A friend of mine lives on a big ship. The ‘J’ is over 100 feet long, pretty beamy and has a flat bottom. It was a small tanker back in the day. My friend handles it alone. That, in itself, is not easy. Hell, just getting the old engines started is NOT easy. If this ship was more modern and had all the modern computer-controlled equipment, it would still employ a crew of three at a minimum. Instead, ‘friend’ does the work of three people and, quite frankly, he is no spring chicken, either. Not easy being Green (the colour of his vessel).
But that is NOT the adventure referred to in the blog title. The real adventure is that ‘friend’ has to maintain the damn thing now and then. Maintain includes all the things you would expect but it also includes cleaning the hull. That’s right, over 2500 square feet of ship’s ‘bottom’ needs cleaning, checking and painting.
He does that alone, too.
He finds a shallow beach and calculates the tides so that he has an hour or two with the boat first resting on the bottom, high and dry, so that he can clean and paint the foot or so up to the waterline. Then, as the boat rises with the tide, he bends down and starts to scrape off the barnacles and weeds by reaching under the boat. That’s right – 2500 square feet of flat bottom ship is eventually just floating at over-his-head height as he walks under it along the bottom of the bay with a scraper and/or pressure washer. Ship looms over his head. Marine crap all falling down. Dark. Ominous. Alone.
He can’t get it done all in one day (lazy butthead!) so he is anchored remote for the time it takes. Typically 3 or four days. Still the tides change by about 45 minutes every day and so his work schedule also shifts daily. The only way he can keep track of it all is to set the alarm for 5:00 pm and he stops for wine and dinner then – no matter what.
He could use a little help. “Hey! Next time tell me a few months in advance and we’ll get in some W’fers. They would love that adventure. And I would love to boss them around.”
This is an OTG, west coast, liveaboard, somewhat common occurrence made special primarily because of the size of the boat. Throw in a ‘senior’ doing it all alone and way up some lost channel somewhere and you have the makings for a real adventure. But, but, but….he’ll share it with you. I am taking names for the year after next. If you are young, strong, willing to get wet and look good in wet t-shirts, you are eligible to apply. If cleaning ship bottoms is appealing to you, you are on the short-list. And, if you can cook and pour wine as well, you are in.