Monday, March 12, 2018

Bucket list

No, not that one. It seems a bit silly to have a list of things one wants to do before one dies for the simple reason that no one knows when that is going to be. Imagine working on “the list” and having a hammer fall from somewhere. Bang. There you are looking at the next world (whatever that may or may not be). Then The Greeter (whomever that may or may not be) asks what you were doing when the earthly lights went out.

“Working on my Bucket List.”

“Well, that was a waste of time, wasn’t it?”

The Bucket list I’m thinking of has to do with boat jobs. Even then it isn’t likely the kind of list first comes to mind. This list isn’t a string of jobs one would like see finished. That list stretches to infinity or, at least, will last as long as the boat exists. No, this list is more about the size and complexity of the job being contemplated for the day. My favorite kind of jobs are those where everything needed to do the job; parts, tools, materials, rags, etc., all fit into a single bucket. And not a 55 gallon sized “bucket,” either. Or even ten. Five gallons, max. Three gallons, preferably.

We have had a string of ten gallon bucket jobs; teak work, bottom job, fiberglass repairs. They stretched on for days, then weeks, then months. Many days started early, ended late, and had few breaks along the way. A concern was how sore the body would be come morning, when the next day’s tasks start demanding attention. The last of the ten gallon jobs waiting completion was finished yesterday when a newly installed pump started up and the level of (clean) water in the holding tank started down. Kintala is now configured so as to carry waste water in her holding tank out of a harbor or anchorage, out where the whales and dolphins deposit their own waste water, and then empty the tank without the aid of a shore side suction pump. Such shoreside aid is nigh on impossible to find in the Islands and, after Irma, not that easy to find in Florida either.

With that task done, 3 gallon bucket jobs come to the fore, and are much more enjoyable. Polishing the cabin ports is one. Each port takes about an hour to remove, 1500 wet sand, compound polish, polish, wax, and reinstall. As each one is finished, the interior of the boat gets just that little bit brighter, looks just that little bit newer. One can look out a port and actually see what is around the boat, even at night. It is an easy task as well, no contortions into constricted boat chasms, no muscle cramps, and no worm clamp slices.

Three gallon bucket jobs are often routine maintenance, usually done without chewing up an entire day. Around Kintiala we try to average out work time to about four hours a day, at least that is the goal when not in refit mode. It would be nice to keep weekends free but, honestly, we don’t always know what day of the week it is. (And often don’t see any real need to bother with it.) “Ten to Two” is the goal for the start and finish of a working day while out cruising. Ten in the morning gives us time to get up, get going, get coffee, and greet the day. Two in the afternoon leaves plenty of the rest of the day to play, get out of the heat, write, read, and just enjoy living this life we worked so hard to find. It isn’t “time clock” time. There is no need to punch in or out. Get going, get it done, call it done, relax.

NOTE: After 24 hours it has become clear that the new head plumbing is not working as advertised. The overboard pump pumps, and the water goes where the water needs to go, but there is too much pressure on the flush pump. There is something not right. Reach for the 10 gallon bucket.

NOTE to NOTE: After much ado we could not find a single reason why the system was acting as it was. Low pressure, low volume fluid was going where it was supposed to go, when it was supposed to go there. But it was going with much reluctance. So the system was reconfigured to send the water to the exact same places, using the exact same fittings, in the exact same diameter hoses. All that was done was to turn things around so one angle of flow is now slightly straighter and there is about 2 feet less hose in a configuration that likely still has more than 20 feet of stuff. As a result, and for reasons that are a complete mystery, the system now works much, much better. But I still have no clue as to why that is.

Some days I really hate boats. The good news is that fixing whatever it was that was wrong turned out to be a 3 gallon bucket job. Which, all things considered, is a pretty good day.

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