Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To the Marina Seca

25 May 2009 San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

Quoddy's Run exits the water today to lumber, an ungainly creature on borrowed wheels, up the highway to the Marina Seca or "dry" storage.

Boats always look naked and vulnerable as they leave the water, faintly obscene; we are not supposed to see them like this, their bottoms showing. As soon as they leave the water, they cease to be in their element, their glory.

For boat owners, too, this is a fraught, heart-stripping moment: so many things could go wrong! But the Marina Seca in San Carlos is a brilliantly conceived and impeccably run place and the trailer with movable arms that lifts the boat out of the water and cradles her as she travels the two kilometers up the highway to the dry marina is a marvel of engineering, and always expertly handled. Besides, we tell ourselves and others, to try to calm that anxious flutter in the heart, we've done this before--twice already! But you never do feel utterly, fully prepared.

Nevertheless, the moment of the haul arrives. We are towed from our too-shallow, too-tight dock to the slip at high water. The trailer is there, sunk in the water, waiting for us. Quoddy is pulled forward, gently, over and between the rocker arms, which are then adjusted and readjusted by a little remote control box.

Finally the boat is settled on the trailer to everyone's satisfaction. Slowly, slowly, the driver of the front end loader that will pull the boat out of the water backs up. Everyone watches carefully; last minute adjustments are made, and the boat inches out of the water--up one foot, another one--the eye that Dee painted on her bow to ward off evil in full view, then the keel.

There's a last minute check of all pads and arms and angles, then, thumbs up! the boat can go!

She's off, up the ramp, through the driveway, past Barracuda Bob's cafe and the laundromat and the chandlery to the highway, where--backwards!--she'll sail past the Oxxo store, a Pemex station and blooming cacti.

One turn, a long driveway, past a workshop where an abandoned panga rots, and through the gates. This is the Marina Seca, an enormous desert storage yard for thousands of boats.

Quoddy's Run is parked between two sets of "hurricane poles"--steel poles set in concrete, secured with jackstands, and sprayed down--that's it for the barnacles and seaweed collecting on her undersides. They're gone!

Marike pulls her enormous covers over the boat; we stuff all of the through-hulls with scotchpads, put foil backed insulation material over the windows, close and batten down the hatches and port-lights, place open buckets of water in the cabin--an effort to keep the teak from cracking in 140 degree F summer desert heat, remove the rest of our bags and lock up the boat.

Back down the steep ladder to the ground, and that's it for another year.

One backward look--Quoddy we'll miss you!--she really is like a live creature; we feel we owe our lives to her...

Wait, we can't leave yet. One more backward look--how will we ever find her again?

Now we're ready--off to an air-conditioned condo with hot running water, a pool, a bed that neither moves nor slopes at peculiar angles, wireless internet access, cable television in three languages....too bad we're staying just one night...

Panga at shop near Marina Seca
Hauling Quoddy's Run--from water to highway
Quoddy's Run in the Marina Seca
Marina Seca view from the deck--boats as far as the eye can see
View from Condominiums Dorado, San Carlos
Cool Mexican condo humour--polar bear plates

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