Taking the boat out

The weather forecast didn’t look too good in the upcoming few days ahead.  My lovely husband had already been on tenterhooks[1] checking and re checking little boat over the past week. 

Image above: Little boat at sunset in the bay

 You see, it floats incredibly well, but with windy weather, the seas are a bit rough.  This could mean it might come off it’s mooring, and then be smashed against the sharp volcanic rocks along the Bermuda shoreline.  I’m trying to be supportive, but I’m equally sure he’s tied good knots, so the boat will stay in place. The recent high tide found us picking three dead fish out when bailing it, so either the birds lost them as they flew over, or they’ve been washed aboard.  There’s a crab under the dock that thinks it’s Christmas’ have all come at once, as it dragged off the biggest dead morsal.  With the Covid-19 shelter in place, we can’t use the boat, so it’s just floating there, and I know how frustrating that must be for him, after all his work on it.  Never the less, after watching his stress about it, when he said ‘I’ll need your help to take the boat out this afternoon’ I quickly said ‘Sure’.  Famous last words.

So he wanted to do a couple of little last minute repair jobs while the water was calm, and was down mucking around at the dock, as you do.  Time was marching on, and there’s a window of opportunity for getting the boat up onto the slipway, while the tide is quite high.  I was also looking forward to speaking to my friend in New Zealand and was mindful of the time difference there, so started pacing a bit.  But in the end messaged her to say ‘I just have to help take the boat out, and I’ll let you know when I’m back and ready to call’.  Imagine all that pressure during lockdown at home.

Finally lovely husband arrived at the door and asked ‘ready?’.  Well no, I had to change into my togs, and find my old shoes to wear in the water, and a beach towel was somewhere around after being unpacked from my Tenacious journey.  It’s been so long since I’ve been able to swim.  Feeling confident that I’m now good at heaving on ropes, and know a bit more about boats, off we went to get this done.  The tide was already out a couple of feet, much to my dismay.  I’m short you see, and as much as I wouldn’t get as wet, it would be further for me to lift the boat up.  I was hoping to be in it up to my armpits, because face it, if we can’t go swimming right now, it was at least a good excuse to get wet.

I got into the water, and the first explosion started from my usually lovely husband ‘what did I think I was doing?’.  Well getting in to tow the boat around to the slipway of course.  It seems we have two different ideas of how to get a boat to the correct position to pull it out.  This ensued a heated discussion which left me thinking it was lucky there wasn’t a hurricane on it’s way.  Already grumpy, the mooring rope got so tangled up, I had to be patient while the cold water lapped away at my tender regions, seemingly miles away from being able to help.  There hasn’t been nearly enough sun to warm the water up properly just yet, and with more bad weather on the way, just as well.  That might help people to stay put and out of the water during lockdown.  Rope now freed, I towed it round to the start of the slipway.  The bow has to be straight on which means the bulk weight of this solid wooden boat is still in the water, but moving with the wake of the occasional essential craft speeding by in the five knot zone.  I kept it straight as possible and helped to lift it up when the time was right onto the slipway.  Now all the time the rocks under my feet are extremely slippery, and it’s really important to get a good footing.  That jagged lava is unforgiving and would be like landing on a cheese grater.  I have a worn out pair of walking sandals just for this very purpose.  

By now my lovely husband looked a bit like he was going to blow a gasket.  The boat came up, then fell off the slipway again.  I was well out the way but he thought he was going to trap me.  ‘You can’t stand there!’.  Well there’s no where else for me to stand, so we just had to get on with it.  Up it went again and this time, he heaved it enough for it to be stable even with the wash trying to move it back.  I then got out and helped him to drag it up onto the slipway.  Now this was a bit precarious as it was on an angle ready to slide back in, so while I held it from slipping back, he tied it to the nearest tree.  That seemed to work.  Then a gust of wind puffed and the whole boat lurched over, so I made an executive decision to pull it up just a little bit further so it couldn’t slip back and pull the tree over and end up loose in the ocean.  

