After a month of guiding trips at Glover's Reef, I had an eight-day rest period. Right away I wanted to get the Manatee out of storage and onto a working platform at Sam's workshop, but I couldn't get a truck and some men... The result was I finally got her onto a cradle on day seven, and had just enough time on day eight to buy some glass and resin, some sandpaper and other materials and explain what I wanted done by the time I came off the water in a week. I asked Sam's nephew to give me some help, sanding and fibreglassing. I wanted the hull smoothed and reinforced along the keel. I bought enough glass to do both decks as well as the little needed along the keel and gunwales. So I was surprised when I returned to find that he had reglassed most of one side of the hull, using up all my glass and most of the resin. Very frustrating, as the boat is already heavy, and only needs a thin layer of glass to reinforce the waterproof layer of resin.
This is me standing beside the Big Manatee on her cradle. Her bow is behind me, barely visible in the glare of a tropical sun. She has been sanded and looks white in places, and the reddish blotches are from resin mixed with sanding dust (mostly mahogany) used to fill cracks and low spots. you can see how sharply tapered she is at the ends, and the full-length keel. She hardly seems big enough, but she will be my home for about four months, starting in April.
The outrigger, the Little Manatee, is behind the big one, out of sight. You'll see her when she is ready.
A little aside: last summer I was given a huge jib sail by my very good friends, Ernesto and Alexandra Rufo. Thanks, guys. From it I cut two smaller (obviously) sails for the Manatee. I decided to test the smaller of the two sails with my canoe, a standard "Canadian" design. I built an outrigger for the canoe, and made the spars and crossbeams, and set up the smaller sail. This is what she looked like. The sail is called a "crabclaw" and is a polynesian design. It has an upper yard and a lower boom. This comes in handy because the sail can be put to other uses. It can be propped on the beach apex up, as a shade or temporary shelter, or it can be held apex down, in a rainstorm, to funnel rain into a bucket. I will be travelling during the rainy season, in some very rainy places, so i hope to capture as much rainwater as I can, for drinking and even bathing. There are few joys as great as having fresh, sweet rainwater to wash off the salt that rubs and chafes the skin.
That's all for now, my friends. Tomorrow I am off to Glover's Reef. I'll bring back some photos of that paradise, and maybe a story or two. Take care,