20 October, 2004

I've been journalling a bit at night. Haven't had time to get to the library during the day to use the internet.

All is good. All is great!


October 11

Life is worth living because of days like today. It wasn’t because of how fantastic or exciting or intense or flawless or exceptional – or any other sort of grandiose ideal – the day was, but because today was a curious piece of the puzzle; it was one of those pieces that I needed to figure out so the other following more obvious pieces could follow. Today I met Eric Allen.
Simple that may sound, meaningless possibly. Who is Eric Allen? He’s a key; he’s a holder of mysteries; he’s a teacher; he’s a man who can fix my electrical problems and teach me how. But would he? Will he be distant and professional or will he be a friend and peer? Will he be available? Would he understand my project? Today answered these questions and opened up new opportunities.

I’m avoiding telling the story. I’m sorry, this must be a drag, but, you see, it is late, I’m tired and I want to go to bed really. Let it suffice to say that Eric Allen is a diverse, intriguing, able and pleasant guy. He is a patient teacher and a like-minded thinker. He and I have already begun ripping all the old wiring out of the boat. We have a plan. We ate bread and drank a growler of beer and told stories about our lives and times. They are not dissimilar. Tomorrow should be a full day.


Oct 14

The most amazing transformation is taking place. The boat is growing. Eric Allen (Nature) is creating something out of nothing. I don’t know what the wiring was really like – but it is totally changed – and very good, very much for the better.
The control panel Nature built is incredible, and just a quick night’s work. We’ve only been working for a few days. He’s saved me money at each corner, though I believe we’ve ‘overwired’ the boat, probably good for when I want to sell her though. A bit many lights for my liking – but I bet in the end I will totally agree with Naich (short for ‘Nature”,
He’s a hell of a guy, gets real intense when he is working. Doesn’t talk much. Doesn’t multitask well. But he does a great job and is doing me a huge service. I need to go call Rob and thank him for the connection.


Oct 17 ?

I don’t even know what the day is. I guess it is Sunday. It feels like a day, just a day, it could be any day. “Nature” and I have been working day and night to rebuild my electrical system. We got in a lot deeper than I had intended. Money well spent though. I didn’t know what I needed until I got it. I am still learning – slow osmosis.
I feel a glorious sense of being overwhelmed. I am at the headwall looking up. The face is gargantuan, but I know that every move along it is life, is worth living. A climbing metaphor!
I have now succeeded at one project. The first. Now on to the second. I thought tonight, Why don’t I go out and meet some people. Then I thought, I don’t have time. Even if I met someone I wouldn’t want to hang out with them. All I care about is working. I am obsessed. Sometimes being obsessed is fun, even healthy. There is still so much to do. I haven’t finished putting all the light fixtures back in. The compass light needs to be wired. I need to re-run the propane line aft into the cockpit. I need to find a windvane and dingy. I need to install the solar panel and fix the running lights, maybe replace them. One of my spreader lights is out as well.
I need to tune-up the engine. I need to get the alternator, no, the dynamo to charge my battery bank. I need to investigate cutting a new hatch into the sole of the cockpit for access into the rear of the engine room, but this can wait. I could go on on on, but the list gets more trival, unless I’ve neglected something important, which happens. It is hard to keep it all running in my mind, hence the ‘overwhelmed’ line. I’m getting better at prioritizing.
It is such a thrill to have cabin lights. I have working lights, good charged batteries; I can hook up to shore power. All this was impossible before yesterday. Soon I’ll have a working water system. Then a working diesel. Sometime after that I will be in the water. Then my education will shift from learning the systems to learning to sail: navigation, currents, single-handing, fast sail reefing, anchoring, charting course. Can I read the compass where it is? Will I want a bimini? Where will I pick up a mooring for the next few months? Should I move to Bellingham so I can take classes at the tech school?

I did at last get out for a run, my first. I haven’t taken the time. Today was a dreary rainy day. My first day off. I slept in and lounged. Read a couple books; drank cocoa; worked on some lights and wiring. In the afternoon I drove up north to Fort Worden, an old naval base, guarded the channel in the nineteenth century against attack. I ran along the grey beach, desiccated spruces and dark sand. Families were out picnicking, not as chilled by the weather as I was. They played in the sand. A little girl with galoshes jumped in each puddle in the parking lot. I told her that there was a great big puddle just over there and pointed to the ocean.
The beach is such a change from the Carolinas. The colors are all darker. Even on wintery days, the sand, water and sky are lighter greys. When the sky and sea turn deep blues, the sand can’t follow and the dunes and grasses never feel too fearful. But looking at those desiccated spruces out on the point, the deep clouds that seem to live there, even the rocks on the shore appear to have paid a price.


Oct 19

A more mello day, but another huge day forward. Installed an AC panel. I did a lot of the work. Me and EA were in good chill mood. Ran some errands. I VOTED!! An absentee ballet. I order my recepts and manuals. I don’t want to write another laundry list.
Then what shall I write?

A brief description of the boat.

The boat looks like a navy blue spaceship. Its hull is sleek, hourglass shaped, slowly tapering down to the keel. The deck is sandpapery, cream-colored, almost white. It is narrow, cockpit in the back. The cabin trunk raises up with narrow walkways around it. The mast and boom sand atop the cabin trunk. The foredeck is open, a cleat in the middle, a pulpit in the bow just in front of an anchor windlass. The deck is shaped like a great eye. The stern as well as the bow is narrow and overhanging the water. Around the cockpit are a few winches, nothing much else. The tiller (for steering) enters through the floor of the cockpit. Behind the tiller and cockpit is the lazerette, a compartment below the deck for stowage.

Forward from the cockpit is the companionway, the entrance to the cabin. Step down some narrow stairs and to your right is the propane cookstove, three eyes. I like it very much, clean and new. To the left is the sink. The sink and counter are all laid in granite. There are two ice chests for storage. On the port and starboard are two settees. Forward still is a door through a bulkhead. What formerly was a head is on the right, now a storage closet / workroom. TO the left a hanging closet. And then the v-berth, essentially the bow, it is a v-shaped bed with storage lockers underneath. At the foot of the vberth, at the very bow is the chain locker, where the anchor chain stays.
All along the way are port lights (windows), five on a side. In the v berth I have a hatch opening upward to the deck.

What I have spent the last week working on is what is directly aft of the cabin and underneath the cockpit. Standing at the companionway, between the sink and stove, facing aft, beneath the companionway is a control panel. In the panel are all the switches for the electrical system that are now installed. It is an amazing piece of work. It is pretty to look at, but the backside, when it is opened, is like finely combed and braided hair, of red, black, white, bundled and coiled so neatly. Fantastic.
Underneath that panel is the engine room, where all those wires attach to the batteries. Right now this is largely wasted space, behind the engine that is. All the way from the rear of the engine to the lazarete is empty space that is hard to reach. I’m going to cut a hatch in the floor of the cockpit to gain access to it.

No comments: