Thursday, March 19, 2009

Water Week

Click on photos to enlarge!Work boats wrestle barge off my stern.

"A sailor afloat is a prisoner in danger of drowning."

Dr. Johnson

Barge in place, ready to make NOISE!

“You don't drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there”
Edwin Louis Cole

Crane tops the masts.

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it”
Lao Tzu

For those of us who live afloat, water is a potential adversary that must always be regarded with respect, like cooking fire. Bringing it aboard in the sheep's clothing of plumbing, inviting it inside the hull, is a folly that only domestic comfort could demand and be granted.

Rust, too, never sleeps nor ever awaits an invitation. Under the tutelage of water and rust, my past week has been something not entirely unlike imprisonment, giving me an appreciation for the lives and contributions of galley slaves throughout the ages.

As many of you know, there has been major harbor construction all around me for weeks now. Cranes and compressors to the front of me, heavy equipment to my rear, powerboats scant feet off of my stern as they wrestle the work barge (above) near enough to send vibrations racing through water, hull, and finally into my nervous system. And it has been rather nervous of late as you might guess!

So I was delighted to escape with a gal pal for a few quiet hours of palliative acquisition (shopping) today-a-week-ago. It was upon my return aboard that this saga really begins; the incessant jack hammer & diesel assault had only been softening me up for the main event. . .

Know that feeling of returning home wishing only for a cup of tea? Well I soon forgot my cuppa when I noticed the diminutive lake growing in my engine room!

The mechanical castanets of doom outside mocked me with their inescapable chattering as I switched on the savior pump. With so much noise, I couldn't discern the potentially home-saving hum of the pump. Then slowly, too slowly, the lake began to recede.

The lake had formed while I was away and all shore-water coming aboard turned "off." This meant that wily water had wormed it's way through quarter inch steel and tons of cement. The real question? When might the full "gush" finish the job?

It takes a lot to get the favourite husband to come home early. He loves what he does, and has a position of some responsibility. But water aboard is code for "get back here NOW!" And it worked.

Pumps should be automatic. I should be a best selling author. We don't always get what we want right away. Careful timing showed that I had two hours between manual pump outs. Not too bad: I could leave the boat for an hour, and sleep in two hour shifts. Husbands need their jobs and so get to sleep through - only fair. The first night was not too bad. A float switch was acquired and a repairman contacted.

With Miss Kitty, this computer, and everything we own aboard, I was ready to do what it takes. Lionesses always protect the cave. I only hoped that the suddenly puny-appearing pump would hold up and adhere to my 2 hour feeding schedule. Then the water speeded up.

Repairmen running true to form, Sunday rolled around without a resolution. Hubby stayed aboard to meet and greet (and pump) while I was paroled for about seven hours of socialization, secure in the knowledge that the problem would soon be solved. . .

The lack of sleep, and underlying tension (grab EVERYTHING and RUN!) finally broke over me like a trunami as I returned home to more repairman excuses and a 2o minute interval on the pumps. Electric back-up pump in place, and a timer at hand I settled in for an all-nighter. Two hours of sleep seemed so luxurious now!

I watched a fascinating documentary on TV about Henry Langois and the Cinematique. Virtually the first person to grasp the curatorial value of film, he set out to preserve these fragile documents of volitile nitrate stock. His story played a central role in the cultural upheavals of the Sixties, it seems, and I revelled in the footage of Parisian students rioting in grainy black and white footage. I read the English subtitles until it was time for the next pump-out.

Hubby found me twilight-dozing at 5am with the alarm ready to "beep" and kindly took over as I dozed a couple of hours before my trip to the home supply depot super store for another back-up pump, back flow limiters, and a crate of amphetamines.

When I returned home, the auto pump was finally auto pumping. That sucking sound you hear is the song of my freedom! The eminent emergency was now just a fun water feature. I always wanted to raise carp at home for fun and profit! Meanwhile, the harbor was still too churned up and opaque from rain to send a diver down. That would take another day to accomplish. . .

Yesterday, Tuesday, the diver found a suspicious spot below and plugged it with special boat-bottom magic sealer. The regular sucking noise of the pump slowed down like a patient returning from the brink of death and breathing normally again. . . And so we passed a second full night of blessed sleep.

Today we are drying out, I could even leave the boat all day if I wasn't so wasted. Drier weather has returned too, bringing back mesmerizingly blue Waikiki skies. The blessed, soothing Trade Winds have been filling back in all day. Paradise regained - for now. LOL!

So now you know why this blog missed posting on Tuesday. Hope you understand! And the construction? It's down to a dull roar today - but at least I'm free to leave. . . For now ;-)

A L O H A! Cloudia