Settling in at Bayland Marina
11 May 2013 | Bayland Marina, Baytown, TX
Bud and I had originally thought we wouldn’t be able to get back down to Baytown until sometime in the middle of June. However, we didn’t feel comfortable leaving the boat so long after just tying her in her slip and having to quickly take off to get back to Texarkana. Gary asked us when we wanted our two boxes shipped from St. Augustine, one of which had the dehumidifier in it that we used during Earendil’s storage there. We asked Gary to ship that box right away, and decided to come back down this weekend. This probably will be our last chance for over a month, but we wanted to make sure the dock lines were right, the fenders placed properly and take the opportunity to get the dehumidifier working here.
We again left Texarkana at about 6 PM, after Jamie got out of work. She has off this weekend, so we could come. Three things made this trip easier. First, we decided to have some work done on the faithful land barge. It’s a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria, and though old has only 106,000 miles on it. It uses oil, but no more now than it did 25,000 miles ago when we bought it. So we decided to get the brakes and suspension fixed, and keep on driving it. Now it drives like a big old American car, not the most responsive ride, but you don’t feel like you’re taking your life in your hands when you hit the open road. The next thing that improved the trip is that is didn’t rain, and finally, both of us were along and Bud drove. So it was an especially relaxed trip for me.
This time we managed to get almost into the boat with all our gear and Fuzzy before it rained. We were actually happy it rained because we wanted to see where the leaks were. It rained hard for a couple of hours and some nasty thunderstorms passed just north of us. But we were snug and dry and there were no leaks. The work we did last time must have been successful. The dock lines seemed fine and in general Earendil was just as we left her.
This morning we tackled a couple of small jobs. I reported that during the gulf crossing the jib furling line had started to fray and Bud had cut one of the dinghy davit lines off the block and tackle to replace it. Now he wanted that gear removed from the arch. No problem, except that it hangs from the very top rear of the arms, about 6 feet behind the deck and about 12 feet above the water. You can see the little holes where the shackles were attached in the picture I took and put in the gallery. I tried climbing over the stern rail and out on the arch and decided that wouldn’t work. I got our old jib sheet, about fifty feet of 5/8” thick line. I thought if we ran it back and forth across the frame of the davit arms it would give me something to hang onto as I leaned out. Bud helped me run the line, when we were done we had 6 lines going across from one side of the davit arms to the other. Then Bud suggested we lay one of the cockpit cushions out across those. He held the cushion while I climbed and slid until I was lying along it and could easily reach the shackle. We moved the cushion to the other side and repeated the process and in no time, without me getting wet or dropping anything in the water, we had the block and tackle off both sides.
Next we needed to take the paddle off the wind vane steering gear. To do that you need to pull a pin that’s about 18 inches above the water at the back of the wind vane frame. I could try to crawl down the frame, but then I’d have to wedge myself in while I used two hands to work at my feet. Bud suggested we use the boatswain’s chair. We used that same old jib sheet, this time over the top of the center of the arch. One end was tied to the boatswain’s chair and the other end was wrapped around our jib winch. I got in the chair, climbed over the stern rail and Bud lowered me down until I could reach the pin. Again we quickly had the job done with no problems and nothing lost.
I went into a lot of detail about those tasks because it was so rewarding to have figured out how to get them done, and then successfully do them. Bud and I make a great team when we tackle problems on the boat, and that teamwork is one of the reasons we love doing this.
Anyway, to celebrate that success Bud decided to take a nap. I wanted to bike, but the one folding bike we brought down, with a new front tire, was now completely flat. So I took a walk and explored the immediate surroundings. The picture above typifies this place. I was standing in a nice pavilion in a little waterfront park looking out on Tabbs Bay - at an oil well in the shallows and a ship coming up the Houston Ship Channel. A little nature, a lot of industry, but it’s home for Earendil and as often as we can make it, for us.