Sunday, November 29, 2020

LIFE ABOARD GRENDEL – FARJARDO, PUERTO RICO

Herman relaxing on Grendel “on the hard.”

Herman relaxing on Grendel “on the hard.”

Frances Diebler

We arrived at last. No more movement up and down or side to side. We were securely tied up at a dock in order to prepare the boat for when we go back to the states for a visit with our family for a few months. We had to prepare Grendel so she could be hauled out and put “on the hard,” as it is called, while we are away. That means out of the water and onto the land. We removed the Genoa sail, staysail, and all other venerable equipment which was on deck and stored it safely below. We disassembled all electronics and made other preparations.

We loaded all the bagged sails and assorted equipment safely below while we would be away. This is not necessarily an easy task. We had to sort all of our clothes and decide what stays and what needs to come back temporarily such as jackets, toiletries etc. This is one reason that we buy so much so that there are supplies we can leave aboard if we go anywhere. Redundancies are what it is called and for each person, the list will be different, but necessary. Preparing for a trip back home for a visit is just as important as the fly back to the boat when you return.

We returned to Farjardo Oct. 26 just as the weather back home was getting cold. Our first week back aboard GRENDEL was one of work, sweat, and inconveniences. Prior to our trip back home, we had GRENDEL hauled and placed in the secure storage area. Now that we were back and the boat is our “home away from home,” we were looking forward to going aboard. We arrived at Puerto delRey Marina about 5:00PM during a typical rain storm. The gates were locked and worse, GRENDEL was nowhere in sight. We finally found a guard and through “Spanglish” (English and Spanish), we were able to tell him about our predicament.

What an unexpected predicament! Here we were in the rain with no boat, therefore no home, no car and nine pieces of baggage which held boat parts, supplies and some specialty foods. The guard was on the phone trying to help us figure out just where our boat was and what we could do. Finally the boat yard manager came and explained that GRENDEL was still in the secure storage area and it would be there until tomorrow because the Brownell hauling truck broke down and they could not move the boat out to put it in the yard.

Therefore, they would put us up as their guests in one of their luxury condos on the premises. Yea! For at least tonight, we’d have flush toilets, cable TV, air-conditioning and other creature comforts not on our boat. Frankly, I didn’t care when the Brownell truck would be fixed, because for a little while, I could have creature comforts which I would lose as soon as the boat was brought out of storage into the boat yard. The boatyard is where the boat

Walkway and facilities at Puerto del Rey.

Walkway and facilities at Puerto del Rey.

is prepared to be launched.

For those of you who might not be familiar with living on a boat much less one that is out of the water, all I can think of is life high and dry akin to “THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.” Access to our boat home was by climbing a 12 ft. ladder. More important, water usage is different. We could shower or wash dishes as this grey water flows through the drains onto the dirt below and is acceptable. However, we did not have toilet facilities. Not only did we have to climb down the ladder, when we got to ground level, we would have to walk through the boat yard, out the gate, up a hill to the very clean and maintained restrooms.

During the day, we could hail the dock boy who would come to pick us up in a golf cart. He would then drive us down the long cement dock to the showers and restrooms. Better not forget the restroom key or else it was back to the boat in a hurry. This was the daytime procedure.

Night was different as the gates are locked at 8:00PM and to get out you would have to call security who would radio a guard who would drive over in a golf cart, open the gate, let us out and be on his way. But I have to get back inside! No need to explain. The drill starts all over again but in reverse.

Frankly, this was rather easy compared with what was to come. Yes, we did have a toilet with a holding tank, but it does not work when you are hauled out of the water! We expected to be “on the hard” for at least three to four more days. I was kept busy.

When we left GRENDEL to fly home, we left all of our clothing, canned and boxed foods, toiletries and the like, that would not spoil. I felt relieved when we first stepped aboard Grendel after a few months stay “on the hard.” I began to inspect my cabinets and cupboards. I looked in my dry locker and somehow things just did not look right.

As I removed box after box of rice and pasta I saw tiny holes in the wrappings and powdery white substance coming out of the holes. Yikes! What I discovered were tiny bugs that were living in and eating away at my starchy food packages. There were holes in the cellophane and white powder falling out of the holes. These tiny pests had eaten away at my stored rations of starchy foods. I had to get big green garbage bags and throw everything out. I do not know where they came from, but I surely knew where they were going, pronto! We filled several large green garbage bags and promptly discarded all of these supplies in the local dumpsters!

Who ever said,” Sailors Have More Fun?”

Frances is a Commodore of the Seven Seas Cruising Association and a member of Sailing Association of Marco Island and AP United States Power Squadron.

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