Saturday, May 5, 2018

Hilton Head Island: from the Great Cabin; in praise of immigrants

        Evening.  An hour before sunset.  Mid-level clouds cover the sky with a slight chance of rain tonight.
        I am sitting at Central, writing from the Great Cabin.  I moved here this morning as our condo is being torn apart.  It is beautiful up there.  It is beautiful, and different, down here.  I believe you only truly know a boat when you live aboard her.  You see things you otherwise might miss.   An experienced sailor who saw GANNET recently commented on how well she is thought out.  Well, I’ve been thinking and working on her for seven years and 25,000 miles, yet today I noticed three changes I might make.
        There is little wind and no waves.  I have yet to see a wave on Skull Creek, which is an excellent natural anchorage throughout its length.  But when I glance up through the companionway, I see that we are moving slightly,  up and down, side to side.  GANNET isn’t any more alive than the condo, but she seems to be.
        I sipped air temperature Plymouth gin on deck while listening to music on the Boom 2 speakers—one of my Megabooms died, so I bought Boom 2s which are more than loud enough for GANNET—then came below and turned on the JetBoil and had dinner of New Zealand’s Back Country Cuisine Beef Teriyaki.  I will take inventory and preserve the Back Country for next year.  When they are gone, there will be no more.
        Home is wherever Carol is.  Home is the condo 565’ away.  But this is home.  Not more than Carol, but more than any place on land, however comfortable and beautiful, can ever be.
        Water is beneath me.
        It is good to be home.


        I moved from the condo because the uneven concrete floor was to be removed.
        Yesterday Jerry, the main contractor for the renovations, I and Gino, who was to remove the floor, met in the condo.
        Jerry is a man of almost my age with great construction experience.  Gino is an Italian immigrant of stocky build and medium height.  This condo is almost identical in size to the one in Evanston, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1600’ square feet.  I had thought the concrete was 1” thick and weighed 12 pounds a square foot.  It is actually 1.5” thick and weighs 18 pounds per square foot.  We did not want all the concrete to be removed, but roughly 1500 square feet.  That is more than 27,000 pounds of concrete.  
        Jerry had told me it would take two or three days.  He asked Gino, who responded with a thickly accented, “Tomorrow.”
        Jerry expressed surprise.
        Gino said, “When I work, I fucking work.”
        Gino arrived at 8 a.m. this morning with two helpers.  Today is a Saturday.  I expect that Gino works any and all days he can.
        I walked back to the condo at 2:30 this afternoon to pick up a package that I saw online had been delivered.  Gino was gone.  So was more than thirteen tons of concrete.
        Gino will never know how much I admire him and probably wouldn’t care.
        We are all immigrants.  Even those called Native Americans.  We are all truly Africans, something I sense when I am on that continent.
        I raise my glass to Gino.