"Well dear..." says Dave, sipping his morning coffee, "today looks like a perfect day"
"A perfect day..." queried I, "how's that?"
From where I sit, every day looks like a pretty perfect day, especially when the morning starts off with me holding a hot cup of espresso java (even minus the cream).
"Well, there's not too much wind at the moment".
"And doesn't look like rain..."
"And the water in the marina is pretty calm..."
"So, how do you feel about heading up the mast?"
"Gee, love that coffee... I thought we were going for a walk?" I asked, trying to change the subject.
And so, coffee drank and a good breakfast of scrambled eggs and Canadian Back Bacon later (after all, you have to have one last meal, just in case, right?), Dave begins what turned out to be a very long process of getting me all rigged up so I can go up the mast.
Out comes the dark green Boatswain's chair. First he hooked me up with two separate lines, double checking the clamps and knots,
"Just in case one of them let's go".
one of them lets go?" I repeated?
Dave dances around me for a while, mumbling and hemming and hawing, until all was perfectly to his satisfaction, and then he double checks them again.
Then he took out the tools. Yippe... He knows how much I love to play with tools.
A few moments later I was armed with a couple of screwdrivers,
"Just in case
you get up there and need to tighten something..."
He then tied them to each other, and to the chair, just in case
they were to fall out of the pocket, or out of my hands, and end up being gravity propelled, pointy end down, towards Dave's head? Seems like two of us could get very hurt doing this type of thing. Should this post come with a warning of "do not try this at home?"
In the other pocket went a few black tie wraps (black are best for UV protection) and pair of pliers/cutters.
"Oh, honey, go get my camera please... " and when he came back, I snapped a shot, and placed the strap over my shoulder.
All rigged up, and dripping sweat in the hazy morning sunshine, I smiled and waved to the passer-by's who smile back at me as they figure "better her than me". Dave heads aft and steps into the cockpit, starting the laborious task of winching me up, higher and higher, and I have to admit, I'm kind of pretty darn excited about being elevated to dizzying new heights. He has that effect on me...
He winches me up. One turn, grunt
, second turn, grunt
... Stop. Turn, turn, grunt
"What..." he peeks out from under the dodger...
"You forgot to kiss me good-luck...!"
I could just HEAR him sigh. But I did see him squint all lovingly like at me, glare of the morning sun in his eyes, and get back to the challenge of hoisting me higher and higher. Grunt
, winch, turn, stop.
Maybe I shouldn't have had those amazingly greasy gravy filled scruinchy cheese poutines back in Quebec City??
, lift, semi-turn, grunt
. Dave is starting to sweat. Maybe HE shouldn't have had that second helping of Donair's at Tony's Donair back in Halifax??
I crane my head backwards and my eyes scan the sky around me, wispy white clouds floating aimlessly by, and the very tall, silver mast looms overhead as a point of reference. It somehow looks like a never-eneding way and Up and Up I go, one winch turn at a time, totally enjoying the view.
Dave pokes his head out of the shaded cockpit, and yells,
"How YOU doing??"
"GOOD, keep going"...
Pretty Port Louis Marina. In St George's, Grenada.
Maybe it was the height that made me lose my mind and before I could think it through quite properly, I allowed myself to unclamp my knees from their tight hold of the mast, I let my arms let go of their hold and fall to the side, and then up in the air, and I let myself swing swing to and fro, gently and all that... squeeeal... you really couldn't wipe the grin off my face at this point in time.
"Woo-hoo !!" I yell,
"What... ?" Says Dave, "WHAT ?"
However, I had a job to do and focus I must. My first task was to reposition the radar reflector off the first set of spreaders, hook another tie-wrap on each end oh, and let's take some pictures. Perhaps I'll have a drink too, but damn, I forgot the water bottle on deck !
Break over, it was time to take me up higher, and so I yell at the Capt'N to keep going... what was he doing in the cockpit, having a break ??
Up we go, one winch turn at a time, up, up (grunt
) and up... we reached the second set of spreaders.
"Looks good, Capt'N..."
Should've brought the stainless cleaner and wire brush to scrape off some rust...
At the very top of the mast, the windex tried to point in the direction of the non-existant wind. All the wiring looked good. And the camera blinked red as the batteries ran out of power.
And so I sat, for a split second in time, just inches away from the top of the mast, changing the batteries. Smiling. Breathing in the zen of the moment and capturing that memory forever.
Batteries changed and rigging check complete, I signalled to Dave to bring me down. One bumpy inch at a time. Bump, bump, down, bump, down.
And so it was, as Dave had predicted, a fantastically great day, even though we never did go for that walk.