Boatyard Banter Part 2

You know nothing makes the days fly here like teamwork and stimulating conversation. 

A few days ago, Dan was preparing to put  the primer on the boat bottom, while I was on top of the boat, buffing the topsides.  The temperature was about 90 degrees, the humidity about 70% and we were tired and cranky from lack of sleep due to the killer mosquitoes.  Suddenly I hear a yell, followed by of course, cursing, which I, of course, choose to ignore.  This leads to more yelling and cursing.  Apparently, Dan had been pouring some primer into a smaller container when the container disintegrated and leaked yellow paint all over him and his new watch.  He was desperately calling to me, even though I was desperately trying not to hear him.  Finally I can fake it no more and have to see what he needs.


“I need your help.  Hurry!  I have paint all over my watch and I need you to rinse it off before it dries!”

He was indeed covered in thick yellow paint but he was standing right next to the water hose.  I would have to go to the back of the boat, climb down the ladder and pick up the water hose that was at his feet.  This made  no sense to me.

“Why don’t you just rinse it off with the hose?  It’s right next to you.”

“I can’t!  I have paint all over my hands!!  Hurry!!  This dries in like five minutes!!”

Really??  That’s odd.  He’d been putting off painting for a few days as he was afraid it would rain and the paint would need to dry overnight.  Now suddenly it can dry in five minutes.  Curious.

I gazed calmly at his yellow smeared appendages.

“I thought you said the paint needed to dry overnight?”

“What??”  He shakes his head in disbelief.  “Are you going to help me?  My watch is getting ruined!” 

He is a yellow time bomb waiting to explode.  I decide I’d better help.  I meet him at the back of the boat and he hands the watch to me.  It really is in dire shape.  Luckily the face of the watch is fine but paint has seeped into every nook and cranny on the band.  I take the watch to the sink and begin scrubbing as best I can.  It’s coming off pretty easily, but it could take me awhile to get this done, and I have wax that’s drying on the topsides that needs to be buffed.  More than five minutes have passed.  I grab a plastic cup as Dan comes up behind me.

“How’s it going?  Is it coming off?”

“Yeah.  Pretty well. I’m going to leave it soak in water while I finish buffing.”

“What?   You can’t do that!  The paint will dry and it’ll ruin my watch!”

“Well, it’s been more than five minutes and the paint hasn’t dried like you said it would.  Besides, the water will keep it from drying.”

“No it won’t,” he’s talking loudly now.  ”It’ll dry in water!”

I look at him incredulous.  “How can it dry in water?”

“It’s made to!”  He’s approaching hysteria now.  “ I can’t believe you’re not helping me!”

“Well I’m trying to but you’re not making sense.   First you say you can’t paint because it has to dry overnight, but mysteriously it will dry in five minutes on your watch.  You tell me you can’t paint if it rains and then you tell me the paint will dry in water.  So which is it?”

Folks, this is the kind of witty repartee you can only get after being married more than 20 years!

Dan is about to lose his mind.   ”Are you going to help me or not?”

“I am trying to but you’re making it very confusing!”

I’ll spare you from the rest of the dialogue which deteriorated rapidly from there and ended with my resuming my buffing and Dan taking care of his own watch!  When will the fun end?

Boatyard Blues Part 2


Applying primer in style



Tessa keeps us entertained by reading


 Has it really been a month since we got back from the US? It seems impossible that we can still be here. How could it be taking us so long??

Well, the first few days back were spent unpacking and trying to put away the 8 plus bags of luggage. Dan installed a car kit for our satellite phone, which basically is an external antennae to the Globalstar SAT Phone and a handset/speaker phone. Before to use the satellite phone you had to take the phone outside, set it somewhere, wait for a satellite and hope you happen to be looking at the phone when it connected. Now, the phone stays inside, the antennae is outside and it beeps to let you know when it has connected. Very nice. Also that first week Dan installed a new fan for the refrigerator and worked on it with Louis the refrigeration guy. Also, I think we threw in a few trips to the grocery store on the free shuttle bus. We needed to build back up our inventory since we got rid of nearly everything before we left.

The next week Dan started buffing the boat, waiting to hear back from Sea Hawk paint on what they were going to do on the bottom paint. We paid for one of the boatyard workers to scrape the spots and he turned up quite a few. More calls to Sea Hawk and finally Dan talked to the CEO and he agreed to get us more paint. The other hull had only a few spots, but a lot of barnacles, so we took over the scraping ourselves. All of us! I think we also threw in a walk or two downtown to break up the work.

The next week, Dan was still scraping, Tristan and I were waxing the sides of the boat (they look awesome). Dan started sanding and sanding. He was really working hard. We finally got smart and started working the Latin America way. Work some in the morning, break for siesta in the heat of the day, then back to work around 4pm. Dan scraped and scraped. Tessa and Tristan helped scrape. I helped scrape and wax. A visit to the museum, a couple of shoe shopping trips and a visit to the movie theater rounded out our week. Dan applies the last of the primer on starboard hull and he and Tristan finish the week with an excellent bottom paint job on the starboard hull. I really give Dan so much credit for all the hard work sanding, scraping and painting. He’s really made me proud!

