i_id: (Musical Ambush!)
The last month has been a busy one.

Five days of Disneyland is a fairly grueling holiday. But it is so worth it. We did everything. And then we did everything twice. Indiana Jones was the ride of preference this time, followed by (for me) Thunder Mountain Railroad. Sky, I think, burned herself out a little, but I know she'll be back, and happy to be so. (You addict.)
And Mom had fun. As in, glowing like a child fun. I think she pushed her physical limits, which is good for her. She didn't always keep up, but I don't think she felt left behind. She really loved the interactive rides like Midway Madness and Astro-Blasters. And I think she liked the Tiki Room, too. Oh, and Pirates. That's a ride that's just her speed. We did it at least half a dozen times. My beloved Space Mountain was too wild for her, alas. And for Bonnie's friend Tamy, too. But fun was had by everyone, and it was a fantastic time.
Next time (because of course there will be a next time), I'll schedule an extra day into the stay so there can be a day of rest in the middle of it all, a day to catch our wind, enjoy the hotel's hot tub, and rest weary, pavement-pounded feet. (Which reminds me; the toenail I destroyed there finally came off tonight, with a tug and sting.) And more time after, for recovery.

Which brings me to the other three quarters of the month. We flew back from Disneyland on Saturday night, spent that night down at Grandma's, and reached home before noon on Sunday. And Monday morning, after a night of wild packing, Dad and I took off South. It's a solid four-hour drive to Aberdeen, which is far out on the real coast, south of the Penninsula near the mouth of the Chehalis River. Gray's Harbor, named after the captain of the original Lady, is just downstream.
The Lady herself is moored in a half-built, rather shady park at the junction of the Chehalis, the Wiishkah, and Walmart, where the banks are objectionable but the rent is cheap. She was built here, though the old boathouse is now no more than a cement foundation on our pier. Our neighbors are a very stately heron, two harbor seals, three angry river otters, and a drug dealer.
I helped bring the ship here, just before Christmas, and here she's been ever since, under her first major maintenance period in too many years. The new engine, a Skania, is a big, beautiful thing now that the exhaust system has been wrangled into compliance. The new foremast is 40-odd feet* of Doug Fir, turned on a lathe that looks more like a hadron collider than a woodworking implement. It's gorgeous.
The seaport, our official home base, is a massive shop a few miles from the dock. It contains everything one could need to make a ship; tools beyond imagining, everything from the 100' lathe to a set of ancient and powerful sewing machines. It's also home to our offices, tucked away at the edges. It took me a few days to get to speak to our accountant about taking up my official job as purser, but I was kept quiet busy. Corset-stitching leather, soaking strops and footlines in raw pine-tar. Pine-tar, by the way, is glorious stuff. Thicker than chocolate syrup and just as smooth, it stays liquid in all but the most frozen temperatures. When it hailed one day, the hailstones falling into our out-back tar cauldron made themselves each a tiny cup of hardened tar before I could get the thing covered.
Dipping my hands into the tar was both pleasure and irritation; it coats seamlessly, perfectly, and warms at the very touch of sunlight. But scrubbing it off my hands to do anything else too easily half an hour each day, the abrasive orange soap undoing any benefit to my skin of the theraputic tar. And everything I wore, of course, has been forever changed. My poor Western hoodie.
I spent about a week there, mostly doing the small tasks that need no great skill or strength, but are nonetheless vital, meticulous, and time-consuming. For four days, I sewed leather chafe gear onto various pieces of what would become standing rigging. For two more, canvas. The night before we were due to put in the mast, Paul and I spent six hours nailing both leather and canvas to the trestle-trees, the tiny platform that joins topmast and t'gallantmast, very high above the deck, and to the cheeks, large wooden bolsters that brace that platform.
The day the mast went in was, of course, wet and breezy, both of which are an inconvenience when trying to sway a 3000lb, forty-foot-long piece of wood through a hole in our deck, a smaller wholein the foc's'l sole, and a still smaller, carefully-carved hole in the keel of the ship herself. But fit it did, with no disasters. Well, except that no one thought to track down a 2010 coin for the mast-step.
The mast, of course, was a very large step, but only a step. Once the lower, largest piece was in, we, with windlass and handspikes, hoisted the topmast and t'gallant, and then the three yards. Sails had to be bent on, blocks sorted out, and dozens of lines led over, under, even through each other and roved in their proper places, a long, long process of trial, error, and climbing up and down and up again.
During all of this, I was doing various projects, mostly at deck-level. I made three mast-boots, the canvas skirts that cover the join of mast and deck and keep rain out of the cabins below. One for valuable mistakes to learn from, one for the new foremast, and one to replace the shredded, 12-year-old boot on the incumbant main mast.
Aloft is stil a world of discomfort for me, but I did a fair amount of work on the rigging. I helped to seize the shrouds, the thick hawsers that run from the chainplates up to the foretop, holding the mast up side-to-side, once they'd been tensioned, and I spent hours in those same shrouds, twenty feet up, lashing fairleads for the foremast gear. All with seine twine, of course. The ship is held together with 60-gauge seine twine and rigger's tar.
About a week ago, we started hearing real impatience from our Powers That Be. And sometime between then and Thursday, word trickled to us that, instead of the Coast Guard inspection originally scheduled for Thursday (for which we had no chance of being ready), we would be going on our shakedown sail on Saturday, accompanied by thirty or so locals who had donated time, money, attention, or all three during this extended refit period.
We pulled it off, to all of our surprise. All of our square sails ran in and out with nothing horribly fouled. There were a few instances of hung-up sails or spaghetti in the rigging, but nothing major, or even that embarrassing. The Lady Washington is a sailing ship once again!

Sunday Update: Today, we went out again, with about half the passengers. Smoother still, even our MOB drill. And while it rained again, it was light, and we were prepared with our foulies beforehand. Tomorrow, we have our rescheduled Coast Guard inspection, and maybe, just maybe after that, the anticipation of a day-off.
In summary, I'm sore to my very bones, from barked fingers to smashed toes, I haven't had a day off since February, and I am still pleasantly floating from having gotten to sleep into 9:00am this morning. But for every complaint, I have at least two accomplishments glowing through my skin. It's a heady feeling.

And I have glow-in-the-dark stars above my head.

Monday Update! We passed our CG inspection with modest colors, and in reward, our boss is taking us all out to lunch at the Mexican place tomorrow, aaaaand we get the day off. A day off! A -whole- day off! Oh, and the boat is gleaming clean, inside and out.


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April 2013

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