Our return to Florida is looming.  We can stay here only a few more weeks and still have Tanya back in time for her midwife to oversee the last 2 months.  I think we’re ready to go in all respects, except one.  It’s friggin’ cold in Florida.  Lows have been in the 30's in Bradenton for the last few nights.  Was winter this cold when we lived in a house and we just didn’t notice, or have the last two been especially bad?  

Here it is in the 70’s pretty consistently.  We’ve figured out that is the charm of George Town.  We’re in the tropics.  That’s why there are 150 boats here now, more arrive every day, and there will probably be 400+ by March.  I’d almost rather be cold than see 400 boats here.  Just kidding.  

I plotted a route back to Tampa Bay the other day and it came to 561 nautical miles.   Man, that’s a long way.  I don’t remember going that far to get here.  It will probably take 3-4 days of non-stop travel to get back.  So far we haven't spent more than one night underway at a time, and we're generally exhausted afterward.  The good news is that the prevailing winds should push us the whole way.

The bad news is that the boat is not set up for the cold weather we'll find when we get there.  We were miserable last winter, running electric space heaters and sleeping upstairs.  We can’t reasonably supply enough power for the space heaters; we'd need to be plugged into a dock to stay warm.  We haven’t been plugged in for over 6 months and we’re not really in a hurry to be again.

We don’t really want to be anywhere it is cold enough that we’d need heaters anyway.  But Florida is proving too cold for us, and we’re not ready to say we’re going to flee Florida every winter, so the boat needs heat.  
Therefore, the first order of business when we get back will be to put in a forced air diesel heater in the main cabin.  It should only use about a gallon a day and will help us cope with the cold when away from the dock.  Replacing the air conditioners might be on the summer project list, and we’ll be sure to put in reverse cycle units to use when we are plugged in.

We’ll still have to put away the bathing suits and get out the long pants and jackets.