02 December 2012 | Herrington Harbour North
Ko Barrett: Fog lifting to Sun, mid-fifties
I had hoped to sail today. Weather is predicted to hit the low sixties and it is a beautiful day. But circumstances have conspired to deliver me a day with shaky confidence. I really need to pump out and I should fill my fuel tank before the winter, but these seemingly simple tasks just seem daunting today. The wind is blowing from the East and I don't feel steady enough to dock by myself, with no one to help throw a line or lend a hand. I've never been to the fuel dock at Herrington Harbour South and have only spoken on the VHF once during the entire time I've owned the boat. I don't want to try either. I am feeling alone in a boating world that is virtually defined by its sociability.
Instead, I empty the port side cockpit locker of most of its contents, leaving four PFDs, bringing three virtually new ones home for Winter, and finally free-cycling three that I know I will never use. I climb in there with the headlamp to see if I have any strainers or filters on the AC/Heating unit that needed maintenance. I follow each of the hoses, water intake and output, and can't see anything. I notice (again) the hand pumps for changing the oil and transmission fluids, reminding myself it is time to schedule that maintenance.
Knowing this would be the last day with water on the dock till Spring, I bring the hose into the cabin and clean the bilge - well, I spray the walls of the bilge to remove some crud and dilute the stagnant bilge water that has been sitting there all summer below pump out level. I clean out two water filters that I've never tended to before. I fish out the dead beetles that remain from my haul out, and the hair, and pump the bilge until I can't remove anymore water. There is still water in there. I'm wondering whether I should treat it with something to keep it from fouling or extract the remaining water some other way. I wonder if I have to worry about this water freezing.
Next I check the oil in the engine. It is down. Hmm, I wonder why this is? Suddenly I am feeling very out of my depth with all I have taken on. I know that these feelings are part of sailing too; this reliance on self when you don't know you can do it. I am sitting safely in the slip, not on an ocean passage, and yet, it is all part of the same whole. The adventure is in stretching, but it is not always easy.