Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inside Me Voy

Part of our galley, this cabinet will hold silverware and various cooking instruments in the drawers, with rear storage for sacks of various grains and flours. We chose to coat it with grey Bilgecoat, for its durability and mold resistance.

Tool storage area and future workshop
Travis has been hard it at it the last several weeks, sanding all bulkheads, constructing new storage bins, making mouldings, and giving all storage cabinets  a nice coat of paint.  We have chosen to paint the interior of all the holds with Bilgecoat. This paint, designed to paint the inside of bilges, provides great coverage and is resistant to moisture and therefore mold. It smells sweet and deadly when applying, and a respirator is a must if you value your nervous system. It comes in both grey and white and when dry makes for a very durable glossy finish.

In addition to sanding and building, T has also been busy stripping the teak floor in the boat.  He was going to use the previously mentioned Citrus strip, but after experimenting on a section of floor decided to use the belt sander instead. The Citrus strip did take the layers of varnish and drips of paint and epoxy off, but it kept the floor wet, and this would have slowed the refinishing process significantly. So, for the sake of progress, T asked our trusty belt sander to dance instead. It was however, a short number as after their tango around the salon, the belt drive split in two and belt sander was left to sit on the benches awaiting a new belt. Such is progress.

Going with the flow, Travis decided to focus on the smaller and finer finishing details, such as hand carving some mouldings. I could tell he was really excited about this project when I came home and he beamed as he showed me a  stick of mahogany with some chisel marks of it. "I think I got it figured out" he said, as he lovingly ran his gaze along the piece of scrap wood. Turns out he did get it figured out, as his hand carved piece matches exactly the original cabinet moulding.

The new moulding matches the original profile exactly with only the color variation giving away its secret

The belt sander was soon ready to dance again, and like magic  (magic to me, painfully un-magic like to Travis) the floor was stripped and covered with paper. 

Then began the process of refinishing the interior. We wanted to get this done before the countertops and upper cabinets were made. That way instead of facing the daunting task of refinishing the entire interior at once,  we only had to do the remaining new construction. 

The product we chose for the finish was the Epifanes matte finish. We both prefer the softness of the matte to a glossy surface, and the Epifanes, although more expensive then most varnishes or urethanes has its advantages. For one with the Rapid clear there is no sanding between coats, huge bonus there! Also even though the stuff costs more, you end up using much less of it then other less expensive finishes. Another bonus is its ease of application. Although the stuff tends to be rather thick, its very easy to apply and runs virtually disappear,  especially with the matte finish. I've also used the gloss Epifanes on our exterior varnish and noticed that I could slather the stuff on and it smoothes out beautifully. (The important thing to remember with the gloss varnish is not to apply it in direct sunlight as it "flashes"and becomes a matte finish. ) 

Interior finishing with Epifanes Matte Finish. Have you seen a prettier boat?

As March comes to a close it seems we are a few months away from completing Me Voy  and being ready to move aboard. It sounds incredible to even say that, but it really looks like we may be living aboard the prettiest boat ever very soon.   

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dear Blog

This fortune cookie has been hanging in Me Voy's salon for the duration of the restoration process. Its meaning used to be simple:
                                       Dream = sail away to a tropical paradise
                                       Fear = obstacle to be overcome in order to realize dream

That was four years ago. During that time, the boat(s) and other teachers, have been kind enough to appear in our path and shed some light  into the dark corners of our minds. Thanks to them, dear blog, our definition of both "dream" and  "fear" has changed significantly.

Let's start with dream. I love palm trees. To me they are a symbol of peace. I used to imagine myself sitting under a palm, sipping delicious milk from a freshly cut coconut, watching waves roll across the vast expanse of ocean.What could be better then this? I thought and pushed myself to sand even faster, believing that if I work hard to get there, then I will be rewarded with peace and happiness. After all how could I expect to be happy while sanding? Sanding sucks, everyone knows that. So if I can suck it up now, work hard, then my peace will be waiting for me, under that palm tree, in that paradise, in the wonderful future.

Yes, dear blog, I wrote to you many times in the previous years, posted pictures of our accomplishments, and even took a little pride in how hard we were working. It was all done with relatively good humor, because I knew that soon we would be posting pictures from that paradise, where all this work has paid off. Now don't get your white digital page all in a tizzy! I know what you're thinking, but rest assured, I am not giving up on the boats, or on the tropical paradise. I have not changed what I am thinking about, just how I am thinking about it.

You see, I know now, that happiness and peace cannot come from the fulfillment of any dream. Dreams, desires, even wishes, are all bound to the material world, and the material world cannot give lasting peace because it is always subject to change.
A dramatic example of this is the recent Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Immeasurable human and material achievement was destroyed in seconds. Seemingly indestructable structures crumpled in minutes, leaving a landscape strewn with worthless garbage that minutes before was valued as someone's wealth. Seeing these images it is easy to see the  unreliability of  the material world for providing lasting happiness.

But, if we look around this impermanence surrounds us all the time. My young skin is slowly getting lined with tiny wrinkles, which I know will soon fractal into even more and deeper lines. The varnish on our boats fades with the passing months and if left neglected will soon peel away to reveal bare wood, which if left unprotected will soon turn to mush. Things always change. If we rely on things to supply us with peace and happiness, we will always suffer.

So what is the solution?

Across time, space, and culture, there have been people who all say the same thing. Peace and happiness can only be found within. They are not objects to have but states of Being to experience.
The monk to your left, is a dramatic example of this knowledge. As his physical self burns, his Inner Self remains untouched. This is the Self that does not get wet when it rains. This is the immortal and immovable Self. This is the God, the Allah, the Jehovah, the bliss consciousness, Transcendental Awareness, Enlightenment, Nirvana, the kingdom within, the Higher Self, and the Quantum State. Whatever word you label it with, it is this wordless experience, that is within all of us, that is the only reliable source of  peace in this changing world.

So can you guess my dream these days?

At this time we can search hundreds of techniques and teachings that were otherwise unavailable to most seekers at any other time in history. Some think this is not good, that it dilutes the teachings, and leaves most people paralyzed, by the overwhelming amount of choices. I'm of the opposite mind. I love the variety. The more I learn from various traditions, including the very exciting field of quantum physics, the more convinced I become that we are all fighting about the same thing.

So dear Blog, looks like change is coming. You began as a blog about one sad boat, became a blog about two demanding boats, and now? Well I don't know where we go from here, but thanks for listening.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

dogs and cats

Lately the weather here has been a touch schizophrenic. Kind of like Billy. After his latest "accident", he seems even more crazy. Is it spring he smells or has he turned the corner to full blown madness?

Here's the mystery though. Why is it that the boat could be lurching furiously, knocking things off the shelves, cup jingling, fenders banging against the hull, ropes screeching as they strain in the crazy wind we've been having, and Billy seems oblivious to it all. But hang a towel in the salon railing, and its all over, he's unable to cope. 

I don't get it. What is he doing when he's sitting, swaying with eyes dimly closed, tail switching? Tell me that's not suspicious behavior. Or when he suddenly darts out of the room and gallops around the deck. Just wanted some exercise? Does he understand more then I think he does or less? Is he ignoring me out of spite or is that bucket really that interesting? With Chopper its easy, it seems I could read his mind. But Billy continues to surprise and intrigue me. 

Does that make me a dog person?