Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Windy days are boat project days!

Last night was an uneasy night. I woke up to hear the low moaning of the wind in the rigging of all the sailboats here at the marina...which told me today would probably be a boat project day. With a boat, there's always something to keep one busy, so days with less-than-perfect or inclement weather are the best times to try to achieve productive results. I think our friends Paul and Muriel discovered that while we were gone and they were here...and our thanks to Paul for changing out the fuel/water separator on Eclipse, not to mention any other unfortunate -- but typical -- tasks he did that needed attention! (Yep, life aboard a boat -- always something!) And so, upon waking, I was proven correct, since the morning was grey, cool and cloudy with a stiff breeze out of the east. A day for projects!

Armed with whipping twine, needle, pliers and duct-taped fingers, I started in on my chores by paying a bit of attention to the seat cushions on Eclipse. The sun, heat, rain, wash-downs and our daily abuse had combined over the last few years to weaken the stitching on the seat cushions so they had given way in various spots, causing the vinyl covers to split apart at the seams and gape open, revealing the padding inside. So...I re-stitched the seat cushions, carefully following the pattern of the original seams. The fact that the cushions were permanently screwed down onto the seats made it a bit more challenging, since I couldn't just pick them up and repair them at my leisure aboard Equinox in the shade! (For those interested, I needed the pliers to assist in pulling the needle through the vinyl, and the duct-tape to protect my fingers since an hour or so with the needle incessantly pressed against my fingertips is a rare and little-known form of maritime torture.) But...after patient and somewhat painful ministrations throughout the morning, the cushions are in fine shape once again. Boat project number one dispensed with!

Boat project number two was getting a ride to the local grocery store, to do a bit a re-provisioning for our upcoming guests from Baltimore. Graciously, Bob, the owner of Southside Marina, gave me a ride and dropped me off at the IGA while he ran some errands of his own. I had time to hit the bookstore (Unicorn Books - fabulous!) before doing the marketing. Since I found I had extra time on my hands, I meandered a bit in the produce section, noting a few items that were unfamiliar: tamarind, soursop, plantains and taro. I need to research what exactly they are, and what do they taste like? Are they easy to cook? I have no idea. Not to mention there was a whole display of cans of "Ackee in Salt Water"  with labels in English and French, but the picture on the cans were of no help whatsoever to discern what they were. the snack aisle, I stumbled across cans of "boiled green peanuts". Hmmmm, so many things to try, so little time...thankfully. I say thankfully, since there is so little interest in boiled green peanuts on my part, to be honest! Still, tamarind and ackee...I need to check out what those are!

Tamarinds...hmmm. I have NO idea how to cook with them

Boat project number three was cleaning the shower sump in Ally's cabin. This is a quick job that needs to be done periodically, so after having guests aboard and seeing the amount of sand in the shower, I figured it was time for a good cleaning of the sump. However, since a simple five-minute boat job is never that, in the midst of my sanctimonious cleaning, I had my comeuppance! Not only once, but twice (!) while cleaning out the mesh wire trap from the sump on the back deck, I dropped it into the water. I managed to capture it before it sank the first time it slipped out of my hands, but the second time it escaped, it got away cleanly, bouncing off the dingy pontoon into the water. Argh!! After a lengthy but fruitless search in the waters beneath the boat in the late afternoon dusk on my part, I was ready to give up, but Ron valiantly offered to try to find it, and...of course he came up with it after only a couple of minutes. My hero!

So....that signaled the end of boat projects for a bit. It's been a productive day, with lots of little tasks accomplished! The forecast tomorrow is for calmer winds, plus we have more friends coming. Quite a reward!

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