Week 4. We are tired, spirits are low. There are still lots of barnacles on the port hull to be scraped. On the plus side, we do have two awesome new leather cushions! The primer is painted and in a whirlwind afternoon, Tristan, Dan and I paint the port hull!!! We are so excited. It’s like a burden has been lifted from our shoulders! I would really like to finish buffing the topsides of the boat but I’ve really lost interest. Besides, I still have lots of cleaning work to do inside. The kids have been great about doing schoolwork and working on the boat. I’m really proud of them. We’ve all really reached our patience with boat work and the boatyard. Again, it’s a nice yard, but the mosquitoes are something else. We try to keep the windows covered, but they still get in and make for a very restless night. We could all use a really good night sleep! Our plans now are to do a little fiberglass work (Dan), clean thoroughly inside (me), maybe wax outside (me and kids) and be out of here on Monday/Tuesday after another big provisioning run. Keep your fingers crossed. We are so ready to go!

Bizarre Boatyard Banter

tessa-carnival-curacao     Another long week of boat work.  We now have a neighbor, Peter from Switzerland, on a Fountaine Pajot catamaran. I was waxing Alegria when he came over and told me they were moving his boat down from long term storage.  He and his wife were sailing the opposite way we were, having come from Colombia.  Peter just came back from an emergency trip to Switzerland because “all the things falling apart.”  I really wasn’t sure what he was talking about until he said “Don’t you know about how bad the stock market is and the economy?” 


Well….. yeah!  But that was kind of old, ongoing news and right now my mind was preoccupied with the complexities of waxing and whether I could find a cheap good quality pair of flip flops (we seem to be burning through our shoes!!). I looked at the news this morning, more of the same but nothing really new.  Lehman

Brothers had been managing Peter’s savings and lost a good chunk.  He was afraid he was going to have to leave retirement and go back to work.  I felt really bad for him.  Suddenly my flip flop dilemma seemed very lame.


The next evening, we were again scraping, waxing and talking to Peter when we noticed the Red Bull truck, the Amstel Bright beer truck, a boat getting ready to be put back into the water, and scantily clad women.  It could only mean one thing.  Party!!  The boat Pegasus, manned by two young men from the Netherlands planned to sail around the world in 2 years and report back on the condition of the ocean.  Or, as us jaded cruisers would say, get paid to drink and party as you sail around the world.  BRILLIANT!!!

They (the sponsors) threw a great party, free beer, free whisky punch, amazing food, and my personal favorite, free CHAMPAGNE in a GLASS!!!!  Such decadence!!  Peter, Dan, I and the kids joined two other boaters, Scott Free and another couple from North Carolina.  We sent Tessa to find our Brazilian friends, Sylvio and Lillian on Matajusi.  Lillian is beautiful and very nice while Sylvio is quite the character.  While he is

on this sabbatical, he writes a column for a Brazilian magazine.  Back in Brazil, he races cars.  What a life!  He had tried to get into NASCAR, but I’m not sure the good old boys from the South are ready for a Brazilian driver.   While waiting for Sylvio and Lillian to show up, Dan introduced me to the other North Carolinians.  He had

mentioned something about meeting them before and the husband’s take on what was happening in the US but I couldn’t remember what it was.  Within 5 minutes of talking I remembered. He asked me if I still had money in the bank (not the stock market) and when I said yes, he told me that was a big mistake.  The banks were going under, there would be rioting in the streets, people would be homeless. I said I didn’t believe that.  He said I was uninformed and even though we just came from the States, (Illinois and North Carolina, and I didn’t see any soccer moms beating their SUV’s into swords,) he was right because he had spent 8 HOURS A DAY reading the internet.  While I agree there is a strong case for print and TV news to be biased, everyone knows or should know, internet sites are ungoverned and should be taken with a HUGE grain of salt.  Back and forth we went, in a spirited, friendly way, but the bottom line was he was convinced this was the end of the world as we knew it.  In fact they bought a house in Colorado, in the middle of nowhere so the homeless couldn’t find

them.  Their kids think they’re crazy but in their words, “We can’t save everyone.”  I tried to tell him that this is probably what most people thought about the depression and see we came out of that alright.  He informed me that (his internet source) said unemployment was higher now than then and I didn’t have all the facts.  He was

probably right as I have been so busy LIVING my life, rather than reading the internet.  He was just so fear based, and when I told him that, he argued and said he absolutely wasn’t.  (Hmm!!) By this time, I was through my glass of champagne and was desperate to end the conversation so basically I said to him that even if what he said was true, there was nothing I could do about it and I wasn’t going to live my life in fear and he shouldn’t either. He had no reply.  Thankfully the conversation ended and I could find more champagne. 

 Tristan, who had been standing next to me the entire time, listening, said “Way to go Mom.”   I told him I wasn’t trying to talk disrespectful, but I just felt bad that this guy was so full of fear.  It was sad actually.  So while he and his wife went to do some more reading I’m sure, we enjoyed the rest of the party.  Talking to Peter later, he

said he’d heard some similar things that there might be rioting in the US over all the big bonus money paid by the banks, and bank failures.  Again I assured him that the Americans I knew were concerned, but I couldn’t see them burning torches and carrying pitchforks.  Really, I am amazed at this kind of rumor.  Maybe I am out of touch. What do you think?

Back to Peter.  I told him that maybe the reason he would have to “leave” retirement was that he still had something to offer.  Maybe there was some gift he still needed to share with the world.  His face brightened and he said he’d been thinking about writing a book.  His friends told him his sailing story should be published.  There you go.  Life isn’t done with you, I said.  It was gratifying to see him go from being down to upbeat.  Sometimes we can get so involved in the illusions of life’s drama, and the fear that comes from all around us, that we forget we are much more than our thoughts.  One person’s fear is another’s opportunity.  It’s all in how you look at it. 







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