To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.
There was a hefty service charge at Nanny Cay - unless you let the yard do your bottom work. We hired them to paint on the antifouling. We weren’t ready to paint the first coat of antifouling until 2:30 one afternoon. When Ed told Talbot, our worker, that he wanted the paint put on by brush, rather than roller, Talbot said he would need someone to help him get the first coat on that afternoon. I offered to paint one side of the hull, and told Talbot he could do the other side. I had regretted that I wasn’t going to be painting the antifouling. I remembered the satisfaction of the finished job, but had conveniently forgotten how much work was involved!
Talbot suggested he and I have a race, which Ed vetoed. We did it anyway! Talbot finished only a little ahead of me – however, he took his break, and he painted the large rudder and propeller by himself. He told me I did well. He was surprised I got the paint on the boat instead of all over myself, like most amateurs. When Talbot came the next day to do the second coat, I told him he could do Tropic Moon’s bottom, and I would paint the dinghy bottom – that was the extent of my remaining enthusiasm.
After almost three weeks on land, we thought Tropic Moon would go back in the water on Friday, April 30th. On Thursday afternoon, Ed happened to try to turn our wheel; it was very stiff. We did go in late Friday after Ed spent a day and a half taking everything apart to find the problem. He decided the heat from the extensive welding must have turned the old lubricants in the rudder system into some kind of solidified gel. He cleaned things out as best he could. The wheel/rudder was still stiffer than before, but manageable.
That day, I had painted the white topsides along the waterline. We were both exhausted, so I asked the marina manager if Tropic Moon could stay the night in the haul out slip. He approved it. Ed checked the bilge after dinner, and found the three new valves he had put on the seacocks were all leaking. I found the toilet was leaking, with seawater all over the head floor. Then Ed saw what appeared to be a leak in the hull in the bilge area between the head and galley, by an old welding patch done in Grenada.
On Saturday morning, we called the manager at home, told him we had a slow leak, and that we’d have to haul again. He said he’d come by Sunday morning. We lined up a welder, too. By Sunday morning, the leak had stopped. We told each other that if it were a hole in the hull, it wouldn’t have stopped leaking. Ed got out the chipping hammer, and chipped away the patching compound on the inside of the hull. Ed found – underneath the patch, a drain hole, which led from the head. So it had been the toilet seawater that had been leaking. What a relief that was, not having to haul the boat again!
Our haul out, with the welding, painting, and supplies, cost us $1850. We picked up our new mizzen sail - $838 – and navigation lights - $200. We found we’d gone through all the savings from Ed’s job. We were glad we had that extra money to spend.
One day during the haul out, I went into Road Town and closed our savings account. It felt funny, watching the teller tear up our savings book. While in town, I saw a friend, Roxie, and we exchanged addresses. It gave a sense of finality to things. At the end of all the projects, and despite the fact that Tropic Moon seemed intent on self-destruction, we decided we were ready to leave the islands.