Thursday, 14 May 2009

Repairs, Relaxation and Reading.

It is a month since we left the dock. Finally I have time to think and cogitate on the changes that that space has wrought in my mind.
We have been kept busy in those 30 days. Repairing parts that had seized up during our long period of idleness, getting to grips with living at anchor again, entertaining visitors(very welcome ones!), and getting used to being alone with TBH again!

The boat is holding up well and we have sorted a number of small but irritating problems. After a couple of attempts at curing the leak in the aft cabin we had a eureka moment! "What's that small hole" said TBH. Yup there in the teak planking a tiny, perfectly round hole had appeared just above where the leak was making itself apparent. It seems that at some point, somebody(!) had drilled a small deep hole through the dexk, changed their mind and plugged it. As the decking has thinned the plug has worn and there is the offending hole...It turned out to be over 2" deep and has been well and truly filled with TBH's magic gloopy stuff. It will be replugged with teak once the gloop has dried.

The broken fresh water pump spigot, and the saltwater one, have been replaced with magnificent brass numbers that put the galley mixer tap to shame. have to do something about that.

After the departure of our guests we have been working to 'reclaim' the boat. To once again create that strange but tangible relationship that exists between a sailor and their vessel. She is so much more than an inanimate object. She creaks and groans as she moves through the ocean. The sounds of her moods as familiar to me as the gurglings of TBH's belly and the sound of my own breathing. I had forgotten whilst we were at the dock how alive sailing makes me feel. how the pulse quickens and the mind clears. Not just the adrenaline rushes of mouth drying moments but the quiet contemplative state as you move unconsciously to the pitch of the sea. Anticipating the little rolls and twists without conscious thought.

TBH was ashore the other morning when a big squall blew up here in the anchorage. Within minutes the wind was howling at 35 knots, the anchor chain fully extended, salt spray flying from the top of the waves that had grown magically to nasty pointy goblins in the blink of an eye. Being alone I realised that fear was ridiculous with nobody to see it! I was surprised at the calm and logical thoughts that I experienced. Second anchor ready to go if needed, yes. All stowed safely below, yes. radio on channel 16, yes. Any boats close enough to cause me a problem, maybe. So I stood in the shelter of the sprayhood, assured TBH via radio that all was well and watched the mini- malestrom play itself out. One boat(French) dragged across the anchorage. Far enough away for me to be unconcerned, finally stopping when its anchor twisted around another boat. It's owners surprised when they returned from their trip ashore to see the boat gone! no damage though. After 40 mins poof, stopped , finished, completed and all returns to normal. magic!

And now that the boat is ours again, and we are hers, time is spent reading. We have plowed through a stack of excellent books. Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels has been the best for me. A deep philosophical, yet straightforward story of life, love and death. I recommend it. TBH is catching up with Margaret Attwood's 'Robber Bride'. he's ina state of shock over the awfulness of the female psyche! We both liked the ripping fast moving detective novel, 'Broken Skin' by Stuart MacBride and were enthralled by 'The girl who played with fire' by Stieg Larrson. I enjoyed the sadness and evocative prose of 'Black Rock' by Amanda Smyth. Set in Trinidad and Tobago it was a wonderful reminder of those islands. And Mari Strachan's 'The earth hums in B flat' intrigued me with its naivety.
.and finally 'Catfish and Mandala' by Andrew X. Pham a story of a bike ride through Vietnam by a man who left as a boat refugee bought a tear to the eye with the great sadness that war and human frailty engender.

So it's given us time to think, and relax, and repair and contemplate our next move. For now we have got as far as looking at charts again and dreaming.

We are well and contented and happy.

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