Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Adventures at Dock

24 May 2009

San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

Back on land—or almost on land; some of the time on land, sometimes unwillingly, unwittingly.

We spend our valuable time at dock tearing down the boat—cleaning, patching, folding, flaking, polishing: it is a huge labour to put a boat to bed for some months. When I tell my mother what we’re doing, she writes, “Sounds like you two are doing a massive "house cleaning"--which we can never

get free from, no matter where we are located.”

So true, alas. Bougainvillea and ocotillo in bloom all around; swallows nesting in the cliffs, warblers hiding in the sails, pelicans staking claim to sections of the docks and fishing, lazily, in the shallows—it is utterly beautiful here. The landscape is magnificent. And we are so busy we hardly see it.

We make lists: of jobs still to be done; of things to be left on the boat; of things to be brought home; of medical items that must be replenished or brought when we return; of all sorts of products we’ll need next year, from fuel filters and head repair kits to a large spool of braided string; we make a wish list for the rigging, then handling devices; spell out possible alternate deck arrangements; note which canvases will have to be replaced; try to sort out where we can stay overnight in Tucson when we arrive on the bus from Guaymas, and so on.

The days are long and hot. We get up with the sun—by 6 am—and work until it goes down after 8 pm; then we light mosquito coils, set up the bug screens and mosquito netting and eat supper. Every part of us aches—feet, hands, legs, fingers, arms; each day is an unending exercise routine: lifting, pulling, shoving packaging, twisting, stowing. If I had the energy, which I don’t, because I’m sapped by heat and chores, I could make up a little dance for us: the putting the boat away dance. It would have to be a marathon, punctuated by liters of lukewarm Gatorade—an essential supplement in these latitudes.

When we can finally lie down, sleep comes quickly.

Today we are particularly tired because we awoke at 4am to the stench of diesel. Our berth and boat were tilted towards the dock at an angle of 15 degrees or so. We were on the hard, and not in a comfortable way!

We’d gotten the last available slip, known to be a bit too shallow for a boat like Quoddy’s Run that draws (requires) 6.5-6.75 feet of water. We took the slip anyway, thinking, well, we have a big full keel; it won’t hurt the boat to stand on the keel once or twice a day at low water. But it is disconcerting to be heeled over on the land!

Line drawing of Kelly-Peterson 44, showing keel and rudder below the waterline

The angle was sharp enough that it was impossible to find a comfortable position in which to sleep. Too, the vents to the port side fuel tank were, since the tank was full, weeping. When we got up at first light a litre of combustible, as diesel is called here, pooled on the deck, up against the bulwarks. Mmm, delicious, the smell of diesel before breakfast!


Quoddy’s Run at dock in Marina San Carlos

Line drawing of Kelly-Peterson 44, showing keel, from the Peterson Cutter website:


Desert plants in bloom around the docks and along the highway

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