Cleaning the Bottom

My clock says 5:36am and a book just fell on my head.

I am groggy since we moved the boat out to the sandbar at high tide last night and dropped anchor a little after 2am. I can hear Geoff on deck. Can’t I just sleep a little longer? The boat lists sharply to the side and I know I can’t. The books come down from the shelf into the bed and I walk down the middle of the boat, now at about 20-degrees, making sure everything else on the high side is secure. I grab breakfast and climb on deck.

Geoff is now below making sure everything in our cockpit lockers is secure. I hand him a granola bar and we settle in to wait.

5:50am, the port side of the boat settles onto the sand bar and the waves are no longer lifting it. We’re at a 40-degree angle and Elli, the dog, is perturbed by the whole arrangement.

6:10am, the water is low enough for me to slide off the port side into just-above-the-knees water. It is surprisingly warm, even though the day has barely began. I grab the painters tape and wade around the boat to start marking off where we’re going to be painting. The water goes down several inches while I work my way down the boat and the fiddler crabs crawl out of our thru hulls in droves. They seem to have no fear of me.

Once the boat is taped, we grab scrubbers and cleaner and begin to work. Two and a half hours later, our bottom is clean of growth (we’d had a diver pre-scrub it before we headed out, but we still had to get the rest of it off). We finished washing and acetone-prepping just as the water turned and started to flow back in.

Starting at the keel, we painted our way up. By the time we finished the keel and were on the hull, the water was back around my ankles. It took both of us to finish painting the hull, pull the painters tape, and put on the new blue stripe (which I didn’t do a great job of since the boat was about to re-float and I’ll have to fix).

By 10:30am, we were out of the water and waiting for the boat to level. I was down below on my computer, already working for the day. High tide came and we were able to motor back to the marina with half a painted boat.

Other half to be painted at the next dawn tide…