Saturday, July 18, 2009

Decommissioning Don Quixote for the Summer

Regurtigating Crap
Regurtigating Crap
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
We're leaving the boat for at least six weeks in Santa Rosalia. During that time there is a small but finite chance she'll have to ride out a small hurricane without us. Even if she doesn't, Don Quixote is going to sit for many weeks in the blazing sun all by herself. No family. No cat. No friendly mechanic to pat her diesels and soothe her ruffled rigging. She is going to be alone, lonely, solo.

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.

Regurtigating Crap
Purging Pleasures
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
Mera, Aeron, and I are just about done in, though. We're ready to spend days driving here and there. We are definitely ready to be off the dock and away from Santa Rosalia. I don't know how long we'll spend in the States; We've been hearing horror stories from cruisers who proceeded us up there into the Real World which suggest it's not such a fun and happy place.

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.


Anonymous said...

We have a small beach house on the other side of the Sea of Cortez, in Bahia de Kino. We don't go anywhere near it in the Summer, too darn hot. I am amazed you made it to mid July. Even September is way too hot.

Anonymous said...

We love reading your stories and have a family of our own who may someday be down in Mexico aboard our sailboat. I'd be interested in you doing a post sometime on the things you consider most valuable have aboard your boat or to know about cruising down there with kids. Like, how do you get water? What kitchen things can you not do without? How many things of sunscreen do you go through a week and can you get it there? Anything along those lines would be useful.

Thanks so much and happiness to your family!

Toast said...

Anon 2 - Thanks for the questions! I'm always game for a Questions From the Class. I'll probably write it within the next few days but you won't see anything till after 8/2 since everything is in queue while we drive up to the wedding in New Mexico. ~ Toast