Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's Been Two Months Already?

(click on pictures to enlarge)

It's really hard to believe it was two whole months ago that we met George and Merima aboard Moonshadow and took her out sailing for our first time.  On the other hand, maybe it's not so hard to believe, considering the fact that we've been here at River Bend boatyard for half of that time.  A Month!  That seems like forever.  With the boat torn apart and workmen onboard everyday, riggers up the mast, floorboards pulled up, headliners pulled down, lockers emptied (their contents expanding like popcorn), at times, our beautiful home seemed neither beautiful nor homey.   

One day, we couldn't sit anywhere below deck because every spot was filled with stacks of loot extracted from lockers.  Also, the wallpaper hanger, who promised to finish the aft staterooms in "a day or a day and an half", left after 3 hours complaining about the heat.  We had moved everything from the two aft staterooms (which included things from other places to make room for other workmen) into our stateroom (thinking we could move it back at the end of the day) stacking everything on our berth, which totally filled the stateroom.  That night, we slept in the salon, Deb on the settee and John on the deck.

We are really, really close to being done.  All the workmen have left and taken all of their tools but despite really really thinking we'd be sailing north this weekend, we'll still be here through Memorial Day. 

Through it all, we've used the time to complete all the boat chores on our list, like sewing a tear in the dodger.  We've put everything back into the lockers, scrubbed the decks, vacuumed, wiped, shined, cleaned, and generally returned Moonshadow to a beautiful home, and things are finally returning to "normal".  

Then, we moved Moonshadow from the middle of the boatyard out to a pier on the river where there's some grass and trees.  That little move has changed everything for us.  It no longer feels  quite like we're in boatyard hell, just on it's front porch, and we're smiling again!

With the wind dead still, we attended to one of the things on the to do list:  Hoist the Storm Trysail.  It was good to do these drills (we hoisted the storm staysail last week) and learn what's required should we ever need to do this for real.

We have friends here.  This little guy (who isn't so little... 2-3 feet  long) was a bit shy but got caught by John's camera as he dove  into the river.  Later we found a really little (about 3") stow away aboard Moonshadow in the engine room.  He just might be related to the big guy from the grass! John tried to catch him but he got away, so we are now three!

Some of our other friends here include  an Englishman, Mark Lillingston, and his beautiful John Alden schooner Jaldevi.  Mark sailed Jaldevi here from St. Lucia in the Caribbean as part of a contract to sell this beautiful yacht.  
photo courtesy Mark Lillingston

Unfortunately, her foremast broke on the way, but luckily, Mark was able to keep the rig standing until reaching the boatyard where we are.  Deb and I and Mark are like kin.  After all,  we're two boat owners, and we all live in boatyard hell.  
Mark found Mike, a yacht carpenter in Canada qualified to do the repairs to her wooden foremast, so soon, Jaldevi will be all back together, delivered to her new owner, and Mark will be released from boatyard hell, and own just one boat.  Lucky bastard!  

We had a great dinner aboard Moonshadow with Mike and Mark our first night out at the pier on the river, which really helped us feel like cruisers again.  It was nice to have interesting conversation with interesting people.  This is one of the things about cruising we've so looked forward to as a part of our new life aboard Moonshadow.

Another boat left today.  Victoria Express, a steel fishing boat from Zanzibar is sailing to Haiti with a cargo of mattresses, bikes, lawn furniture, chain link fence... you name it!   They've been here for a year and a half.  The whole time we've been here with Moonshadow, we've watched a daily parade of trucks driving up with the worst looking used mattresses you can imagine.  I suppose there are people in Haiti who will be thrilled to sleep on them considering the alternative - a sad commentary on the state of Haiti's earthquake recovery.  That is if Victoria Express ever reaches Haiti... As this blog is written, two tugs returned up the New River with Victoria Express in tow.

Memorial Day weekend is for taking time off, so we did, taking a bike ride to Slacker's Bar & Grill, which we thought was right up our alley.  There we had a delicious lunch and drinks while watching the Indy 500 on a huge TV screen, including a wicked crash!

Later, we rode through "Deb's Cemetery".  That's what we call the cemetery where Deb does her morning run.  Being Memorial Day weekend, with American flags and flowers adorning the graves, it was a really pretty and peaceful place.  There is a Banyon tree in the park that rivals the big one in Lahina, Maui.  Here's Deb in front of about 25% of the tree's trunk system.

Ok, really, we shouldn't complain about boatyard hell.  After all, if we had left as originally planned or any of the many amended plans we've thought would be possible, we would have been smack dab in the middle of some pretty grim weather up the coast.  First there was Tropical Storm Alberto that stirred up the Carolinas, and now there's Tropical Storm Beryl that is threatening to become Hurricane Beryl, and will make landfall in Jacksonville tonight.  

Good thing we're right here on the New River at River Bend Marine Center where all we have to deal with is some fierce thunderstorms!  

Just a little slice of heaven.

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