A nice surprise.

This post is long, and if you prefer, the short version is that I was able to move from berth A43 to A17. Much closer to shore and calm water. And I close with a really nice video sent to me by one of Janet’s cousins.

A nice surprise.

Friday, at 10:15 AM, two marineros, ‘rang my doorbell.’ Marineros are the crew at the marinas that decide what berth you will go into, and then zoom around in their inflatable to help you as much as they can. And, about the doorbell, in a marina, Alegría is always in the berth with the bow towards the pier. The boat is a surprisingly good noise insulator and so the best way to ring my doorbell is to shake the anchor back and forth a little. And as I was saying, at 10:15 AM there was a loud rattle of my anchor.

They wanted me to move in much closer to shore. This is fantastic news. At least, I think so. Because, during the occasional winter storm, out at the end of the pier, for example in berth A81, it was frequently pretty bouncy. This worries me not because you have to be careful were to set your drink, but because it means the boats are bouncing against each other, and you better be careful that your mast does not line up with the mast of the boat on either side of you, or they will hit.

I have asked many times since I’ve got back to the boat if I could move closer to shore since I will be here all winter and living aboard. But, almost every time I was told that no, all of those berths are already reserved for other people. With so many people leaving the marina in the spring, that were not coming back, I had hoped that there would be some better berths that were up for grabs. But I was told that there were not.

But, fortunately, after a few weeks, they discovered that A43 was available and I was able to move in there. And yesterday they moved me into A17.

That’s clearly the wrong choice of words. They did not move me. They said that Alegría could move into A17. That is fantastic news, but it would’ve been even more fantastic if I’d gotten it a week earlier before I just spent many hours getting permanently attached to A43 for the winter.

But that’s okay. I was not about to say no. But I explained that I could not move right away. It would take me about an hour to get ready.

So, I added a single long rope that is looped through an appropriate mooring ring on the pier. That keeps me in position, but allows me to stand on the boat and release one end of the long rope, and then pull it out of the ring. That way I don’t leave anything behind and I don’t have to get on an off the boat. Otherwise it can get kind of exciting, because you untie the line and the boat starts to leave immediately, with you standing on the pier. I don’t recommend that. Especially when you’re by yourself. And I removed the four lines that were attached to the shore with chains so that rubbing on the concrete will not cut the rope.

I also had to go diving again and remove the wrapping from the propeller shaft, and uncover the pipes that encourage water to flow through the Cutlass bearing, and go back and disconnect the extra stern line that I had attached a few days before.

I then had to clear some things out of the cockpit. I am collecting things for the boat jumble, or charity sale, garage sale, yard sale, whatever you want to call it. During the winter they do this on Sundays, to raise money, to pay the veterinarian, for the treatment of animals that wander into the marina and need help. And, of course I had to disconnect my water hose and my electric cable.

This all took about 45 minutes, and just as I finished, the marineros went by, and I told them that I was ready when they were. No rush. Just let me know when you can come.

Unfortunately a large Australian catamaran and a fairly large monohull were literally right in the entrance to the marina, and that’s where they were going. I had already started the engine, to be sure that there would not be some hiccup there, so I just sat in the cockpit, or walked around on the cabin top, where I could keep an eye on what they were up to.

They took care of the monohull first, and then helped the the Australian catamaran to come down our fairway. Obviously a catamaran needs a much wider berth than a monohull of the same length. They were taken in to a spot closer to shore on my pier. However, when she was actually in the area available, they realize that it was pretty tight on both sides. Not tight in the sense of difficult to maneuver, but tight in the sense that you needed some KY jelly to get her in there. So she came back out.

As I watched the situation unfold I realized that if I were not in my berth, that she would probably fit where I was, because there was room for two more monohull’s alongside me, and if I were gone, it would be quite a nice space. I tried to holler this to the marineros, but they did not hear me over their outboard. Also I was not eager to jump out into the fairway with the catamaran and the inflatable out there too. Alegría is not very maneuverable at slow speeds. There was a significant wind blowing and I would be crosswise to it. I have not been going anywhere at all on Alegría for almost 4 years except for the single trip to Kaş.

Janet has done 99.9% of the driving since 1981. And all of the driving when we have been docking or in a tight spot, because I was running around being portable muscle while making sure that fenders and lines were where they should be. And also, I stand up at the tip of the bow, and look both ways as we come in or out of fairways, or, in any tight area. It is stressful enough when we are the only thing in motion, and we really would prefer not to meet someone coming in or out while we are in tight waters.

Another danger that I will never forget, is that we were going down a tight fairway in Monterey California. We were going as slowly as we could because there was another boat ahead of us, that was also going to the guest dock. We wanted to be sure to allow them to get tied up before we got into the same area where they were at the guest dock. Anyway, the boat ahead of us had obviously just run aground. It looked unlikely that he was any bigger and deeper than we were, and so we were just digesting the information that, it doesn’t look like we want to keep going down this long narrow fairway and also run aground.

While we were focusing far too much attention on his problem, a big powerboat right beside us turned on his engines, with them in gear, in forward. This made a very large current running across the fairway, directly on the side of our boat and smashed into the boats downstream. The opposite side of the fairway. It pinned is there and we could not get off. It was quite a strong current, since the powerboat was not very far away. Just across the fairway.

