Monday, October 6, 2014

Opua: rebedded; redinghied; SHIP FEVER

        The morning was windy, but not as windy as other parts of this country where it was blowing 70 to 75 knots.  Here only about twenty and as forecast it eased at noon to become a warm and pleasant afternoon.
        This low stayed south of us and on Sunday I rebed the forward hatch.  
        I removed it easily enough with a putty knife and thin screwdriver; then cleaned the old sealant from it and the deck.  I had used LifeCalk which peeled away with the use of putty knife and screwdriver; but I was surprised to discover that some LifeSeal I had later applied trying to fix leaks from the outside adhered much more tenaciously to both fiberglass and aluminum.  It was extremely difficult to remove.  LifeCalk is terribly messy stuff to work with, at least for me.  I end up with it on my hands, tools, and other surfaces where it should not be.  It took me almost as long to clean up as to bed the hatch.  LifeSeal is not.  In the unthinkable event that I ever have to rebed that hatch again, I will use LifeSeal.  However, this time I already had three tubes of LifeCalk and used it.
        I applied a double bead, one on the outer edge of the hatch, one on the inner.  I applied a bead of LifeCalk to the threads of each of the seventeen bolts that secure the hatch.  I tightened the bolts only hand tight so that I would not squeeze all the sealant out, and today intended to tighten the nuts more, but everything seems solid so I decided not to.
        I don’t know if this has done any good.
        It was the right thing to do.


        When I sold THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, I informed the buyer that I had two dinghies locked in the dinghy rack, a tiny fiberglass one that I usually used for my last row in before flying to the U.S. and the first row back out, and an old Avon RedStart that I used on my final row in from THE HAWKE OF TUONELA during a brief lull in gale conditions when I knew I couldn’t row the fiberglass one.  I mailed him the key.
        Last week when I walked past the dinghy rack I checked and found the dinghies are still there.  So I took a hacksaw, dinghy pump, and another lock ashore with me after lunch, and sawed through the chain.
        After two and a half years both dinghies are filthy, but serviceable.  I pumped up the Avon and all three chambers held air.  It wouldn’t fit back into the rack fully inflated, so I had to let some air out.  Sometime I’ll pump it up, clean it up and tow it out to GANNET to see how long it remains inflated.  It only has to for about ten minutes to get me ashore when I fly to the U.S. 

        A handful of boats have cleared in since GANNET’s arrival.  It is still early and most of the fleet will not arrive for another month or more.
        GANNET is certainly the smallest.  This, on the Q Dock this morning,
is the largest so far.  I’m not a good judge of the length of big boats.  She is at least 80’ to 100’/25-30 meters, perhaps even more.  Both she and GANNET fly the American flag, the big and the small.  I started to write ‘the great and the small’, but in this instance the small is arguably the greater.  Too big for the marina, she has anchored not far away.  As courtesy to my fellow sailors and countrymen I should row over and invite them to boxed wine in the Great Cabin this evening.  Well, perhaps not.
        Opua’s Quarantine Dock is the easiest to approach of any I know in the world.  You can go inside or outside and have 200 meters in which to stop.


        I’m sure I’ve mentioned Andrea Barrett before.  She writes excellent short and long stories with a common, though sometimes tenuous link to science.
        I just finished rereading SHIP FEVER.  
        The title piece is about efforts to deal with the typhus epidemic at Grosse Isle, Canada, brought by ships carrying immigrants escaping the Irish famine in 1847.  It is a powerful tale told exceptionally well.
        When life is hard for me on a passage, I don’t consider what other sailors have done.  I do think of what people have endured during war or on immigrant ships or slavers.
        By comparison, what I do even on hard days is easy.