Bad Romance

I mentioned on a previous post that I needed to do some Varnishing work, and was saving it for the end of my project list. The best for last.

The romance of working with wood, it’s aroma, the textures, its hidden colors and details suddenly revealed by the Varnish.

And indeed it was like that. For about 3% of the time.

Continue reading “Bad Romance”

It Rings a Bell. Or Two.

The things that can happen in a boat …

So, another day I went to bed early, the body tired from another intense day of work on deck under the blazing sun (I had started Varnishing, but I won’t even get started with it now otherwise this post won’t finish today). In fact, over the last few weeks I had been going to bed early almost every day, feeling more tired than I would expect to be, attributing it to a combination of age (…) and the extreme heat/sun outside.

Anyway, I hadn’t been long on bed when my slumber was interrupted abruptly by a loud beep.

It’s not common to have something beeping inside the cabin, and always a source of concern. Off I came from bed to investigate, hoping for a quick fix that would lead me back to bed soon.

The source of the problem was our stove. Ours is equipped with a simple system that “sniffs” gases, and triggers an alarm (boats being basically in the form of a bowl inside, any heavier-than-air gases – like Propane – tend to accumulate inside. Hence the heightened care with potential leaks). I had worked on our propane system a few weeks ago and was pretty confident it was OK. After sniffing around, I could’t find any traces of the gas and declared the stove’s alarm system faulty (it had happened before), disactivating it.

And back I went to my sleep.

But at about 4AM I was awakened by a different alarm. Again ! This time it was the CO alarm which went off.

OK, that was too much coincidence ! Two alarms of different kind being triggered so closely. Something was wrong.

Thinking about it, it downed on me: because of the heat outside, I have kept Pesto’s air conditioning on since my arrival, 6 weeks ago. Before that, for the 3 months that preceded my arrival, the boat had been basically closed. And before that, for the week we worked decommissioning her at the end of last year, the aircon was on all the time as well. The point is, for months the cabin had been mostly closed, and the same air being recirculated inside with the air conditioning. Throw in some fumes from the thinner and varnish that may have percolated down from the cockpit, and our air-quality alarms went all bazooka inside.

Accordingly, I opened all hatches, switched our fans at the maximum, angled in a way to induce a vortex inside and lead the air out, and this way aired the cabin thoroughly.

The alarms didn’t go off again. And guess what, I’ve felt less tired at the end of each day since.

Another lesson learned.

More on Projects

Well, I’m sorry to linger on the subject, but this has been all of my focus lately, getting Pesto ready for the upcoming season. This was again a rather intense week (the one just past). I’m practically done in the engine room, which is excellent. Also on deck only a few jobs remain. I should have tackled them today, but was feeling lazy and allowed myself to indulge into something less physical instead. Browsing the To-Do list, something quickly appealed – to download Nautical Charts.

Populating our off-season To-Do list every year, we normally download refreshes to our existing charts as well as new charts to the areas we are supposed to cruise in the upcoming season.

In the bandwidth-deprived environs that we dwell, this activity often takes a good part of a day. Rather than finding it a drag, I actually look forward to it. Not only does it offer a respite from the otherwise physically-intensive projects on the list, but it is also a rather “romantic” moment. As the data drips slowly through the thin pipes of internet linking these pieces of paradise to the digital world, the charts appear on screen gradually, revealing the places that we may or may not be visiting within a few months time.

Doing the download today brought me a vivid memory of last years’ when, a few days preceding our departure, sitting at a hotel’s lobby in Barra de Navidad, I watched as the French and Polynesian names of the places started to pop up on the screen, of places so far away from us then, the nearest one requiring a non-stop 3,000 mile passage. I was filled with a mix of anxiety and curiosity as I looked at those places, as if it wasn’t really true that we would soon cruise them.

And we did – as vastly documented on this blog !

Today, there is far less anxiety involved. We ARE already here, and most passages this year shall be significantly shorter – between 3 and 6 days each, on average. And with less anxiety, I can enjoy more the curiosity aspect of it. How will the reception be in the Cook Islands, given that Pesto is flagged there? Will we see the whales in Niue? How will the culture be in the kingdom of Tonga? The endless paradisiac islets and bays of Fiji. Will we have the opportunity/ time to cruise Vanuatu? Will New Caledonia be a suitable place for the upcoming off-season?

Downloading and Refreshing our charts today has been a worthwhile warm up exercise, to remind me that these projects will soon end, that they serve a purpose, to get us out there, to fulfill our wanderlust, our plan, to proceed with our Journey.

And now I have less of an excuse to finish up the work on the deck tomorrow 🙂

Have a great week !