The old wisdom tells us that, in a storm, a boat is safer at sea than in a harbor. And I can see the point: there is less to hit out there. But, as the sad story of the Bounty shows, being out at sea isn't always the greatest strategy. Even if it were, I'm not about to sail Papillon out of the lagoon or into the mangroves every time the weather looks dicey. So how are we going to get by in the marina without coming out the other end looking like a crumpled bit of aluminum foil?
I've talked about stripping the decks, securing lines, taking down sails and so on. Standard stuff. And, while cyclone season is new territory for us, the marina didn't open yesterday. They've been through this before, and they have plans. When we first entered the marina back in December, the lady at the desk handed me a set of instructions. In translation, the title was: "Cyclone Alert. Your boat is your wealth - help us preserve it." Well, I can't argue with that.
The marina plans distill down to this: put out lots of fenders, shuffle back from the dock a few meters, and tighten up your cyclone lines. And what, you ask, are cyclone lines?
Lines in hand, it was time to tie them into the chains. The marina prefers you use one of the licensed divers on their list, and I can't say I objected. Marina water is best avoided. Aside from the risk of electrocution, the water is just plain yucky. Fuel residue, marine growth, and (despite everyone's best efforts) blackwater discharge all steer me towards a big "no, thanks".
But the divers here are made of sterner stuff than I am. On the appointed day, our man gamely jumped in the water, tied everyone's lines into the chain, scooped his stakes and eased on down the road. Not a bad gig if you don't mind the ear infections. And our pricey cyclone lines settled happily down onto the mud and began to blend into the ecosystem.
|Tying knots for a living.|
|Making sure everyone is tied up and ready for the worst.|
Hopefully that will be all the exercise those lines get this year until May, when we can pay our friendly neighbourhood diver to untie them from the chain again. A boring cyclone season is a good cyclone season.