Sal and I will be gone for a bit. We’ll be ON the grid in a big way. It’s just a winter getta-way-cum-respite but we lock up and leave the homestead just like any vacationer does once in awhile. We drain the pipes, suspend the satellite service, give away the frozen food and any fresh veggies and ask our neighbours to watch over things. And our neighbours are the best in the world and will do a great job. So, it is all good.
But, when you leave Off-TG, you have a few extra challenges. All the motors have to be left fueled up to the brim so that condensation doesn’t form. All vulnerables have to be stored away. You kinda winter-proof (rain, wind and snow) what needs extra protection when you are not there. But the biggest concern is what to do with the boat.
Enclosed boats can be left, of course. Most boats over 22 feet have full enclosures and are left at a marina, some for years at a time. Leaving a boat in the water is OK so long as it is NOT an open runabout-type. Open runabouts will fill with water after three days of heavy rain and sink engine first. It is not uncommon for boats to sink out here. Happens all the time.
“Why not get a canvas enclosure?”
That’s a good idea. But they are annoying as hell, expensive, structurally weak and not in the least foolproof. Canvas is not an answer for us – we use the boat too often and a full enclosure is just another way to waste time and money – for us. And a usable partial enclosure doesn’t do the job of full weather protection.
There’s no two ways about it; when you leave for any length of time, you have to haul the boat up on to the ‘hard’.
If I am gone for only a week, I’ll leave it it dockside and take a chance that the crappy bilge pump doesn’t pack it in THAT week or maybe it doesn’t rain that much. I’ll just leave it if I can stand to do so. If it is a ten-day escape, I may do the same thing but I will worry more. I simply cannot leave the boat two weeks without having it attended to every three days and that’s a burden on others. Too crazy making.
Two weeks of absence requires the boat be pulled up onto the land usually by way of the make-shift marine ways that has served us well for the past decade.
Not this time. This year the higher tides, a poorly-timed storm and the advanced structural degradation of our slung-to logs took our haul-out away ramp from us. Building a new one is yet another project for the coming year. In the meantime, we have to take the boat to the other island, haul it, tow it and pay for storage on it’s trailer.
And so, that was the plan for yesterday.
Yesterday was -2C. Sal took her boat, I took ours (she has 75% of the shares in our navy). We were destined for the end-of-the-road on the opposite island. We also took all our vacation luggage and a bunch of tools (for the trailer) and a huge bag of concentrated, unrecyclable garbage. My boat was full.
The immediate chore was to pull out our trailer from the forest undergrowth where we push it so as NOT to take up a parking space, hook it up (after years in the bush) to the car and then for me to go back to the boat and head down the coast to the community ramp on the other island. Sal would drive the car and empty trailer on the treacherous ice-road down that neighbouring island and meet me if she can make the journey. In these conditions, the trip is not a given.
An hour later, I was down at the south end, tied up at the ramp and putting on my gumboots. One was unexpectedly filled full of water. An untended fender had kicked up a spray on the way down and filled my boot. But, what else are gumboots for, really? You fill ’em! Everyone fills their boots, no? So, I put on my one dry and one wet boot and got about our business.
Sal was there.
I then drove the car and trailer down the ramp and into the water to receive the boat. Sal maneuvered the boat expertly onto the trailer. Like a pro. We winched Wasabi up and on. It was remarkably uneventful. I was pleased.
Until I saw the trailer’s flat tire. “Oh well, we only have to go a block or two. We’ll drive on the flat slowly. It will get us there. Better put on the list two more newer tires.”
“Shouldn’t we tie the boat down?”
“Nah. At 5 kms an hour it won’t bounce out. But better add to the list a new winch rope. That old one looked pretty sketchy.”
And so the boat was hauled slowly up the ramp, along the yard and up the nearby road and put away in the storage yard. Then we went to the local Inn to dump a bag of garbage ($7.00 which we pay about twice a year). And, while there, they (Inn management) ordered five more books. And we had them with us! THAT cheered me up. And then, off we went headed back home.
Forty five minutes of ice-roading got us back to the top of the island, parked at the end of the road and then we helped two neighbours with a heavy stove they were loading onto a small boat. Other neighbours arrived, exchanged good wishes, helped each other and, after all the greetings, we all headed off in different directions. Sal and I on her little 11.5′ skateboard. It was getting on to dusk and the temperature was dropping.
We arrived soon enough at our nearest neighbour’s dock. Hailed farewell. No hugs ’cause everyone is ill………..but, then she said…:”We went crabbing today. Got two for you if you want ’em?”
“We do. We forgot all about planning for dinner and now, here it is! Thanks!”
And so one neighbourly good turn was returned right back at us for dinner. I made sushi. Crab and avocado sushi to die for. Drank some hot sake to ease it down.
PURE, FRESH CRAB Sushi……seriously? Does it get any better?
So? What did we do today? Well, we took the boat out of the water and made dinner. ………..I dunno……..call me crazy but it sounded like so much more at the time. The day was rich and full and exciting and beautiful and we enjoyed some friendship and some really good food to boot.
Mind you………….there WAS the boot….