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"Earth's crammed with heaven." -- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
|157--California: Two Blondes Who Aren't Dinghy|
Oct 21 2003 - 05:47 PST
cherie writes: Two Blondes Who Aren’t Dinghy
Anne scrapes a congealed mass of muscles off her dinghy in preparation for the 2003 Baja Ha Ha.
Did someone just blow their nose on the bottom of the skiff?
One scrape down the middle, now we have only 4,000 more muscles to evict.
Look at that cute little yellow scraper I'm holding.
Cherie trying to get the last few stubborn ones off.
Anne and Cherie pose by their gleaming accomplishment.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be on waterfront property surrounded by muscles. But in my fantasy, the muscles were attached to strong men—not to the bottom of a dinghy.
I lived on yacht for 18 months so I know a boat is a great place to live. Unfortunately, there are 213 species of gooey sea-critters that agree with me.
When you live on a sailboat, “cleaning” takes on a whole new meaning. You aren’t just dealing with freckle sized ants and dime sized spiders, like when you are dusting your home. The riffraff that grows on boats takes over in a way that only slimy-marine life can.
When I saw the dinghy that Anne and I had agreed to scour I had two questions: “What is growing on the bottom of that dinghy? And, why did it just spit on me?” The skiff looked like a perfectly normal rubber dinghy…just horribly infected with a case of slobbery muscles.
Anne and I were preparing her 65 Swan Cassiopeia for the Baja Ha Ha Race which starts in San Diego and ends in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. One-hundred-thirty-eight yachts are scheduled for the rally in which hundreds of California sailors kick off the sailing season with a change in their latitude.
After living on a boat full-time, I’ve learned that sailing isn’t just one magical moment after the next. There are some cruddy moments that truly test your dedication to the sport. One such moment was when Anne and I took the day to prepare her dinghy for the long journey to Mexico.
The marine life attached to the dinghy didn’t have spines, but those suckers sure had a lot of backbone. Sadly, they had violated the agreement I have with sea animals that look like snot: I don’t live in their shells; they don’t live on my boat. But the critters glued on to the bottom of the skiff were in no mood for an eviction notice. It took a lot of muscle to get rid of those muscles.
Anne and I started out with little matching plastic yellow scrapers. The cute scrapers removed the sea-crud at the rate of about one barnacle per hour. Then we opted for the industrial-strength giant metal scraper the hacked off the skuzzy slop as if we were professionals.
Anne and I declared war on the sticky sludge. An hour later, it was over. The problem was that once the nasty gunk was off the dinghy, it was a pile of disgusting slop on the dock and we were standing in it. Moving oozy-things between your toes can make you really wish you had paid someone else to do that particular job.
After we finished, Anne and I gleamed like the proud black-belly of the freshly cleaned skiff. We wiped the sweat from our brow, hosed the muck off the dock, and hoisted the radiant dinghy aboard Cassiopeia. That night, Anne and I celebrated our accomplishment with a fine meal. But, we decided to skip the “green-lipped muscles” as a starter. We’re saving our appetite for the lobster at beach party in Mexico.
Click on each picture to see it full size.
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