Thursday, December 29, 2016

Part 2, Splash the sailboat

Not too bad!
We're headed back to our boat!  We're headed back to the boat!  Where it's warmmmmm....

Definition:  "Splash" is a technical boating term for putting the boat back in the water.  "When do you splash?"  It still makes me giggle.

While traveling towards San Juan, I've attempted to verify we have a dock scheduled after we splash.  My first attempt results in learning Shanaz, our guru in the yard office is on vacation until the day we splash.  No bueno.  My second email results in a quote of $180/day for a T-head!  Yyyooooouch!!!!!  Panicking.  The Captain is informing me a minimum of 3 days at the dock is needed for him to be comfortable.  The third email reminds them we paid $60/day in June and we're haul-out customers.  "We'll get back to you."  The First Mate is stressing!

After a detour through the suburbs of San Juan, in an attempt to buy the first available Breeze litter pan that we encounter, I've got us in a suburban traffic snarl then rush hour traffic out of the city (see driving-in-puerto-rico.html).  As we enter Fajardo our AirBnB landlord calls to say he's delayed, so we start running errands--West Marine, grocery, and a restaurant for dinner.

The next morning, we arrive back at the boat after five months of it being closed up in the Caribbean sun, just in time for a record November rainfall.  No dehumidifier & no care taker.  Despite all of our prep (our-first-haul-out-puerto-del-rey.html), I picture the interior covered in a green shag/fuzz.  I've been called a pessimist in my former life but I like to think of it as, "Prepare for the worst, hope for the best".  Fingers crossed!  I've scheduled five full days in the yard before we splash.

We're pleasantly surprised--the boat is still here!  It's still sitting on the jack stands, just the way we left it.

What we signed in Jun 2016

(Quick disclaimer:  To our frustration, when we arrived last June, sailors from Sail Caribe informed us the new management had changed the rules & "work, including paint" now had to be done in a different yard at an additional expense--additional lift fee, reblocking, & yard space!?  After asking some questions & reading our contract--2 pages small print for the marina & another 4 pages for the yard--we clarified that we were able to have our boat sanded by Reuben in the storage yard (an authorized contractor who followed the EPA regulations of laying down plastic & wet vac-ing up the paint), and we could roll on the bottom paint ourselves, in the storage yard.)

To our surprise, Reuben not only sanded off our boot strip while we were gone, but moved it up (we had planned on doing that ourselves).  He even matched the color perfectly (we had thoughts of changing it to black with blue bottom paint, but IT LOOKS GREAT!).  This will save The Captain two days of masking, painting & waiting for it to dry before painting the bottom.  We're ahead of schedule before we even start!  (He also stops by the first day to say hello & to see if we're happy with his work.  Highly recommend!)

After a quick walk-around, I bound up the swim steps (as quickly as a 5-month, clumsy, landlubber can!) to unlock the companionway (lock NOT rusted shut.  Island problems.  Bonus!).  The interior looks great.  Just like we left it.  There's a slight musty smell, nothing a good airing out won't fix.  No obvious leaks (OK, perhaps in the pantry where we've had a minor leak before).  Some slight mold on cabinets that could use a coat of oil.  I have hatches open before The Captain can get the A/C dug out & hooked up (we're fortunate to be by a power pedestal).  Just in time for the rain.  Hatches closed.  A/C it is!

These sailors have gotten soft while on land.  In less than 24 hours my thighs and shoulders are protesting from climbing up & down the ladder (We're lucky.  We can use our swim ladder.  Monohull friends have to climb up a ladder-ladder.  Our AirBnB landlord fell over 6 ft off the back of his boat two weeks before we arrived.  He's lucky he's alive!)

EEK!  We'll end up needing 3 of these.  At least I got to return the quart of boot strip paint & the little roller
The first two days are primarily dedicated to The Captain painting the bottom.  The a/c is running the help dry out the interior.  I take sheets, towels & clothes back to the house in shifts to wash.  I refill all the DampRid containers and replace the Kanberra gel, which I credit for keeping the mold at bay (on top of the fact we have a very "dry" boat to begin with). With the mainsail still on the bed (then the floor) there isn't much else for me to do.  I become errand girl.  Walgreens for snacks & gatorade.  Grocery store for dinner.  BACK to West Marine for more paint.

"Did you post a picture of me painting yet?"

2-3 coats on the port hull.  DONE!
To make our life more interesting, there is a Mama with a litter of EIGHT pups under the trailer next to us.  I check on the pups daily & Mama has left us alone, UNTIL The Captain is under the boat one day, pouring paint (see below) and looks up to see the feral Mama, eyeball to eyeball.  He jumps.  She jumps.  Apparently, he's getting too close to the pups.

Working on the inner starboard hull.  "How come I only bought one roller?"  I'm gone!

I finally unpack the limited provisions I left behind and wipe out a few cabinets (unnecessary but makes everything smell nice).  With the fridge still out of commission, the provisioning is broken into two trips--cold items purchased later, everything else.  Provisioning is infinitely easier since we know we will only be on the boat for 6 months, but I'll end up coming up short of some basics, I learn later.

Reuben agrees to send Hector over for a last minute buff despite the constant rain (they tell us it's rained every day for the last month!)

