Tropical Winter Chills

by Gary Carlson

Alaska's balmy north coast

Alaska's balmy north coast

It is winter here in the Caribbean. Technically we have the same seasons as anywhere north of the equator, although they are not as distinct as the common four we know. Growing up in Washington State there were four very definite seasons; fall, winter, spring, and summer. Here on Roatan, and much of the tropics, the seasons are condensed into a dry season encompassing most of spring, summer, and fall, and the wet season which is our version of winter.

Washington - The other nine months.

Washington - The other nine months.

 

After years spent in the north with extended stays in the Aleutian Islands, where it mostly rains horizontal and at 33 degrees (1 C), and the north coast of Alaska where one winter morning the temperature was -65F (this suffering was only for a decade or so),  the rest of my pre-tropical life was centered around the Pacific Northwest, where the summers could extend to three months in length on a good year, and the rest of the time it was cold, wet and depressingly gray. It became time for a change of clime

Anticipation of endless summers.......

Anticipation of endless summers.......

I remember the anticipation prior to moving to Roatan and for once never being cold. I arrived in May well into the dry season and immediately adopted my habits to the local environment. Shorts and flip flops with the lightest of shirts was all the environmental protection needed 24/7! Jeans, (?) Don’t need ‘em. Coats and sweatshirts(?) Why? Blankets and comforters for the bed(?) Are you crazy? It was so warm and cozy all the time, and I would never have to put up 6 cords of wood just to survive the winter again! Seriously, most of the islanders have never “seen their breath”! It just warmed the heart to think of, well, warm!

I have to admit that after ten years here I have a little different outlook on the comfort issue as a whole. I have acclimated.

cold team.jpg

Last night the mercury dipped to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and I had two cats that generally ignore me, using me as a heat source.  Donning sweatpants and a hoodie to survive leaving the big fuzzy winter blanket behind, I notice the tip of my nose is cold while making coffee! The suffering is only starting! Wearing long pants, sweatshirt, shoes and a raincoat, I was able to survive the wind chill factor on my scooter ride to work where the rain and wind have the staff scrambling to get gear to the other side of the island, dressed appropriately.

Just how far south does a guy gotta move?