Sunday, April 1, 2012

Life On The Hard

Here we sit, at the mouth of the Panama Canal, in a marina.  And wouldn’t you know it?  There are two worlds here.  The regular dockside marina, with shore power, restaurants, and people wearing jewellery and clean clothes.  And then there is The Yard, where paint, dust, and other familiar dirty things are the order of the day.  We are repainting the antifouling on the bottom of our hull, and so here we are, on a gravel field, packed amongst other boats undergoing improvement.

Up we go!
It just doesn't look right, somehow.
Delightful things about being on land again:
  • Laundry, laundry, laundry.  Before we arrived, I hadn’t done laundry except in a bucket since January.  Enough said.
  • Power hookup.  This means we don’t have to rely on our almost-dead batteries.
  • A tiny store.  Even buying tomatoes can be exciting when you don’t have to get in the dinghy first.
Small inconveniences related to being hauled out:
  • No toilets aboard.  They run on saltwater... and we’re out of the water.  Since we can’t flush them, we can’t use them.
  • No sinks aboard.  We can’t drain our greywater tank, so no sinks.  All washing is accomplished via a garden hose hanging over the rail.
  • No fridge.  This also needs saltwater to run, so we have spent the past week trying to eat everything before it went bad.
  • The rickety ladder tied to the hull to allow ascent and descent.  We have drilled the girls in proper ladder technique, ie. control your monkey impulses.  So far, so good.
  • Cooking.  As I don`t have use of a sink, this is a bit of a challenge.
  • Washing the dishes on deck in a bucket.  Not my favourite job to begin with, I didn`t realize how good I had it before.

Our week has been filled with fun tasks like watching Erik attempt to electrocute himself while grinding in the pouring rain (this is the dry season, apparently) and slathering the kids with DEET to keep the nighttime hordes of mosquitoes at bay.  But we have gotten past sanding tiny spots of aluminum and actually put zinc chromate primer on the hull today.  And that may not sound exciting (or comprehensible) to you, but I am dancing a jig, here.  That means that actual barnacle-killing paint is not far behind, and we can get ourselves back into the water.  Because sleeping on a boat that doesn`t move just feels weird.  (And when it does move, it feels terrifying.)

Your correspondent remains a woman of glamour and mystery, even wearing lab gloves, a face mask and that hat.  In the rain.
What do you mean this doesn’t look like paradise?  There are palm trees in the background, aren’t there?
As an extra bit of excitement, the local firemen kicked us off the boat briefly this afternoon.  Because they were spraying a colony of Africanized killer bees in the bushes 50 feet away.  And that may sound bad enough, but two days ago, while the girls and I were out, Erik chased a swarm of over a hundred enormous bees out of our boat armed only with a can of roach spray.  The last bees were leaving as we arrived home, and they were each the size of my thumb.  Were they really killer bees?  They certainly looked scary enough.  But they didn't kill Erik, so maybe they were some of those so-called domesticated Africanized killer bees.  I think I`ll still leave the antihistamines where I can find them easily.

The man in the bee suit pouring poison in a bucket isn’t really what you want to see next door.
What will the next week “on the hard” bring?  Well, we still need to weld that leak in the aft fuel tank and wrestle the centerboards back in, so don’t worry about us.  Excitement abounds!


Nicolas Turcotte said...

wow, courage, vous me rappelez des souvenirs. I am lots of memories of yard work :) not all fun.


Nicolas Turcotte said...

oups... "I have lots of memories..."

Anonymous said...

What can I say; Killer bees, no toilets, running water, fridge or stove? You have all the fun.
Take care.
Love Mom

Tamara said...

I can't help but share my initial reactions to this post:
"What do you mean no laundry since January?!? It's April 2! How is that even possible?"
"No toilets, no sink, no fridge...what kind of hotel did they choose? Oh wait, they are LIVING ON THE BOAT while it gets fixed. On the boat?!? Are they mad?"
"How nice of Erik to snap a photo of his lovely bride working hard in the rain. How 'bout you lend the dame a hand!"

Thank you for sharing your continuing saga. Your posts are my favourites of all that pop into my RSS feeds.