It’s fairly well understood that your time spent in a boat yard is not a bowl of cherries, nor is it the pits, because even the choice of spending time with pits (or even in a pit with pits) would be better than in a boat yard. They’re steamy hot places, they’re dusty, toxic chemicals and their odors abound, and did I mention hot? Then while there, you’re taking bits and pieces of the boat apart and putting them back together again, in the hopes that all’s improved afterwards. This time around, we thought we’d have a shorter stay than the first boat yard 10-day trial the year before, while we were REALLY rookies, since now we have a few years of fixing things on a boat (i.e. “broke or about to”) under our belts. But you’re with the man of your dreams, the boat of your dreams, and a view to kill since this boat yard is located on a peninsula of the Abacos, so you make the best of it. What does it matter really if the anticipated 2 weeks (just in case) turned into 5 weeks, we know how to roll with the waves and the punches as they come. It’s Island Time, mon.
The warrantied bottom paint that was prematurely ablating was late upon arrival… delayed start. Then we hoped to replace the one thru-hull on the boat (where the boat has a hole from the inside, straight to the ocean) since it was a little leaky. Indeed you don’t want this area on a boat to be leaky, no, no. Not much help was found on the Amel Forum for ideas on how to complete this chore since few (NONE) other Amelians have had the problem, so that was not reassuring. Paul spent hours in the grueling heat, in a hard to reach area of the engine room, naturally, to get the old one out and a new one in. It took all sorts of engineered MacGyver sort of tools and bits, which Paul is amazing at designing, and lots of stamina which everyone needs to summon in order to get through. Then we decided to service the retractable bow thruster too, annual routine maintenance. This device helps Paul move the bow left and right especially when he’s backing the boat into a slip. Very helpful. Well, it seems some salt water had gotten into the gears of our bow thruster, and it was all frozen, rusted and needed to be taken apart, in a multi-step process way beyond the routine annual protocol. Many times we showed up at the machine shop with a frozen bit and they’d just look over at us and say, “What’s THAT?” We’d explain and they’d brainstorm with how they could get it apart or create a tool that could get it apart or plan a, b, c and then…. not sure…. Then we moved onto machine shop #2 when the owner of #1 got sick. It all got done and boy did we learn a lot. A LOT!
All the while we were riding to and from the boat yard on our foldable bikes. Sometimes on days we had to go to the hardware store to get parts, we could rack up to 10 miles a day. Twice daily, we had the luxury of two commuting route options to and from the boat yard: RiskYourLife Highway or RiskALimb (to the crazy-mean-unleashed dogs) Avenue. We got proficient and could time our best route correctly, depending on the time of day or day of week, like anyone commuting to work would, but with a special set of challenges. So odds were taken into consideration as well, in addition to precautions – and we made it past mostly intact. We not only survived but became professional dog shooers. Ya know, the opposite of the whisperers.
We were lucky to have been boat-sitting our friends Oyster 54 the first 3.5 weeks while the RK was out of the water. It’s bad enough to be working in a boat yard all day, we try not to sleep there to give ourselves a bit of respite.
The second 1.5 weeks we stayed in an Air B-n-B called “Cozy Cottage” in the middle of a pine forest and not far from Da Bae, a great waterfront restaurant with simple, fresh fish and view to die for. It was on the west coast of Great Abaco Island in an area called the Marls.
It’s famous for it’s bone fishing. I don’t know what bone fish are, but there were none on the menu which I always found curious. Maybe they’re not edible or it wasn’t bone fishing season??? But it’s sort of like fly fishing from what I understand. The balm for our boat yard scars was provided by that view, a cool, long shower and fresh hog snapper for dinner most nights for the last week, which was all we needed to be reminded that life anywhere you are has it’s ups and downs. And our downs were not too bad if they resulted in a manicured, well-maintained and very shiny vessel – inside and out, back in the water for more adventures to come.