Monday, 11 May 2015

Boats and the sea, recently


After Onawind Blue's little solo adventure, off on the undertow and down the beach, I've slowly been scraping away at her paintwork. It's more than two years since she had any maintenance and her decks have bubbled and flaked. Structurally she's sound although she spent too long on a trailer supported by a pair of rollers, the pressure points have left cracks on her sole but the wood is unbroken.

It has been a long time since I went out on sea with my friend Macgiver the fisherman. But when I finally got down the harbour for a visit the news on everybody's lips was that the boat had sunk. Fortunately the boat was docked at the time, although it broke its mooring lines and went to the bottom. The refloating and repairs, especially to the engine, have been expensive. Macgiver wonders if he'll have the resources to get back on the water, especially as he's now run up on a tangle of red tape. Official engineers are demanding he complies with new regulations—or some such, quite frankly I haven't understood exactly what they're demanding but the upshot is that time is tramping on and Macgiver's not making any money, although he's chomping through savings.


But the sea is in a sad way. It shows in the industry. Nobody's catching much. Two other fishermen have retired after some 40 years at sea and that leaves just three boats in the port. This in a town that 100 years ago would launch 370 boats from the beach. Meanwhile supermarkets proliferate and their fish counters are groaning, daily. The labeling is unclear and although it's easy to spot farmed fish, (because they're all the same size and weight) the provenance of other species is less clear. Feeding myself on the fruits of the sea has never been thornier.

To another boat I returned a marker buoy, that had been washed up on the beach, and was rewarded with a few fish. The fishermen went home, the truck left for Tarragona with the catch. It was just passed noon.The harbour was lifeless. I scaled and cleaned my fish on the dock, throwing the guts into the water. No hungry small fry swam up to take them and no seagull swooped down to swipe them, the offal simply sank to the bottom.


On a brighter note, work on OB is coming along. Not at the pace I could wish exactly, taunted as I am by one perfect sailing day after another. Now, however, there is less to do than before as I've allowed myself a lowering of standards which means I don't have to strip the paint from all those difficult corners. Or indeed the outside of the hull as that will remain untouched this year. It's a facelift. Just the decks, the interior and the spars will get a clean up. I'll stick with a bright gunwale and masts for the moment as I still have a tin of varnish in the cupboard, but I can see this nod to my nautical vanity going overboard fairly soon. And that'll be a good thing.



2 comments:

Lorenzo B said...

Ben,
just got back from a sea deployment for work to the nice surprise of a new post on your blog.
It is always a pleasure to read you and get updated news from OB adventures.
Regards, keep well
Lorenzo

Ben said...

Thanks Lorenzo, good to hear from you..