Sunday, May 10, 2009


"A boat is a hole in the water you throw money into."
"Bluewater cruising is doing boat work in exotic places."

Laura and I were down at the boat polishing brass and oiling wood last weekend. That was before Tom rafted up beside me with the Naomi. Tom's into serious boat work.
I'd gone over to the boat on Saturday with the idea of reading my Captain Bolitho book about square riggers, drinking Kona coffee and eating macadamia nuts left over from our sail back from Hawaii last year. That and shooting the shit.
We did that. He was lying on the other salon seat reading a Reeman destroyer novel. The chocolate coated macadamia nuts were between us. Laura had mother's day with her family Sunay so we'd decided not to go on the Mother's Day bike run with the Greater Vancouver Motorcycle Club.
He'd re wired the old depth sounder in the afternoon and concluded "one boat job a day is pushing it." It had started with me asking him to help with the wiring on the new unit when he showed me there was nothing wrong with the old unit. Just a crack in a broken wire in the housing. So that was the chore for the day. I made a run on the bike to A&W for a burgers and fries and the incomparable deep fried onion rings. After that we'd gone back to reading and drinking the last of the Kona coffee.
I was pleased that we had hot water, the heater was going. Naomi was tied up next to mine after he'd made the trip from Steveston. At night he went back on his boat and I slept peacefully in mine. Ahhh. The bliss of boat world!
Morning: My head doesn't work.
So I cross over to the Naomi.
Bang, bang, bang.
Tom appears bleary eyed, toussled hair, t shirt and god awful old man shorts, legs and bare feet.
"What is it?"
"My head doesn't work."
"Why didn't you piss in the sink?"
"I don't need to piss. I need to use your head."
"It's leaking."
"I want to do that too."
So he opened valves and water sprayed throughout the head while I relieved myself.

"Good, " I said. "Got any coffee?"
"I'm out of coffee."

So we had Tom's coffee on my boat. "JD, my French chef friend thinks this coffee is great."
"It is. I like the Fair Trade coffee," I said. "I don't think we're going to make it to church."
"Where two or more are gathered," Tom replied.
I pulled down the Book of Common prayer, began reading the Morning Service. When I was half way through, after the second Our Father, I passed it to Tom and he finished it."

"I dreamed of a solution to your mast," he said. " We can get a foot manufactured and bolt it in to the keel rather than having it welded in. Your friend Barry could make it."
"Barry of Barry and Andria.?"
Tom explained the whole concept and drew pictures.
"We're go see Barry now. " he said.
"I thought we'd have breakfast."
"I want to go to PopEyes used marine store to get the valve to stop the leak in my head. Barry's welding shop is right there in Mosquito Creek."
We walked up the dock and got in his beamer. "I should have brought another helmut for the bike, " I said.
"What's the matter, don't like my beamer. You're going to really like my new Jaguar. The girls are going to like it too."
"What's wrong with it."
"Just old. Like your boat. How old is the GIRI anyway."
"21, old enough to vote."

We drove to Mosquito Creek Marina. The First Nations folk had really fixed it up. They'd got a gift shop there now, everything was freshly painted.

"My boat was in dry dock here. I've got pictures of it in front of that twin steepled catholic church there." I said as we drove through the marina past the boats up on land.

"Hi Andria " I said. She's a dark haired beauty in constrast to fair haired Barry.
"Where's Stuart." (Stuart was my scotty dog who sailed with my cat Angel and me to Hawaii and then went through pacific quarantines and storms to be with me overseas where I was working. A great little companion. He and Andria had been best of buds when GIRI was tied up next to their Amazing Grace.)
"He was murdered."
"How come?"
"When I was working as a Medical Review Officer, people needed to be pee tested for the government jobs. I wouldn't fudge the results for the marijuania smokers. So they killed Stuart. Happened to the South African doctor I worked with. Murdered his dog too. The vet says that's what the druggies do to the gringo docs. My narcotics detective friend told me it could be me next."
"How did they do it? "
"That's an awful way to go."
"Yea, I held him while he was seizuring. Buried him over there."
"He was a good little guy. I'm sorry that happened to him. We've got a border terrier now."
"Here he is."
Barry showed up with the little brown bundle of wiry haired dog. We all went down to dog level. Dog licked my face. I relate well with dogs. Poor little guy already had had surgery.
"He had a bowel obstruction as a puppy." Andria said.
What a little sweetheart. All personality.

"You broke the mast. At the keel." Barry asked.
"Yea. "
Barry explained how he fixed these things. Much the way Tom had thought it could be done.
Barry would weld the plate and sleeve in his shop and we'd mount it under the old compression pole we'd cut off above the break. To get the right height there'd be 'shimmying'. Lots of times I heard the word "shimmy" and it had nothing to do with dancing. Lots of catching up followed. Tom and I told Barry and Andria about climbing the pole Barry had fabricated for the Wind Generator, out in the doldrums in the Pacific. Then we got talking about Barry's rebuilding rusted out land rovers and all sorts of other stuff. Andria all the while was painting things while the guys were 'shooting the shit". (The metaphor came with the head talk. We had to tell him about the head. Mariners are always swapping head stories.)

Then it was a great breakfast in a little place on the main Lonsdale drag near the other Marine store where we'd got lost for days with all the good stuff.

Seis lom was already at the breakfast place.
"Still drumming." I asked.
"Sweating too," He laughed.
I introduced Seis lom to Tom and told him about Seis'lom taking me out to a sweat lodge in Squamish.
"Seis'lom;s teaching the young guys the old drumming songs too." Seis'lom had his Canuck's cap on.

Great breakfast. Western omelette's and hash.

We went on to Pop Eyes where we disappeared into the time warp of old marine 'stuff'. I got some hose to fix my head. As an after thought Tom gave me some wood plugs to cover up where there screws had gone through the cabin wall to hold the water heater on in the Head.

"45 cents", she said. She was really perky and pretty with just slightly greying hair. "and 45c will buy another glass of beer." I sang , not knowing why.
But she added, " And I just want to hold you closer than I ever held any one before," and I continued, "you've been twice a wife, and you're through with life, ah but what the hell's it for." "I don't know any more words." she laughed.
A guy buying a used outboard said, "I'd have come earlier if I'd known there was going to be a concert.
"I know Mary Ellen Carter," she said beaming. And there in the used marine store she sang Stan Rogers acapello in the sweetest voice one could imagine
"Wow," I said, breaking the stillness and silence that followed her singing all the guys standing enchanted.
"Stan would be impressed," said Tom. And she just smiled humbly like she couldn't help being the lost daughter channelling the master father.

Back in the old Beamer I got Tom to pull over at the Starbucks so I could get another pound of ground expresso.We had a cup back on the boat.

Next thing Tom and I were in the head tearing out hosing and putting in the new. I was glad I'd changed to work clothes when I was up close where the back pressure got me. Tom was in the galley heating the water to soften the hose ends before we shoved them onto Jabsco toilet and the above water rizor t junction.
The head became functional again. I was for returning to reading and coffee but Tom wanted to hear the engine.
So I opened the water cock, checked the oil and turned it over. Sweet sweet Yanmar deisel sounds. To my ears almost like the mother's heart in the womb.

"The RPM guage doesn't work." I commented.
"Who moved the ground." Tom said, looking inside the binacle.
"You mean that old stray piece of wire hanging in there."
"Yea, that was the ground."
"How was I supposed to know that." I asked.
"Is it working now."
"Yea, where did you stick the wire."
"Alongside this black one which isn't doing anything. It's a lousy fix."
"You say."
"Want me to re wire it to the yellow DC ground over here."
"No, I see where it goes. I'll know now."
Old boats have a whole lot of those idiosyncracies like old folks. One of the reasons theives only steal the new boats.

We were back reading books and drinking coffee, then.
"I want to fix up the Jaguar I bought but I need to find a way to make the money to get all the parts. It's vintage so a door handle cost $100. "
"What about boat deliveries. Now that you've sailed back from Hawaii with me you could sail back some guys boat from the Vic Maui race. People offered to sail my boat back for $10,000. The going rate is around there. You'd be great at it. A month at sea and $10,000 in your pocket. I'd give you the best reference."
"That's a great idea. "
"So was your idea for the mast."

"Captain Bolitho is having trouble with his commodore." I said.
"He always has problems with the commodores but the Admirals like him." said Tom, taking another handful of chocolate macadamia nuts from the can.

"When Laura and I take the boat out you'll have to move your boat. You could just put it on the inside or take it along with us to one of the islands." I said.

After that I got out of the docker shoes and khaki shorts and t shirt and put the leathers back on.
"It was a good time." he said standing on the back of his boat as I headed down the dock with my helmut."
"Yea," I said, "Thanks and See you."

Up in the yard, the harley purred.

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