Saturday, July 18, 2009
Decommissioning Don Quixote for the Summer
In preparation, DrC and I put together a list of Things to Do Before You Leave the Boat, a.k.a. The Decommissioning List. Okay, technically it was two lists. DrC is big on grabbing the nearest pulp product – whether it be used envelope, napkin, paper towel or cruising magazine – and having at it with a handwriting style which combines the frenetic pace of a homicidal, crack-addled race driver and the manual dexterity of a toddler. I, on the other hand, discuss the issues at length, type the notes into iGTD, organize the tasks into contexts and projects, prioritize and date each unit of work, assign resources, and create online links to related materials. After which I print the results and they rot in the same bacteria-laden, sodden pile in the corner of the salon in which you'll find DrC's notes scrawled. It's a Thing We Do.
Before DrC left, he preemptively translated the majority of his own list into action. We took down the jib and all the running rigging, washing them in Woolite before storing them off the boat in a room onshore. He conditioned the diesels with biocide and prepped the outboard for a long stretch of quiet. While he was here, we cleared the bulky items out of the lockers, took care of the electrical, and completed all the heinous annual maintenance required on both holding tanks. Then he left.
Ever since, the much reduced crew of Don Quixote consisting of good ole me and two moderately unreliable little girls have attempted to complete our Decommissioning List. All this work seemed daunting when the waves were gently rocking the boat and the cool breeze was spinning us gently into new vistas every hour or so. Now at times the list feels insurmountable. I can hardly contemplate buttering toast, let alone scrubbing out the bilges.
We have been considerably hampered by the weather. The temperature has ranged from a hot 98 to a heinous 106 during the day and has only once gone below 85 at night, usually hovering in the low 90s. The humidity dips to 45% when the wind blows from the west but spends most of its time in the 65 to 75% range. The Santa Rosalia weather site cheerfully reported this morning that was only 36C but “it feels like 43C.” That's 109 people. That's insane. Several mornings I've sat naked in the salon in front of a fan using a bag of frozen fruit to cool my head while I watched the fog roll in. I hate fog at 90 degrees.
Nevertheless, we manage to chip piece by piece at the incredibly comprehensive list I created while sitting in lazy splendor sipping rum punch in Animas Slot. With only a week or so left before V-Day (the day we put our lives into the van and head north), we are close to the point where the only tasks left are those that must be done on just about the last day: cleaning and shutting down the refrigerator and taking down the bimini, for example. I can see the light at the end of this long, effort-driven tunnel.
After living on the boat for two years, it is simply astounding how much grunge we have accumulated. As we empty out each locker, scrub it down, wipe it out, spray it with vinegar water, and reload, we daily watch the water line rise. For an awkward few weeks, the bows were six inches up and driving the transoms down as we started from the front of the boat and worked our way back. As we near completion, Don Quixote is beginning to resume her trim. I think that by the time we're done, DrC and Jaime will return astonished to our lean, mean, trim sailing machine. Whereupon we will promptly fill her with dirt, cat hair, kid crap, cheap plastic shit, and Costco bulk food items.
At least we'll know that when we get back, our boat will be ready to go. At least we know that just about anywhere we go in the States will be cooler and more comfortable than here.