Swing Set

Jul 13, 201308:57 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Three Productive Days In Stella Maris

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I sat and wondered if perhaps it was someone else who was going to do the cleanup of the welds when I finally saw Gerd, grinder in hand, in the process of borrowing the extension cord that Joe and the other two guys were using to drill holes over on the railway. (How it takes three guys to use one drill is a mystery to me.) I told Gerd that they could keep the cord, that I had one he could use. Silently, he came to the boat and grind down the weld.

Apparently, he was finished. He then asked me if I had any fine sandpaper. I said that I did, and that I'd be happy to polish up the welding with the sandpaper. He reminded me that I would have to wash down the boat, too. We had covered all the vinyl with wet beach towels to prevent burning from sparks, but there was still lots of metal dust and debris all over the transom. Yes, I think it would be prudent to wash the boat down.

As Gerd was making his exit, I thanked him for taking his time to do this welding for us. All he said was, "I don't sink it's going to verk."

I was prepared for a comment such as this one. I said, "Well, that's a little like telling me my wife is ugly. There is nothing I can do about it now. The damage is done. I have to work with what I have. If this doesn't work, I have the whole dinghy davit torn off and start over. But, I think this is going to work. The davit has held up for three years already."

"Three years?" Gerd gave a small nod of his head, and I think I may have detected a hint of a smile even. I bet I could grow on Gerd eventually, but at our given ages, I don't think there is time.

Rosie and I began to clean up the mess while I began an assault on some ice cold Bud Lights. We both got showers, and by 7 p.m., we were back at the Driftwood for dinner. We typically don't eat out three times in three days, but we wanted to patronize the newly opened restaurant, if only for Ian's sake, but really, the food is good and fairly priced. Rosie had chicken fingers with Mediterranean potatoes, and I had grouper fingers. Both of our meals were delicious.

During dinner, we told Ian that we had plans to leave in the morning. Our charge for the repair was to be $98, an hour for Gerd and an hour for Joe. I never had a yard bill for under $100 dollars before, and I told Ian to make it an even hundred. No sense breaking the mold now. After what ultimately wound up to be a very productive day and evening, we returned to Swing Set before 9 p.m. and wasted no time in falling asleep.

This is where I wanted to post pictures of the finished product, but the WiFi signal is weak this morning and I can't load up pictures. I got up very early this morning and had a good breakfast and then set to work installing the extra bracing I had made. The stiffening pieces between the davit tubes tapped in just perfectly with my hammer. Just right. Suffice it to say, it looks good and I really do think the repair will hold up. If I see Gerd today, I'll offer to buy him dinner if we return next year and his prediction about the repair not working comes true.

Ian came by the boat. He was checking meter readings and announced that the meter we are on doesn't work, so it appeared that we had used no electricity. I told him that running one air conditioner, which we had been doing, would amount to roughly 6 kilowatt hours per day, or at their rate, $3.60, but we also had used electric to do sanding and drilling. I suggested that he charge us $20 for the three days. He countered with $15. Ian drives a hard bargain, and I know when I'm beat. I relented to us being charged $15 instead of $20. Sometimes, you just can't win.

I wrote this post while waiting for high tide, so we can leave. We probably don't need it, but the extra depth will be welcome when we transit the channel out of here. Our plan is to go just a few miles up the coast to Calabash Bay, near Cape Santa Maria, the northern tip of Long Island. Even though we have rain forecasted for every day, the winds should die down, so we are considering jumping over to Conception Island in a day or two. It's 14 miles northeast of here and is a totally uninhabited island. The beaches and water are reported to be the most beautiful in the Bahamas, and the snorkeling is supposed to be phenomenal. Not sure if we'll have Internet service there, or even phone service, so we might be incommunicado for a few days.

We probably spoiled ourselves in the air conditioning for the last three nights, but the temperatures here should be 75 degrees at night, and highs of 83 degrees during the day, so with a pleasant breeze on the hook, we just might be able to survive. One thing we feel is for certain, there will be a return to Stella Maris Marina in our future.

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