Thursday, July 30, 2015

Silicone: Yet another cautionary tale

Here is a picture of a frazzled, windblown, filthy, profusely sweating Mungo looking at. . .What?  Go ahead, guess.  Really.  We'll wait.

No, it is not a mangrove worm.
That, friends, is a strip of silicone caulk that I spent a good part of a steamy afternoon peeling off the front deck.  We kept having leaks during rainstorms through and under the fore wall, and I kept putting more and more of this crap on the seam where the wall meets the deck, trying to catch them.

That's not fair.  The "crap" comment, I mean.  Silicone caulks have some wonderful applications, they are absolutely waterproof, and almost nothing will stick to them.

It's that latter quality that limits their applications, that lack of stickiness.  Properly adhered, they will keep water out for decades.  NOT properly adhered, they will actually TRAP water behind them, rotting wood, corroding metals, and, in general, making a mess of things.  When I peeled this mess off, the seam between the ply and the deck was wet, and beginning to decompose.  I wound up sanding the surface, cutting out some of the damaged wood, dusting the remainder with sodium borate (which I recommend for both insects and rot), running a bead of traditional vinyl based painter's caulk, and then screwing in a 1" X 1" piece of treated oak, caulking the edges of THAT, and then painting.

....did I mention the heat index was 107F?

Virtually every place aboard we used silicone sealant, the material has failed and had to be replaced with other sealants, weatherstripping, or both.



Hey new stuff over at Life, Art Water.

Monday, July 20, 2015

On the Nature of Community

June 2015 was a kind of milestone for us.  As of the 14th of that month, we had lived exclusively on the water for a full year:  A full four seasons on the water.  Amazing.

In celebration we invited a few old friends out to join us, colleagues from a college at which we both taught.  One, a sociologist, seemed fascinated by the cultural dynamic of the Marina.  "It's like a small town."  He said, "With each dock being a different street, each with it's own character."  It was a great observation, and it got us thinking about the nature of Marina communities and the Marina life.

One of the things we have loved the most about this place is the sense of community, and to a very great extent well run marinas are like small towns, with all the strengths and foibles you'd associate with that.  Every small town stereotype you can think of:  community meals, the town drunk, the sense of place and pride, kids playing in the town square, the local busybody, the ritzy house and the unkept one, all exist in some sense in the marina setting as well.  The truly great ones are like enduring small villages, with remarkably stable populations, a profound sense of place, and a loyal cast of characters.  It isn't an accident.  
Common spaces are crucial.  The firepit wasn't even DONE before folks began using it as a gathering space.

Many Marinas fall down in the community department.  Lacking comfortable common spaces where slipholders can meet and driven in a push for as much income generating footage as possible, they become little more than storage places for vessels.  Worse, some become mere stages for the competitive showing of wealth and prestige, with little sense of friendliness or belonging.  A talented Marina operator can create community, both through the inclusion of pleasant common spaces in which folks might gather and through some rather careful selection of who goes where in terms of slip assignments (as well as a practiced intolerance for those who prove destructive to the tone and tenor of the place). It is an attention to the care and maintenance of community, just as any city manager or small town mayor might take into accord.  

One of the things we have loved the most about this place is that the Marina has, indeed, proven close as a small town; convivial, helpful, and, in general, a delight.  We tolerate one another and take care of one another, looking after vessels and alerting the owners to potential problems if we notice them.  There's always a helping hand or some decent advice to keep us afloat.
Public spaces are the soul of community.  If you build it, they will come.
And, of course. . .they do.

And the "community" isn't limited to just boats and the environs.  We've also become known to the merchants that are in an easy walk from the boat, and they've become great sources not only of goods and services, but of good information. (As an aside, it amazes me how few people actually bother to talk to the people with whom they do business day to day.  We've become the friends to a number of merchants just by dent of treating them like human beings.) The shops and stores then become a part of the Marina community, aware of it, and happy to have and support it.

We have met such good friends here, folks that we might never, ever had stumbled across in our former lives, and we are far the better for it.  We meet virtually every day, sharing stories, food, drink, and our lives.  We both grew up this way, Gail and I, in our respective small towns, and it's good to have it back; this closeness.  

Looking back on the year, our lives are ever so much richer, happier, healthier, and more fulfilling.  If you are anticipating a move aboard, don't wait, make it happen.  We should have done this years ago.

If you're interested, and we invite you to visit our other blogs of life afloat, and

Enjoy the life, folks.  We certainly do!


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Tease, Tease, Tease. . .

See These?
Trust me, you want these. . .oh yes you do.
These are foraged wild raspberries.

Oh, yum.
But to find out how we got em, you'll have to go over to Life, Art, Water.
And to find out what we did with em, you'll have to go over to Onboard Cooking.

Think of it as a scavenger hunt :)


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Oh, Bother...

I had a rather wonderful post in the works about a really enjoyable raft-up we had with many boats from the marina on July 4.  Really, it was cool: nice folks, great food, rather too much ethanol, music, fireworks, good times.

Sadly, my wonderful little Kodak waterproof HD camera took exactly this moment to shuffle off its mortal plastic coil.  Sad really.  The little thing took very nearly all the photos on this blog.  They don't make them anymore.


So I'm fishing for shots other folks have taken, because the rafting experience is one of the best parts of partying on the water, and we really wanted to share it with you guys.

More shortly.

Anybody got a camera?


New stuff over on Morgainne's blog, Life, Art, Water.  Check it out.