We were pretty much totally screwed, but after a while, the man came out on deck and I was able to ask him to take his engines out of gear, long enough for us to get away.

He did, and we did. Fortunately our damage was relatively minor, but that is sort of like saying that, ‘This shopping cart was blowing through the parking lot of the grocery store and rammed into the side of your new car and only scratch the crap out of it a little bit. The door still opened and you can still drive it.’ We were not happy.

Very fortunately we had only actually hit one of the boats. The boat that we had hit was a fishing boat, not of fancy yacht. He had the name on the stern of the boat in plastic letters like you would buy at the hardware store, that nail on. One of them was cracked, and I assume that was because we had hit it. We put a note explaining what it happened, emphasizing who had caused the problem. His neighbor across the fairway. We included five bucks which I’m sure would cover several letters, and put put it in an envelope and put it in his wheelhouse.

So that’s why I stand at the bow and watch vigilantly when they are two of us on board.

But, back to the catamaran, they ended up out in the vicinity of A90, and the marineros came back to help me. One got aboard and the other took the inflatable over to near where we were going. Keeping an eye on the situation in case I needed a tugboat.

As I’ve backed out of the slip, my bow was being blown off the wrong direction. Alegría was trying to go away from the destination rather than toward it. I hoped that I could back along the fairway until I was passed the correct spot and then put it in forward and turn into the berth. But, with all that wind pushing on the bow, I just could not control the boat, even though I got what I thought was an appropriate amount of speed in reverse. So, as is often the case when I’m in a tight place I had to do a ‘back and fill’ sort of turn.

In boating, they often teach you how to do a three point turn, where you back and fill three times in a narrow space, in order to be going the other direction. Well, the fairway is narrow enough, and there was enough wind blowing, and Alegría has a long keel, for and aft, and I’m out of practice, which all combined to require about a 10 point turn. It was probably not that many, but it certainly was more than three.

However, in my opinion, the only important thing, was that I did it without hitting anything. I got Alegría going towards the destination and I think did quite a good job of turning her into the berth. There were boats on both sides, and so, as it happened, in this case, I was able to run up and grab the side of the boat next to me and told on while they got the the temporary, long bow line attached. The wind was blowing us out of the berth, so for the next few hours, that would be all we would need to be safe.

The marineros were trying to help me get more lines ashore, and I did do one, but then said I could take care of the rest. Thank you very, very much, especially for finding out place in closer to shore. It was really wonderful news.

I then reversed the above-mentioned process of attaching relatively permanent and chafe resistant lines to shore, wrapping up the propeller shaft and closing the water inlets and attaching the hose through which I apply citric acid and putting on a second stern line.

In swimming down the existing stern line, I had what I consider to be irrefutable proof, that this is an excellent thing to do. Even though it certainly is a bother. Because, underwater, at just the place you would expect it to be, the rope had obviously been cut and retied. I am a certain as I can be that the poor fool in this berth, at some time in the past, several years ago by the look of all of the growth it, had had his stern line cut.

My present solution to this, is to use about 12 feet of chain of chain, that is actually shackled to the permanent chain and has a nice thimble where the rope attaches to my chain. The standard in most marinas is to just tie the rope to the chain. This is strong, but not nearly as strong as an eye splice with the thimble and then shackling that to the chain. Also, when the rope had been cut and they retied it, they used a particular not that I believe to be better than most, but not the best one for the purpose. It is however, much better than most, and because it is simple, it is widely used. The practice of just tying the rope to the end of the chain, is probably the weakest part of the system anyway.

And all of that took about 4 1/2 hours. That is me working steadily at things that needed doing. And then after I thought I was all done and had taken a shower, I realized that the way I had shackled my chain to their chain, was not the best way to do it. So, shortly after finishing this epic tome, I will go change it over to a better, simpler way to do the job. That way there will be fewer components in the bay, trying to rust away.


And on a very happy note, this morning I turned on the computer to find a nice email from Janet’s cousin, Llyn and her husband Chris in Oregon. http://www.thesharinggardens.blogspot.com/

She recommended the following excellent video, and I recommend it strongly for your viewing pleasure.

It may help to know that 792,000.00 THB (Thai Baht) = US$25,515.46, which may not sound so bad, but keep in mind that the per capita income in Thailand for 2012 is listed as US$5,400.00. I have not had a chance to look at any of the other videos on that website, but I bet there are some good ones. And please have a look at the Sharing Gardens website. I have not yet looked at the most recent additions there either, but they are two wonderful people doing many wonderful things for their community. They teach not only gardening, but excellent lessons about life. At least in my humble opinion.

And I will close with a photograph that a friend sent me. I think it is an important lesson about life also. But, I do NOT mean to imply that one should be alone.

As a recent inductee to being ‘suddenly single’ I believe that you SHOULD be someone that makes you happy, AND surround yourself with dear friends that also make you very happy.

be someone 2And, if any of your friends, need supplemental training in how to be happy and how to make others happy, be sure to help them out. That way, they can help YOU out too.



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