Hopes Rise Again
Saturday, April 8th. The rain is pounding down as usual. I’ve hauled the boat out and she’s sitting high and wet. Despite the forecast there is always a 50/50 chance of something different occurring. But this time the weatherman was correct. My seat in the boat is about eight feet above the ground. It feels strange. The boat is motionless although I find myself involuntarily swaying at times. My little brain is not used to being motionless aboard the boat and is reinventing my environment to what I’d prefer. Or perhaps I’m simply disoriented at this altitude.
What is incredibly stupid is that I’m sitting up here waiting for the rain to stop. In Shearwater…yeah right! I need it to dry up enough to get a fresh coat of anti-fouling paint on the bottom. That is a toxic elixir which, for a while, prevents the growth of marine flora and fauna on the hull beneath the waterline. It’s been eighteen months since the last haul-out. ‘Seafire’ was developing a copious crop of mussels and barnacles after a long winter at the dock. Remember an old Gordon Lightfoot song about sitting in the early morning rain? Here I am. The rain buckets down then tapers to a light shower and finally stops. My hopes rise again. Ten minutes later, the next biblical deluge falls without warning. One of the joys of getting older is knowing that nothing lasts forever. Sooner or later, I’ll have a window of a few hours. Persistence pays. Sunday morning some sunlight thinly ladders down and I scamper into my rain togs but, despite a constant threat, I don’t need them for the whole day!
One of the sweeter feelings I know is relaunching a boat after the bottom has just been serviced. It is never a pleasant duty working on a boat’s bottom. It feels good to be finished. Not only is the angst of being trapped ashore relieved, the boat glides so sweetly through the water. Before, there was a slight resistance to movement, now she’ll want to go somewhere, anywhere; and guess what? Easter weekend is just a few days away! Haa! As evening dusk settles the skies lower with dark swollen clouds. Because of the threat I worked the whole day frantically trying to beat the next impending downpour. With the sharp toxic tang of the fresh bottom-paint filling my head there came the high ringing calls of migrating Sandhill Cranes. It is spring! There is no doubt! Robins chittered and sang from obscure corners in the forest, staking out their territory where they will raise their young. It is spring! Tonight as I post this blog a rich golden light illuminates the bay and highlights the green of the trees and the mountains. a sparkling three-deck white yacht has just arrived and anchored out. It is the first of the season. It is spring!
Eventually comes a deep satisfaction when I remove the masking tape. There is a crisp, clean fresh line which divides the black bottom paint from the clean white hull above. I find a bottle of fibreglass cleaner and spend a few hours scrubbing away with oxalic acid trickling down inside my sleeves. The rust-hued discolouring on the hull is gone. I’ve no time or energy to polish the hull but I’m proud of the results of my efforts. Soon ‘Seafire’ will be back in the water, rocking gently at the dock ,eagerly tugging at her lines. She’ll seem much happier. I know I will also.
One of my distractions is reading. I am presently finishing a book by Yann Martel who wrote ‘Life Of Pi.’ This book is called ‘The High Mountains Of Portugal” and was published just last year. It’s third section is a story about a Canadian senator who moves to a small rural village in Portugal and learns to live with a chimpanzee he impulsively adopted. Here are a few lines:
“…I think we all look for moments when things make sense. Here, cut off, I find these moments all the time, every day.”
”… No, what’s come as a surprise is his movement down to Odo’s so-called lower status….Peter has learned the difficult animal skill of doing nothing.”