Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring

There are some people who sniff contemptuously and say that year round summer is all very well but they'd much rather live where there are seasons. These are of course the same people who end up groaning about all the snow and mud that precedes summer. They are welcome to it. I know spring has sprung because my skiff is back at my dock behind my house:Snowbirds like to use their boats during the winter because, poor things, they know no better but the waters are cold, 70 degrees or so (19C) and winter winds ruffle the waters all the time. Far better to haul your boat and devote your time to riding a motorcycle, boating is for the summer months.The hassle is getting the boat ready, and because I leave my 14 foot Dusky in the water all summer long I paint the bottom with anti fouling which requires sanding first, a foul job, and then painting which is almost as bad. Bottom paint is monstrous expensive as it contains copper but I got a couple of tins at sixty percent off this year. It was red which is a bit bright for my taste, but needs must and I slowly covered last year's black leftovers:Luckily I won't be seeing this view too much this summer except when I'm swimming and then I shall cheer myself up by remembering the deal I got on the red bottom paint...
The other rite of spring is changing all the little fiddly bits that make the engine go. I skipped the impeller this year but I may do that later. I did clean the starter which was giving me fits last fall, and I spent a happy hour trying to get the brushes back the way they came out without losing any springs or breaking any wire connections. Eventually it went together and so far the electric starter seems to be working...for now. Luckily my experience with boats is such that I like to go small and simple where possible and three years ago I bought a 25 horsepower Yamaha with a built in pull start so my back up is ready to use any time electrons let me down. And they will, believe me, around salt water electricity goes walkabout all the time. I put my tools away, cleaned up the clean up:And towed the trailer down to the community launch ramp at the end of the street. That's quite the round trip when I'm on my own. It's a bit like ferrying the wolf the lamb and the cabbage across the river. First I tow the boat to the ramp. I leave the car in the lot after the boat is the water. Then I drive the boat down the canal to my dock. I get my bicycle and ride back to the launch ramp. Then I secure the bike to the boat trailer and drive back to my house. Then I park the empty trailer:I give it a fresh water rinse, park it for the summer and rejoice in the knowledge that my boat should be ready to give me six months uninterrupted service:The only problem is that spring has sprung in Florida and that means honking winds are sweeping the islands, as they do until calm and thunderstorms come with the advent of summer. So I have yet to take the boat out into Newfound Harbor for my first swim of 2009. Call me fussy (and I'm sure the winter visitors would) but I hate swimming in rough water. It's not easy coping with Florida's seasons, but we struggle on.




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We were mad to risk it but we went out one windy afternoon and here's an update: the waters were warm and the waves smooth. Our first swim of 2009 was delightful. Not a snowflake in sight and still it was refreshing and invigorating.