ruby’s new lifejacket
Ruby in her lifejacket on Ravensdale's foredeck
Our Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy, Ruby, is also ready for our next trip out on Ravensdale.
Her new K9 Pursuits high visibility lifejacket arrived and she’s getting used to wearing it.
The first time I tried to put it on her, she fought like crazy and seemed really annoyed with me for making her wear it – or it could’ve been that she just didn’t want to have her photo taken again 😊
She hid under the table and refused to come out when she saw my camera.
If looks could kill, I wouldn’t be here anymore 😊
Ruby out on the pontoons in her lifejacket
This time, I managed to get it on her without too much of a struggle and she seemed happier wearing it, so I took her out for a little walk around the marina.
I then let her walk around the boat in it and she seemed to forget she was wearing it, which was good.
The plan is to put it on her from time to time so she gets used to it before we take the boat out again when she will be wearing it whenever she is up on deck.
Ruby running around Ravensdale in her new lifejacket
Ruby also had her first visit to the beach this week and totally loved it.
We let her run off the lead, and she was very happy clambering over the rocks and running on the wet sand.
Ruby and Phil on the beach at Maryport
Ruby picks up a piece of seaweed on the beach
She also met a few other dogs, including a black Labrador, called Molly, who I know to be a calm, well-behaved dog.
Her owner said he wouldn’t let Molly have her ball in case Ruby tried to go for it as Molly would let her know what she thought of that.
We said to give her ball and let Ruby get a telling off as she needed to learn how to behave around other dogs.
Ruby went for it and Molly warned her off in no uncertain terms. The next time Molly’s ball came near Ruby she gave it a wide berth so that was one lesson learnt 😊
When Ruby met Molly
When Molly wasn’t around, Ruby enjoyed playing with her own ball.
Phil and Ruby playing ball on the beach
We really want Ruby to be well socialised so we’re very pleased that she’s met lots of dogs and people this week.
Ruby sitting on the top step watching the rain
She’s less happy coming down them and asks to be lifted down if either of us is close but will do them herself if not.
She’s still sleeping really well – going to bed without the slightest objection when we go to bed and not making a sound until we get up the following morning.
Saturday night into Sunday was a very windy night with lots of rocking, creaking mooring ropes and fenders slapping against the side of Ravensdale’s hull.
Phil got up in the early hours to investigate a metallic clanging sound but couldn’t see the cause. We think it may have been the guardrail hitting our metal boarding steps, which is right next to Ruby’s bed in her cage, but she slept right through all the noise.
Cold, bright weather has encouraged me to get out with my camera even more than usual over the past week.
On Sunday, I took my camera around to the shore here in Maryport in the morning and again in the afternoon.
Maryport shore at low tide with Robin Rigg wind farm in the distance
Marport's south pier at low tide
Maryport's north pier in a choppy sea
Maryport from across the basin at high tide
Another view of Maryport Marina
Ravensdale at Maryport Marina
I took more photos along the shore on Monday and Tuesday.
Looking back along south pier at Maryport towards the town
Maryport shore with the Scottish hills on the far side of the Solway Firth
Maryport's south pier and the Scottish hills
A gull perching on a post on Maryport pier
And, on Tuesday, the sky over the marina coloured up in lovely shades of pink and mauve at sunset so I just had to pop out onto the pontoons and grab a few shots.
Sunset over Maryport Marina
Maryport Marina building at sunset
On Wednesday morning, I persuaded Phil to stop the car so I could take a few photos of snow on the distant hills when we drove over to our storage unit near Cockermouth to put our festive decorations away until next Christmas.
Snow on the hills in north Cumbria
Sheep grazing in a field with snowy hills in the distance
Another view of snow on the hills
The A66 Workington to Keswick road with snow on the hills beyond
During Wednesday afternoon and yesterday (Thursday) afternoon, I took more photos along
Maryport shore and pier at low tide
Maryport shore looking towards Iggesund paperboard mill at Workington
Reflections at Maryport Marina
More reflections at Maryport Marina
An unusual yellow cloud over the Solway Firth at Maryport
And today (Friday) I took my camera over to the harbour here in Maryport to get some shots of the fishing boats with a light dusting of snow around the tops of the harbour walls.
A sprinkling of snow at Maryport Harbour
Snow at Maryport Harbour
Another view of snow at Maryport Harbour
Last weekend was very windy with gusts of up to 60mph, but the weather became a lot calmer when the temperature dropped on Monday.
Saturday was a grey and windy day. It stayed dry during the morning with heavy rain during the afternoon. The temperature reached 7.7C (46F) and the top average wind speed was 28mph, gusting 37mph.
Overnight Saturday into Sunday was very windy with a top average wind speed of 39mph, gusting 55mph.
Waves whipped up by high winds breaking on the shore at Maryport on Sunday
It continued very windy during Sunday with the average wind speed reaching 40mph, gusting 60mph, at 8am. It was a dry and bright day but feeling cold in the northerly and north westerly wind.
Monday was dry and cold with a clear blue sky. The daytime temperature reached 4C (39F) and the top average wind speed was 13mph.
Sunshine at Maryport Marina on Monday
There was a heavy downpour during the evening.
I don’t know whether it continued throughout the night but it was raining first thing on Tuesday and carried on until lunchtime.
The same view of Maryport Marina in grey cloud on Tuesday afternoon
The weather then brightened up a little but there was still a lot of cloud around.
The top daytime temperature was 3.7C (39F) at 8am and it got colder as the day went on. The top average wind speed was 17mph.
Overnight Tuesday into Wednesday was a very cold night and we woke up to frost-covered pontoons, which Phil salted to make them safer. The temperature overnight dropped to -0.5C (31F).
It was dry, sunny, calm and cold all day on Wednesday with a top temperature of 3.5C (38F) and the top average wind speed was 8mph.
Reflections in the calm water at Maryport Marina on Wednesday
Wednesday night into yesterday (Thursday) was even colder than previous nights.
In fact, it was the coldest night of the winter so far with the temperature registering below zero all night and plummeting to -3.2C (26F) at 8am.
Yesterday was another cold, bright, sunny day. The temperature only reached 2.5C (36.5F) and was back below zero by 5pm. The top average wind speed was 15mph.
Last night (Thursday/Friday) the temperature fell to -2.1C (28F) and the average wind speed reached 16mph.
We awoke this morning to icy patches on the surface of the marina water and a light dusting of snow.
Cold and bright conditions at Maryport Marina this morning (Friday)
Today (Friday) the weather was bright, sunny and very cold with a top temperature of 1.9C (35F) and a top average wind speed of 21mph.