Today was, well, today was the day I knew would come. We’re in the middle of the project, when everything seems to take longer than we’d like and anything that’s going to go wrong will. Plus Meira and I are still fighting a cold. But it helps to have anticipated the slump. Maybe by tomorrow, we’ll get a second wind to carry us through.
First thing this morning, Bryan needed to cut the panels for the seats and interior compartments. He didn’t really need our help, so he left the girls and me in bed for a few more minutes of sleep. After we got going, we headed up to join him. He was just finishing up the last of the shaping and was ready for a break. We need plastic drink bottles for the internal floatation (they’re cheap, accessible, and waterproof) so he walked to the market for drinks all around. The girls and I stayed behind and coated the interior surfaces with a waterproofing layer of epoxy. It’s fun to work with them! Yesterday, we sang Christmas carols in 2 and 3 part harmony while leaning over the hull. And today, I enjoyed watching the reactions of passersby to the view of 3 female boatbuilders working away. The information booth attendant summed up their reactions well as he mimed an explosion out his ears and exclaimed, “A lady—building a boat? Whew!”
When he got back with the drinks, I headed off to the hardware store up the street for more brushes and gloves. They weren’t open on Sunday, so I came back, gathering “floatation devices” from the litter on the way. Our friend from La Paz with the oars was meeting us (sometime after 1-ish, somewhere in the area) so we sent the girls over to our dock to see if they could spot him.
Then Bryan needed to run to the boat for more tools (the parking lot is patrolled, but not locked, so we carry all our equipment to and from the site every day. Something’s always getting forgotten!) and when he got back, I made another trip to the boat for more garbage bags. I’m glad I did, though; our friend had arrived and was looking for us. We showed off the boat a bit and then walked up to lunch at Pollo de Oro again. On our way back, we dropped our friend off at his car and picked up the oars he’d brought for us. He even had oarlocks and all the installation hardware! That saves us more time and money (Thanks, Cam!)
It was hilarious to watch the reactions as the girls each carried an 8-foot oar down the wharf to the docks. Sorry I don't have pictures! Use your imagination.
Just as we got to our boat, some friends from another boat pulled up in their dinghy to chat. Bryan headed back to do a the one-man job of glassing the panels into the interior (all the one-man work may explain today’s small number of pictures. Also, our camera battery was dead half the day.) and the girls and I took a few minutes to look for souvenirs. They had been eyeing some of the shops as we rushed by and wanted a closer look at the jewelry. On our way out, we ran into another boat friend (it sounds like we have a lot, but there are just 2 other boats we know in the marina now. It’s easy to spot us, though; we do stand out in the crowd a bit) and followed them back to their boat to borrow an assortment of clamps before doing a little shopping.
It turned out our timing was perfect. All the vendors were heading home for the night and they were willing to make a couple of really good deals to make one more sale for the day. The girls each found a ring they liked and Hannah got some earrings to match. Meira didn’t have quite enough to cover hers, but offered to work it off around the boat. I let her know she was already earning her way on the dinghy build. It was lovely to be able to help them choose something to remember this place (something more than the new dinghy, that is) and to see them bubbling a bit with some Christmas-y spirit, with the joy of receiving a gift.
We showed up at the build site ready to work. But Bryan wasn’t quite ready for us. A board had broken while he was installing it, and it sat on the workbench, fiberglass tape band-aided across the break. Spare wood, so plentiful in our garage at home, means a few hours out of our day. W'e’ll manage with what we’ve got, we hope. Our plan for the evening shift had been to install the gunwales, (the long strips down the upper edges of the boat which add strength and stability to the craft) but when Bryan pulled out the wood we’d bought, it wasn’t flexible enough to bend into the required shape. We sat and thought for a few minutes. I suggested a few, ill-informed bad ideas. I’ve learned that even a bad idea can be helpful. While Bryan is explaining to me why it won’t work, he often comes up with a suggestion that might. Eventually, we came up with a new plan and in a few more minutes, I’ll leave the girls with a movie on the laptop and head back to help implement it. We’re going to install internal gunwales which, along with the internal frames, will offer the needed stability and…you know what? I’ll post a picture tomorrow, OK? It may be a late night!