The decks are pretty clean, thanks to the constant rain but the cockpit is filthy!  I can only sit and watch The Captain work for so long, so I start wiping down the underside of the bimini.

This makes me nauseous so I grab laundry & leave
After a couple of days of work including recommissioning both engines (carbs are cleaned twice before they purr), The Colonel doesn't feel good.  Probably the time change & the heat are finally catching up to him!  We take a half day.  A/C, cable tv & a couch for the afternoon.

The Captain is hard on phones...
After another a day or errands, I welcomed back to the boat by a handful of iPhone pieces.  "I dropped it on a wrench..." or something like that.  BACK to the store...yes, there is a T-Mobile store in town!

Buffing by Hector
Hector is also warned off my Mama Dog, so he starts feeding her which becomes THEM.  Pretty soon, we have Mama's pack of six feral dogs waiting for us every morning...long after Hector is done.


Another rainy day in the yard. The boat is definitely home--we're packing underwear, pillows, toothpaste, coffee pot, etc to take BACK to the house to make it through the weekend. The Captain is starting on "little things", so I guess it's time to start provisioning.  

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The sun is out. The Captain is checking things off his list. (Solar panels?  Check. The fridge is working w/o draining the batteries?  Check.)

El Capitan at work

We're close. I'd love the sails out of the cabin but that's last on The Captain's priority list. So I drug the main sail off the bed & I'll be climbing over it unpack clothes, make the bed, etc. Good times. Are we having fun yet?  At least it's not currently raining...

Phew!  Kayak drug out from under the boat and up on deck.  Dinghy in the davits.  Tools put away.  Ready for a different view...
In my opinion, the best way to make a boat/rv a home is making the bed.  It was the first thing I did in Annapolis with our flannel sheets & comforter (not a coincidence our former house, boat & rv have queen beds!).  It took me a few days to unbury the bed & air out everything but it's done!  Groceries unpacked. Move in & splash tomorrow @ 1:30!

Even more rain!  We'll be floating ourselves to the marina soon

She's a blur as she jogs through the boat.  "This looks familiar"

"Not sure why this is in the bathroom..."
And now for the Amelia the Princess inspection.  Food, water, litter pan...check, check, check.  Apparently, I passed muster.  Down for a nap, but she's keeping an eye on me.

"Yep, that's where my litter pan goes..."

Cockpit & deck scrubbed down. THEN it started it rain. Followed by a flock of birds who just took a shit everywhere...

Uh oh. When the lift arrives, they're gonna make us get off the boat (into the pouring rain). Then our first docking in 5 months with yours truly out on deck throwing lines (in the pouring rain). Oh, and our foul weather gear smells like a hot, humid boat locker!  Now we're living the glamorous, cruiser life 

We're still newbs at this boat yard thing.  Reuben shows up before the lift and hands us the plastic we need to put on the slings--to protect our new bottom paint.  "Huh?  Thank you!"

It's still raining well past our "splash" time.  Finally, the B-team shows up (No Benny, our favorite lift operator, for our splash...)

The lift operator pauses after removing all the jack stands for us to slap on some more paint!  Dang, wish we'd known that.  We gave Reuben our leftovers.

And now I pace...
As the lift starts to move, our home starts to sway side to side WAY MORE than we like.  Yes, we knew we were parked on an angle, resulting in the boat not being centered in the slings.  Dang.  That's painful to watch.  Hold on, Amelia!

It's a long walk...
Still gently swaying, but not so bad...


Here we go!  In the "well"...

Splash!  These guys are pros. They went off to have a cup of coffee while the engines warm up & we "check for water"!
We're not sure how this is supposed to go.  Somehow, we have to get back on the boat.  And I still need to go sign reams of paper... They back the boat up to the end of the well, then an employee hops on and helps us jump over to the boat.  I'm surprised when he motions me on also, so we can "check for water down below & warm up the engines".  Well, that's an excellent idea!  Clearly, they've had a few boats they've had to lift a few boats back out immediately.

AND then someone is frantically motioning me back off the boat.  Yep, back over to sign reams of paper--and they've move the yard office, but luckily I get a golf cart ride.  Shanaz, waves me over to the marina office...because she is with someone and I have to CHECK BACK IN TO THE MARINA!  Yheez.  The dock hands are calling the office on the radio because they're waiting for us at our slip.  Someone brings me a cup of coffee (I believe the employees understand the reams of paperwork is frustrating for customers.  Seriously, management.  We've stayed at your dock & yard before.  We'll be good!).  Then they call Shanaz to us get released from the yard (Yes, they're paid up).  "Does the Captain need you to move the boat?"  YES.  "OK, you go and come back...they're waiting..."  Now I'm sprinting back across the marina & jump across to the boat in time to catch lines from the wonderful PdR employees.  We paid a lot of money to stay here and the employees make it worth it.  We're a boat again!

Before the main can go back on...Batt cars?!  Don't ask...
Both engines are running.  We're floating and not taking on water.  We find our slip which is on Dock 13, at the end leaving us lots of room to maneuver.  Tied off with minimal excitement.  Yeah!

Whew!  Our view from Dock 1312

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