Boat Maintenance Ocean Falls Ramblings From the Dockside Monday, August 15, 2016S.V. CAMBRIA
That’s it. It’s over. In the blink of an eye, our month at the dock in Ocean Falls has officially ended. Later this morning, we’ll untie our lines and quietly make our way down Cousins Inlet to Shearwater. Did we accomplish everything we’d hoped to over the last 30 days? Yes . . . and no. We finished the jobs we had on our list but there’s so much more we want (and need) to do before we officially put Cambria on the market. Here’s some of what we got done:
It’s an ugly job but somebody’s got to do and around here we share the load. Cambria has teak decks and when we bought her, the Sikaflex (the black caulking between the teak boards) was deteriorating. Some of it would break down to a powder, some of it would turn to a tar-like substance, and the rest of it was fine. My job was to remove it all but, because of the dodger and bimini, the Sika in the cockpit was like new so we left it alone until this year when it started to break down on the port side. I spent a couple of days taking it out, prepping it, and taping it up and David put it all back together again. Now, our cockpit looks better than ever!
We like to protect our teak with a good hardwood oil. Our product of choice in New Zealand was Deks Olje but they changed the formula so we made the switch to something called Daly’s Ship ‘N Shore. David pulled out the grates in the cockpit, sanded them down and applied a couple of coats bringing them back to new. Tired of trying to keep varnish on our lashing boards, he tacked them as well and sealed them off with oil instead, protecting them from the sun and rain.
I wet-sanded and painted our 14 year-old dinghy to help seal and protect the pontoons. David joined in the fun himself and painted the hull making Lance (our dink) look almost as good as new! The fun didn’t stop there though; the underside of the lazarette lid in the cockpit had been damaged by fumes of one kind or another (it’s been so long, I can’t remember). So, David removed it and I sanded it down and gave it a couple of coats of paint. On days when it was too wet to work outside, the engine got some attention with a touch up here and there. And we tried a new paint on our cabinet latches. We have the push button type throughout the boat and the coloring comes off with wear. At a replacement price of US$24 a piece, David painted one so we can see how it holds up over the rest of the season.
One of the many jobs we didn’t have time to finish before we left Kingston in May was polishing the cabin top. That’s David’s domain, so he got to work there while I hit the stainless steel. Unfortunately, I didn’t order any AutoSol (our polish of choice) before we left and ran out before the job was done.
If you own a boat, then you already know there’s always something that needs to be fixed. Fortunately, our list of jobs is short. Our inflatable kayaks were leaking and needed a new patch or two, something that’s much easier to do on a dock. The box for our trash bin needed to be re-glued and screwed, so David did that one rainy afternoon and then he sanded it down an re-varnished it. But the biggest job surfaced the day before we intended to leave – a leaky raw water pump. Fortunately, we carry a spare but he needed to change out a bad bearing. He pressed it out himself by heating the pump and made a new gasket out of linen paper soaked in oil, just the trick to get us back in business.
When we first signed up for a month’s stay, we were determined to break up the work with a little fun by taking short trips. Did we do it? No. Of course not. But David did make a run to Bella Bella with some of the guys from town . . . to the hospital. He’d been struggling with earaches for several days and couldn’t hear, so he took the opportunity to visit the doctor and has been feeling much better ever since.
We’re not overly social people. In fact, we prefer secluded anchorages and could go months without seeing or talking to another person. But one of the reasons we like to come back to Ocean Falls year after year is that we made friends with the couple who own the lodge in town. Most days you could find one or both of us up at the lodge chatting with Rob, Corrina and local residents from Martin Valley that stopped by to do the same.
Summer finally arrived and we’ve had some hot days on the dock. Fortunately, there’s a lake less than a mile away and I snuck off a time or two for a refreshing dip, taking my buddy, Jax (Rob and Corrina’s beautiful Labrador), along with me.
Brightwork. It’s a never-ending chore on a boat, at least it is for us. And because of a very wet winter season and the fact that we didn’t get back to the boat until April, we were behind in the process. Tying up to the dock in Ocean Falls gave us the time to build up the coats, sand them down, and start all over again. Now we have a good base to work from and hope to keep it that way over the coming winter months (something that’s easier said than done up here).
I’m sure there are dozens of other jobs we completed that I’ve forgotten to list but the point is we weren’t in a rush to get things done. Whenever we were tired of doing something, rather than pushing through and risking making a mistake, we called it a day and did something for ourselves – drawing, playing the guitar, writing or reading. All in all, we enjoyed our time here. We worked hard but in reasonable spurts. We babied sore muscles, earned some new calluses, and went to bed tired every night getting us one step closer to our next adventure.