Life on the Hard

Sailors love jargon. They don’t call the front of the boat “the front”, but “the bow”. They call the back of the boat the stern. The kitchen is the galley, and the toilet is the head. Sailors will tell you that the toilet is called “the head” because on old sailing ships, that’s where you went to relieve yourself- to the “head”, or front, of the boat. “Wait a minute,” the logical person protests, “You just said the front of the boat was called the bow, not the head.” The sailor will reply, “Look, I don’t care where you go, just make sure you wash it down afterwards!”

So, when your boat is hauled out on land, you don’t say “on land”, you say, “on the hard”. I asked Capn Nautologic why that is, and he said, “I don’t know,” then thought for a moment and postulated, “Because the ground is hard?” Hmmm….

I have another explanation: that life on a boat out of the water is hard. Actually, “inconvenient” would be a better description, but saying that your boat is “on the inconvenient” takes too many syllables.

On Sugata, many of our comforts depend on the boat being in the water. There’s our refrigerator, which uses salt water to cool the compressor. There’s our galley sink, which empties out into the sea (but since we’re having the bottom painted, we need to keep the hull dry). And most of all, there’s the head, which uses sea water for flushing.

The boat yard has a bathroom, but we’re about 200 yards from it, so… while “on the hard” we have this special piece of equipment, which in nautical terms is called… (wait for it)… “the pee bucket”.

The pee bucket works just fine, but emptying it is tricky, as it requires Capn Sloshy to carry the bucket up the companion way, out through the cockpit, and down the wobbly ladder that we use to get on and off the boat. The other drawback of the bucket is… the smell! At times I felt like a hamster with a negligent owner, left to scurry about in search of fresh air. One night I had a dream that we had a baby boy, and his diaper was wet so I went to change him, but he peed all over the bed! I awoke in a panic, and though I was relieved to find the sheets dry under Todd, I realized that the whole cabin smelled like wet diapers!

Luckily we discovered the solution: we just add a few drops of this Japanese toilet deodorizer that my mom picked up in Hawaii. This amazing product somehow nullifies foul odors. Capn Einstein theorizes that it creates an oily barrier layer on the top of the water; I don’t know why he ignores the obvious, which is that the stuff is magic! We call this magical deodorizer “poop juice”.

You know you’re in for a romantic evening when Capn Sweet Talk turns to you and asks, “Honey, did you put poop juice in the pee bucket?”

The other hard thing about being “on the hard” is all the work you end up doing. In addition to getting the sails back on, polishing all the stainless steel, and putting on a couple new coats of varnish, we ended up having to scrub down and wax the hull. Apparently the boat was stored near a pond, off of which came a weird greenish dust that stained all of our fiberglass.

Fortunately, I have discovered the ultimate tool for getting Capn Slacker to work: the 30 peso margarita! We found these cheap yet potent concoctions at a bar called Charlie’s Rock, which overlooks a pretty bay just west of San Carlos. One afternoon, we drove over to the city of Guaymas to pick up a new exhaust elbow for the engine. There is an amazing welding shop there where we took our old, corroded piece, and in just over 24 hours, they custom-built an identical one out of stainless steel, for about $160!

On the way there, we hit something on the road that made a terrible racket. We pulled over and I could hear air coming out of our tire. We high-tailed it for the nearest gas station, and on the way came across a tire store. In about 15 minutes we had a new tire installed. “We need to get a jack,” said Capn Boy Scout. “I could have sworn I had one,” I mumbled. “It’s irresponsible,” he continued. “What if we’d been on the freeway, miles from anywhere? We’re going to buy one immediately!”

So off we went to Auto Zone, where we bought a new jack. Todd went to put it in the trunk and then said, “Oh.” “What is it?” I asked. “Um, looks like we already have one,” he said. “I just didn’t see it. But you know, we really should have one of those special lug nut wrenches….”

After our second trip to Auto Zone, neither of us was in a very good mood. Even the thought of his shiny new exhaust elbow didn’t cheer up Capn Cranky Pants. So when he mentioned stopping at Charlie’s Rock on the way back, I agreed. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about the 30 peso margarita. “For $2.25, how good can it be?” I asked. Todd, however, was suddenly an optimist. “For $2.25,” he cried giddily, “how bad could it be?!”

This past Sunday was our last work day “on the hard”, so we had to finish up. I told Todd that if we were done before sunset, we’d hit Charlie’s Rock again. Guess who was up at 8am, for the first time in weeks? Guess who had a special spring in his step all day? It seems so obvious now- I don’t know why it never dawned on me before! Oh mighty margarita, is there anything you can’t do?

Click this link for some serious dance action…

From 20090214SanCarlos

2 Responses to “Life on the Hard”

  1. Sherry says:

    Sounds like you’re having fun. Hard-ly! (giggle)
    Josh is eagerly waiting your arrival in La Paz he regularly says “I haven’t seen Sugata , yet.”
    He has a couple of buddies that walk their dogs together on the Magote. I saw no mention of “puppy” in your posting. Must mean you don’t have one on board…?
    I am dying to wrap up school and work and hassels of NA living and join my rogues onboard the Theo. I hope to be in LP on April Fools Day. Will I see you there? -hoping!

  2. MArcus says:

    Keep an eye on that elbow.
    With exhaust gases stainless steel doesn’t seem to last very long.
    The old one looks like the one I replaced many years ago. I had two of the piece where the water was injected made so I could swap out just that part.
    Man I miss Mexico.
    Have fun guys and have a margarita for me while I am apparently permanently stuck on the hard here.