Thursday, December 24, 2015

Boatox

Boat yard sunrise view from our boat of the Intra Coastal Waterway.
Chris Parker’s weather forecast is playing over our SSB radio in the background as water for my coffee boils in the galley.  It is 06:15 and Craig and Rusty are still asleep.  The sun is pushing bright pink and orange waves of reconnaissance across the intracoastal skies.  This pre-voyage morning routine is my first aboard in several months, and a favourite time to contemplate a day of frenzy and hyper multi-tasking midst the well-worn procedure list we attempt to follow in returning to the water.  It is a calm before a storm. 

We are finally back aboard, doing the boat-yard exit.  Alberta Crewed is finished in her spa, and after three months looks and feels like a new boat.  Her hulls are polished with a reflective shine, she has a new coat of wax and bottom paint, and our list of 64 pre-launch items is down to 4.  We’ll finish those up while tied to a mooring ball in Vero Beach, Florida while we wait for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas.

Our good friend and seasoned sailor, Danny Cross, describes patience as one of the most important qualities to have as a sailor.   I would add persistence.  The boat yard is filled with like-minded, purpose-filled sailors who are trying to get their vessels worthy enough to at least sit in the water until the majority of tasks are at least underway.  As our new decking installer declared, “If you’re on a boat with nothing to do, there’s something wrong.”  

I’m okay with the never-ending list but it requires focus and tireless purpose as we trudge to various marine supply stores looking for a plastic ring that wraps around our dinghy engine start button, or the replacement cartridges on our self-inflating life jackets.  

Testing our inflatable life jackets
That list enables us to watch a pod of dolphins in their frenzied, collaborative hunting ritual whose thrashing interrupts the calm waters with a foamy spray.  And of course, many of the items fall into Craig’s lap.  He’s not so enamored with 64 items, but is an expert at all of them, and the reason why Alberta Crewed is looking and feeling like a new boat.  His diligence is relentless, and his knowledge continues to astound me.  I stand close by as he completes his tasks, hoping I can absorb some of his expertise through osmosis. 


I hear him stirring now, so will wrap my extra fender around my neck in preparation for the lift that will come and hoist our boat.  Someone inevitably calls out for one as Alberta Crewed is lowered into the water.  It happens every time. 

Dave, along with several of his colleagues at Riverside Marina, were responsible for much of the bigger work we had done on Alberta Crewed.  During our launch, Dave watched quietly from the boat he works on across from us.  We are so very grateful for all of the staff at Riverside Marina.  They took wonderful care of us and our boat.
 Always ready with fenders.