Like Cath said last week, the gang is all here, except for her of course, and hard at work. The engine had been looked over and a new cutlass bearing put in. It took the whole gang, a two inch solid stainless shaft and all our force behind it to shove it in. But, we were triumphant. The sails and rigging look good and we changed out a thru hull that looked suspect. We felt ready, but we still needed to make it the hundred yards to the water.
So, the company Irving had been in town trying to put some wind turbines up just down the road. These turbines were being delivered onto the pier and off-loaded with a nice big crane, just the right size to lift Joana. I sent dad in to investigate. He got the scoop. It would take two lifts for her (basically they wanted to lift us, set us down, then pick us back up again and then into the water). They would have to split it between jobs of unloading the turbines. And it would cost a few thousand each lift. Hmmmm. What to do, what to do. Understandably, we weren’t ready to say OK just yet.
There had been an older fisherman stoping by quite often to watch the Joana show and to chit chat. We would pass traditional marlin spike seamanship tips back and forth. That particular day I happened to be wire splicing. While he was giving me some insight on other quick ways of doing the splices, I explained our circumstances with the crane.
Now, you must understand that on the east coast of Canada, not alot of the locals are fans of the Irving company. I noticed that each time I would mention who would be doing the possible lifting, the person I was talking to would have a small, not so nice comment.
I also mentioned to the fisherman that the travel lift didn’t want to try and take us again due to her weight issues and that she almost broke the lift. I also said the co-op who owns the lift said it was a no-go as well. So I told him my only option right now is the big bad wolf.
He gave me a smirk and said he would catch up with me tomorrow.
The very next morning Michael, the lift driver, walks up to me. He told me his father called him last night and that we needed to talk about getting you in the water.
“Well, that’s great” I replied, “but who is your father?”
“He’s the old fisherman who loves to talk your ear off around the docks.”
“Oh. Well, what about the co-op who owns the lift?”
“Just so happens that he is the president of the co-op and says what the rest don’t know won’t hurt them for a day.”
I wasn’t about to argue so I asked “Well then, what do we need to do to make this happen.”
The short answer was to make the boat as light as we could. So, the whole day we pulled off anything that wasn’t bolted or welded to the ship and emptied the water tank.
|Joana in the lift and Irving’s crane in the background|
Early the next morning we were hanging in the slings, barely. He lifted us only far enough to clear the stones in the gravel. We were pushing our luck, for sure. I had a gut wrenching feeling watching my boat hang freely like a small kid on a swing. Time seemed to crawl by as Joana was making her way closer to her natural home.
She truly scraped her way over the top of the final cement to be placed ever so lightly into the water. Joana was back home where she belonged. We quickly did a run though and had no signs of water.
We had to maneuver her from the lift area to the Fisherman’s warf. I was so happy to feel Joana for the first time in the water. She was solid and confident in her motions and felt like everything we had hoped for. Once her belly hit the water, it was as if she spoke to me and said lets get moving! I knew I needed to boogie as it was already October. Winter was coming and the North Atlantic takes no prisoners when it comes to that season of sailing. The breath taking winds were already blowing. But, as any salty sailor would do, we pushed aside the urge to leave for a night to have a splashing party. The grog was poured and the stories were told with new friends and old.
Thanks for these…
Love the fotos and the Utila dockside chats memories…
Fondly, Siempre, Mich.