Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Breaking the Silence

It's been a while, so some explanation is in order. Sweet Pea and I are no longer an item. I'll probably never love a boat like I love the peapod, or have as much wonderment lobstering as I have poking cove to cove and rock to rock, up close, quiet, one with the seals and birds and porpoises.

I came to the wrenching decision to make a change earlier this summer. I believe passionately in what I did. I wanted to prove that traditional boats, solar power and hard work can create a small scale, super sustainable commercial fishing business. Solar power works! Don't believe the negative hype.

I also proved that it would be a great seasonable job for someone with no children who also has other seasonal work, or a college student. It did not produce the revenue our family needs. There were about 2 really good months both seasons. Not enough season or money.

After reaching that decision, the next question was- what am I going to do? Poor economy. Gappy resume. Eccentric credentials. I did a lot of networking and outreach that went absolutely nowhere.

Then my mind took a big leap in what seemed like the whole wrong direction. Maybe I should just go with what I know. Maybe a proper lobster boat. Instead of getting a haircut, straightening up and flying right, pleasing the people my people have to defend me to, I'll just dig myself in deeper, dangerouser, and precariouser financially. Great idea!

I may get back to the peapod some day. I may try and electrify a small, but bigger boat. Right now, I have a very deep hole to dig out of and an extreme accumulation of stress that goes with that condition.

Here's the journal of the beginning of the next phase:

September 2:

My new boat, Close Enough, came home yesterday, 2 weeks to the day from when I first checked her out. I waded into the virgin rainforest of purchasing a commercial vessel two weeks ago, weaving together my feeble negotiating skills with insurance, coast guard documentation, marine surveying and business loan processes. I had to learn my way through many terms and ways of doing things that were completely unknown to me. Meanwhile, I am racking up expenses flying back and forth, driving around, buying safety gear and repairing a few things, and am not earning any money.

Then after a seeming eternity of blundering and lurching through the various hoops and getting the vessel purchased, she slips in the water at the Rockland boat launch. Then the easy part is done and I'm bluntly aware of how vulnerable I am, how little I know about boats with 210 horsepower diesel engines and no brakes, hydraulics, marine wiring and electronics. I'll find out even more sharply in a few hours.

After pulling away from the launch pretty smoothly and wending my way across the harbor to O'Hara's north, my first docking experience does NOT go well. Throttle and transmission controls suddenly seem extremely confusing. I can't get it right and thrash and bonk my way to a stop at the wharf. After I've stopped hyperventilating, I realize that the throttle and transmission controls are catching on each other and contributing to my lack of coordination.

While Clayton's off doing errands, I try to lube up the controls. They move more independently and smoothly.

I'm in a large maze of lobster buying, big heavy commercial boats up on land for work, shrink wrapped pleasure boats, and a large charter sailboat operation. I love it in all directions. People here do more than push e-mails and sell lattes. They get to move big boats around, fix broken things, get them back in the water. Stuff goes on here.

As I get ready to pull away for the big trip home, all is chaos, the transmission lever won't take the boat out of reverse and the boat is hard against the pilings. We shut down and Clayton figures out that the throttle and transmission cables aren't secured to the controls. My lube job worked well in helping identify a significant malfunction.

The next adventure comes partway across Rockland harbor when the temperature alarm goes off. Clayton lifts a couple hatches and we turn around. I'm out my head with panic at my leveraged position, ignorance and an alarming malfunction. I get a quick lesson in changing an impeller in the water pump for the cooling system, and we head across to my home without incident. I manage to get to the dock with no big collisions which is amazing to me because I've never done this before, am fighting a nasty GI bug and had a couple brews on the way across. I feel like I'm driving the Queen Elizabeth after my peapod. And I didn't take drivers' ed for this.

We're home. It was a long time lost on the mainland.