My lovely husband grumbled a lot, actually so much that I think I’ve learnt a few choice[2] swear words that I never knew before.  But, he agreed and untied the boat again, and together we heaved it up, just enough, for it to take the weight on the flat part of the slipway.  We got it stuck twice on the jutted bits of wood here and there, and accidentally pulled it onto it’s own rope at one point.  But we did it.  A painter line was then reapplied to the tree, and it all looked good.  I went up to the house and got changed, in time to call my friend, who thought it was a bit mad that I had to put on my togs to shift a boat.  Don’t worry I knew what I was doing.  However I had trouble getting up after the call, and realise I’ve done in my stupid sciatica yet again.  Maybe at fifty-something, I overestimated my strength, especially after sitting around for a few weeks sheltering at home.  Antiflam and paracetamol, and it didn’t feel too bad the next day.

When I gingerly got out of bed the next morning, I said ‘We didn’t tell the neighbours about the painter line!’ and promptly messaged to confess.  The question back was ‘Why didn’t you ask us to come and help?!’  Well because I’m Kiwi, and my lovely husband’s Cornish, which is stubborn and impossible between us.  We’re also meant to be isolating, and with one of us being an essential worker, we would never forgive ourselves if all our neighbours fell ill, because we gave that awful virus to them, just to move a boat.  But I have to say I will never do that again without at least a winch, even if a hurricane’s coming, it’s just too heavy.  At least a ton.  Even with rollers and ropes, it was way, way too heavy and could have gone horribly wrong easily.

On the plus side, I got to go out for the first time since staying at home began.  Why?  Well my lovely husband needed a bit of help.  He did his essential worker run, then came home to rest his painful shoulder.  It seems my help was needed – to lift the bags.  No wonder I learnt new expletives! 

Please comment on my blog webpage so I know you’re all safe out there!

More soon – Sally

P.S. Have you checked out my new page yet? https://idontdoironing.com/did-you-know/

P.P.S. We are absolutely totally fine now, all rested and repaired!


1 Just In case you don’t know the saying ‘tenterhooks’ comes from the sharp hooks that they used to stretch cloth or tapestries along a frame.  This meant the cloth didn’t warp or shrink if washed, and could be removed at any time to be laundered or freshened up outside.  We saw some in action at Plas Mawr in Conwy, Wales,  a huge medieval homestead in the middle of the town.  Well worth visiting if travelling gets up and running again.  Let me know if you would like me to write a blog about it!

2 ‘Choice’ Kiwi slang check it out here: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Choice



  1. Authors note: I just wanted to post this lovely comment from my avid reader Dianne. I love hearing your stories and will publish them as soon as I can. Just send them in via the contact page. Dianne, thank you for this, what a lovely memory 😊

    Name: diannenzsmith

    Comment: I love your story Sally – well described and I saw myself, if not in your situation, then one similar in terms of heightened emotion. Especially intrigued with the Cornish hairdryer, and though I don’t know what one is, I’m sure Aunty Google will enlighten me. The language I heard on the day I’ll tell you about was of the plain, common Kiwi kind!

    Many years ago I was driving the tractor while Don was forking silage off the back. The grass was wet with a heavy dew and going down an easy slope, the tyres began to lose traction. I touched the brake and the tractor started to slip and increased speed. Over the noise of the motor I heard Don yelling: “Give it some throttle, give it some bloody throttle!”

    Give it some bloody throttle? Did he think I was stupid?

    “Give it some bloody throttle, for God’s sake give it some throttle!”

    I could see where we were heading and it wan’t pretty, and I thought if I was going to die I might as well…………well to this day I don’t know what my rationale was, but I gave it some throttle. Gingerly at first, then as I heard the motor – and the bloody tractor – respond – dI gave it a little more!

    It worked, and I guided tractor, trailer, and a strangely quiet husband to a safe place to stop. I jammed the lock on the brake and got off

    I told Don what he could do with the bloody tractor, which would have been intereting as it was a big Massey Ferguson, and stomped off home.

    Time: 21 Apr 2020 at 6:39 pm


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