Friday, August 24, 2018

Motionless blues

It seems likely Kintala will ride out the rest of the hurricane season in Beaufort, SC. It isn’t really a plan, just the way life seems to be unfolding at the moment. There are days when I get restless to the point of distraction, but there is much to be said for being here. Blowin' In The Wind remains on the next ball over. Good friends Paul and Deb stopped by for a visit on the way to time with their own grandkids. Having just of few of the people you love most in the world nearby is far better than having none, though you are constantly reminded of those still far away. We are slowly getting around to boat projects that really need done, and there are writing projects in the works. Writing, for Deb and I, is a craft; something we do for the shear joy of word-smithing. Occasionally, we manage a project that other people appreciate, which still amazes me. On the rare occasion where the appreciation is expressed with a few shekels coming our way, well, that's okay too. Sitting leaves some time for writing.

When one is motionless like this, there is much good to be said about being tied to a dock. For the most part, the boat is as safe as it can be while still sitting in the water. Shore power is available so air conditioning is an option. Not only does it make for better sleeping at night, dry air in the boat helps in keeping an upper hand on the war of the mold. Keeping the water tanks full is easy and quick. There is often a long, hot shower just steps away, greatly easing the burden on the water tanks. And, most convenient, getting on and off the boat is almost as easy as walking through the front door of a dirt dwelling. But docks are expensive. Unlike our stays in the Tampa area, the money flow here is all one direction, out.

So we are in the mooring field. It is often just on the far side of being comfortable with the sun, heat, and humidity. Battle with the mold is, at best, a stalemate. Filling the water tanks will consume much of a day’s effort. And getting on and off the boat requires the Ding.

I don’t know much about horses and have certainly never relied on one as the primary mode of transportation. But it seems the Ding and a horse have a lot in common. The Ding needs constant care. To get going in the morning the fuel needs checked, the night’s rainfall needs pumped out, and some air will likely need pumped in. It has to be tied up whenever left to its own devices, otherwise it will wander off. Sadly, unlike a horse, it will never find its way back to the barn all by itself.

The Ding’s little motor is, at best, temperamental. I swear the thing has the equivalent of moods; best described as manic / depressive. Sometimes it starts on the first or second pull. Sometimes it doesn’t start until the last pull before you give up and start taking it apart. Sometimes it idles too fast to shift, requiring momentary use of the cut-off / safety switch to get into gear without a damage inducing “thud”. (Some really old airplanes used ignition interruption instead of a throttle, which is where the idea came from.) Sometimes it will not idle at all. And sometimes it will putter away as if it was the most well behaved engine human kind ever invented. (Okay, that doesn’t happen very often.) And when the Ding and motor need cleaned it is a smelly, dirty job.

The worst it's ever been - Stuart, FL  in 2015

In barely a month, the menagerie of critters, creatures, and botany that lurks in these waters will accumulate to where the little motor struggles, the Ding wallowing through the water like a small horse carrying a Sumo wrestler up a steep  hill. Worse, the critters are literally disassembling the Ding from below. They worm their way past the cement seams of repair and reinforcement patches, peeling them back so water leaks in and air leaks out.

I have serious concerns about the dingy davits on a lot of boats. But having them just to keep the little boat out of the water when one is on an extended stay is now on my list of “good things to have.” Kintala’s stern is far to narrow and crowded for such things. Once upon a time we tried to come up with a way to lift the Ding on a halyard every night, more out of deference to thieves than to critters. But we couldn’t come up with a system that worked very well, relying on a stout cable and hefty lock instead. We are going to give it another try lest the Ding be utterly destroyed before it is time to leave this place.

That doesn’t happen when one is on the move. The Ding stays in the water for a week or less at a time. Each time it comes up on deck in preparation for the next departure, what few critters and little slime has accumulated get wiped away, often in less than an hour. There is no damage done and we are on our way. Sometimes when we stop for a day or three, anchored in some remote place or waiting out some weather, the Ding never gets wet. Instead it is hoisted up like a breeze catcher, high enough to open the v-berth hatch while keeping the foredeck in the shade.

The Ding on its better days

Occasionally, when on the move, stops coincide with docks. For a night or two the boat will be plugged in. The water tanks will get filled regardless, the holding tank usually emptied as well. Getting off the boat is an easy step. A long, hot shower may be just steps away.

And the Ding stays safe on the deck.


Kathy Mellembakken said...

Enjoy life... thanks for the read. At least you are avoiding the wood cutting life of us land lubbers. Hugs U2.

Joseph Ontiveros said...

I came across your Blog and thought you may be interested in an item I brought on my last Cruise. :) I've been on a few cruises and it had all the items I needed. Here's the Link: Hope you like it!!