Sunday, August 2, 2009

"On the Hard"

There are some items of boat maintenance that simply can’t be done in the water. Painting the bottom comes to mind. So does removing and cleaning the seacocks, those handy devices that keep the ocean out of the boat. Right – remove them for maintenance, then there’s nothing keeping the ocean out of the boat! So for those lovely projects, the boat has to be on land.

When I first heard a boat-savvy friend use the phrase “on the hard” I had all these poetic romantic thoughts about how static and unyielding land is compared to the restless ever-changing ocean. Now that we live aboard, when we’re hauled for maintenance, the phrase “fish out of water” seems a lot more apt. I think “on the hard” just describes what life is like when you live on a boat that’s temporarily out of its native element. Life on the hard is, well … hard … as living aboard begins to resemble camping out.

First there’s the climbing a ladder to come aboard. It’s interesting to be eye level with the trees, and it’s a new perspective to look down from the cockpit and see the tops of our cars parked just behind the boat. That’s about where the fun ends, though. It seems like just a few posts ago I was smugly pointing out how we conserve water by using seawater to flush. And how seawater also cools our refrigerator system, and air conditioning. Mmmm, right. No seawater up here. So bathroom, refrigerator, and A/C are replaced by older, simpler solutions -- bucket, ice blocks, and wishful thinking. It’s really good weather for painting, though, so hopefully we’ll get the jobs done and back in the water soonest.

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