Sunday, July 30, 2017

1983 (6) – Painting Tropic Moon’s Bottom

Aquarium.  An art quilt.  30" x 34"

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

It had been over a year since we’d painted the bottom of the boat; the hull was covered with a weedy, green beard.  Ed had seen too many pictures of people who took their boats in to a shore at high tide, and painted the boat's bottom while the tide was low.  He decided we would try this with our 20-ton sailboat.  My protestations that Tropic Moon would fall over made no difference.  I was somewhat mollified when Ed found a tripod of logs by the marine store, where they told us we could lean our boat.  

Aquarium.  Detail.

The next day was an auspicious one with high water at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., and good weather predicted.  We tied Tropic Moon to the tripod, set out bow and stern anchors, and ran ropes into the trees.  We felt quite sure she had nowhere to go. 

We were wrong. 

Tropic Moon went down - the front of the keel sunk about three feet into the mud we hadn't known was there.  The rear of the keel and the rudder and propeller were high and dry.  As the tide went out, we worked from the dinghy, scrubbing off the green weed, and hand-sanding the hull.  With the water gone, we continued the job standing in the mud.  Ed had less trouble than me because his boots fit, while mine were a size too big.  With the mud up to my ankles, when I'd try to move, my foot would come out of the boot.  

Aquarium.  Detail.

By the time we were ready to paint, the water had started to return.  It was a frantic race with the tide, rolling on the quick-drying paint before water covered an area.  As the water rose, we had the paint can and roller pan in the dinghy.  It felt like I had a lively dog at the end of a leash, hanging on to the rope as the dinghy pulled with the tide.  With my other hand, I was using a brush to paint the waterline freehand. 

I started to worry that the water would cover my boots, but then quit worrying.  By the time we were ready to climb back into the dinghy to finish the stern area, the water had reached my hips.  I would occasionally feel something on my leg, and lift it up to pick off a water bug.  When I finally walked out of the water, there was a snail clinging to my boot.  It was an unusual way to paint the antifouling, but, on the whole, it went pretty well. 

And mark that one on the list of things I never need to do for a second time…

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