Hi Girls & Guys:
Spanish Wells is a fishing community and there is no port in the Bahama’s where I feel more at home! The people here bustle about in golf carts & cars in a surprisingly quick way always on the wrong side of the road. The houses, streets are very clean and neat! There is a tremendous amount of money here yet I have not seen a policeman. These fishermen go out for three to six weeks and bring back a stock of lobster worth a half a million dollars per trip! Every male on this island has fished or is fishing for a living! If they would let me I would move here in a heartbeat! This tiny island provides 75% of the lobster in the entire world. This is not the northern lobster (homarus americanus) but the southern one that eats algae not meat like the northern one! Quite a feat for such a tiny place! When I say tiny I mean tiny, you can walk the entire island in an hour or so! The work ethic here reminds me of my 40 years fishing but with a big difference these fishermen here have been building artificial reefs for many many years and now their fishery is recognized as self sustaining! Not like here in the States where all fishing rights are owned by large corporations! There only concern to sustainability is poachers coming into their waters and harvesting the lobster in the off season when the lobsters are breeding! To remedy the situation they build new reefs and move the old ones to a new spots during the breeding season! Each boat has built thousands of these lobster condominiums! By doing this they have boats constantly in the area which helps keep the poachers at bay! My friend and web developer found a civilian satellite company that may be able to provide security using satellite surveillance! These poachers come in the waters with 200 foot ships and launch small boats to do the poaching!
Owning a seventy eight year old boat that has plank & seam can present some interesting challenges! The biggest is of course keeping the water out with cotton & oakum! The ancient Egyptians used flat cotton placed in between the seam during construction. In later cultures they used oakum and later still they used cotton. When the Tern was built in 1938 they pounded twisted cotton in between the planks to make a water tight seam when the plank swelled. Of course over the years she has been re-caulked countless times! Last week I decided to haul her at R&B Boatyard in Spanish Wells in the Bahamas as she was leaking since I left the states. The bilge pump was going on 4 or 5 times a day, which can be quite disconcerting when you are sleeping. To have to depend on electrical components when in the salt water environment is not a good idea so even though I had the Tern out of the water a mere seven months ago I made the decision to haul her out and fix this pesky leak!
What a pleasant surprise I got when I arrived at R&B Boatyard, only a few weeks and they would fit me in! When I left the states I had brought 2 gallons of Kirby bottom paint and a couple of quarts of topside paint! I was amazed when we lifted her out there were no barnacles so launching her a Shaws Boatyard with the bottom paint wet worked to perfection! The yard is operated in the old school tradition on a first come first served. They have serviced the island for over a hundred years! Much the way F.L. Tripp did in my early years of restoration! One big difference is this is not a storage yard! They have both a railway and lift but no space to store a boat. When you are taken out on the lift or rail that is where you stay until the work is complete then you are launched. The rail can haul boats over 100 feet and the lift platform can lift ninety thousand pounds. They choose to haul me with the lift. The hauled another larger boat on the railway, in order to do this they have to close the road to vehicle traffic and remove a section of the road to haul the boat (see pics). This was the 3rd time for me on this lift platform and I want to tell you it is just the best way to haul a wood boat. All the time you were working on her you were standing on wood, not cement or dirt! In the morning you worked on one side in the shade after lunch the other in shade, all the time a nice cool sea breeze wafting over you! It was the most pleasant & beneficial haul-out the Tern has had! The yard foreman (Andre) is also the caulker! It took him only a few hours to caulk the Tern! At twenty dollars an hour well worth the price!
Hope you enjoy the pics as much as I enjoyed the lift?
Ciao! For now,