May 7, 2010

The Hard Life

 I realized this morning that the last time I lived on the hard on a boat was when Maia was 13 months old. Back then, going up and down a ladder with a toddler, who wanted to do it, “all by myself”, added a special element of terror to the experience. The time before that, I was seven months pregnant, and that wasn’t much fun either.

It’s still not fun.

Boats aren’t meant to sit up in the air. And no matter how much they might need that annual maintenance (which this time was put off for nearly three years…) the hard life, is, well, hard. Not only are you living life on a bit of a tilt, and going up and down a ladder and across a boat yard every time you need access to things that flush, but boat yards are not clean places—they’re actually quite filthy. And the people who spend time in boat yards are really not the kind of people you want influencing impressionable eight-year olds—there were more Spanish swear words flying around yesterday than I knew existed...

The reason for the swearing was our haul out on the marine railway probably didn’t go as planned. In fact, I’m almost certain the fact that the boat lost steering immediately after picking the crew who were securing us to the rail car caused some concern. I know I yelled.

The problem is Mexican hand signals. I’m not sure if you’re familiar, but they can be confusing. Come here, can look an awful lot like ‘get the hell out of here, death is imminent’. Even the signal to cross the road seems a bit ambivalent, it sort of looks like ‘sure, go, maybe, or not.’

So when we headed into the marine railway, there were several groups of workers who seemed to wave us away, then wave us back, then wave us one way and then the other. Meanwhile as we tried to sort out what we needed to do Evan spun and reversed, and spun the boat some more--all while in a narrow, current filled channel. Finally we realized we needed to pick up some of the boatyard workers before driving into the railway car. The pickup worked okay initially, and then it didn’t. With no warning, our engine went wonky and the boat stopped spinning and reversing on command and the next thing I knew the crew were jumping overboard.

Happily rather than swimming off in fear from our boat with no steering, they had a go at manoeuvring us into the railway car: pushing us in sideways and backward, while swimming. Amazingly the technique worked. And we’re here. And Evan has a small fix to make on the motor.


boatbaby said...

None of that made any sense to me at all, which I am sure is how you felt too :)
So just routine haul out or what?

Diane, Evan, Maia and Charlie the cat said...

which part confused you? We were supposed to drive the boat into the marine car, but because the boat yard guys got us in such a tight place the motor had a fit... So they all dove overboard and swam us into position... Which is probably not routine. But might be.
We're doing the normal stuff-painting, zincs etc. It's been three years.

boatbaby said...

I guess I am just remedial enough to need the cliff notes... gracias! Have fun on the hard!

Robert Hewitt said...

Evan ... Whats your E-Mail ??

Robert High-Modulus NZ


Diane, Evan, Maia and Charlie the cat said...

Sent you a note, Robert.

Anonymous said...

Hey, wondering where this rail is? It looks like the Abaroa yard in La Paz? Anyways, I was wondering what the rest of the experience was like, did they let you do the work yourself or overcharge and underperform as they tend to do!?
I ask as I need to haul Sea Raven pretty soon in Mexico too, so trying to figure out the best spot to do it in, and as you know options are pretty limited!
Thanks, now I'll go and catch up with your blog and hopefully not answer my own questions!

Diane, Evan, Maia and Charlie the cat said...

Hey Sea Raven--yes Abaroa in La Paz. They applied our paint and while they put the first coat on fine we believe they only used a small portion of the second tin of paint we gave them, thinned dramatically, for the second coat. No proof other than we had been working along side them then went out briefly--when we returned they said the painting was done and our paint was used up (it shouldn't have been). The paint failed in about 3 months (again shouldn't have) and has been an ongoing problem to remove it properly. Beyond this it was just fine there--you just need to keep an eye on things.