Friday, September 6, 2013

Teak Week!

Last week, I looked at our local long range weather forecast. It showed a period of almost two weeks with less than 10% chance of rain. Now, having worked with mathematicians and statisticians over the years, I realize that it can be pouring down rain and still only be a 10% chance of rain. Regardless, for us, it represented an opportunity to address an important task that needed attention. So, we declared it...

Teak Week!

Utility containers.
They need to be prepared
before use by emptying
the original contents.
Out comes the sandpaper, Epiphanes, brush thinner, natural brushes, gelato containers, Wait, what? Yes, gelato containers. We discovered the gelato first and later discovered that these may be the perfect utility containers. Right size, clear, screw-on lids. Paint, varnish, screws, small parts, diesel - almost anything. So we started saving them. Soon (much too quickly), we had an embarrassing number of empty gelato containers stacked above our workbench. But, anyway, they are now a part of the teak varnishing process.

Just 6 or 7 more coats to go!
 Refinishing teak calls for a ridiculous number of coats of varnish to be applied. You can really only do one coat a day. And it really highlights just how big your boat is when you start to sand. It requires several hours bent over which is great for your back. When you put that varnish on it looks beautiful - but you already know that tomorrow you are going to go out and knock all that shine off so you can put more varnish on. Directions call for a minimum of 6 coats. Nine or ten is preferable. Yikes!

It just needs to be done. The sun tears it up. If you let it go too long you have to start from bare wood which just makes everything harder. And, we are starting to plan our next trip so it needs to be done before that happens. So, Teak Week it is. Labor of love.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Early one morning during our last trip, while we were riding at anchor, I was making the first morning coffee and my mind went off on this tangent. I make coffee every morning for Junie and me. It is a ritual that involves getting the coffee, the creamer, the sweetener, brewing the coffee, getting the appropriate mugs, getting out the daily medicines (which, fortunately for us, only involves OTC supplements of our choosing), pouring the coffee and starting the morning. It is the same on the boat as it is at home. It is a small thing but a constant. Something that keeps you from drifting away amid the chaos. It is an anchor.

'Anchor' can have many different definitions but that is one of my favorites. These little psychological anchors can come in many forms. It can be parking in the same parking spot at work everyday. It can be a park bench that eases your mind. A walk by the ocean. It may be some ritual like making the coffee.

There are also people in your life that are 'anchors'. They provide the strength and consistency to keep you in place when the currents threaten to sweep you away. Sometimes through their honesty, sometimes through thoughtfulness, sometimes both.

We just lost our neighbor, Jack, to a long battle with cancer. Jack has been there for us over the years - watching out for us, keeping track of us when we went off on our early ocean adventures, welcoming us home after misadventures. He wanted to know what we were doing. He was always willing to laugh at us but he was always the first to help. Jack was an anchor. For us and for a lot of people. We are going to miss him.

So, as I finished making the coffee that morning and came out of my deep philosophical trance, I made a note to myself to write this down. There is a lot more to 'anchors' than heavy metal things attached to chain. And anything that keeps you from drifting away is a good thing.

Maybe, at some point in the future, I will explore the alternate definition of 'anchor' - something that holds you back and keeps you from moving. I have to be more careful about those early morning tangents.