susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


'This is a private wharf. You can't stay here.'

Now, you've just spent over 26 hours in a pounding sea, steering one hour on, one hour off, over 120 miles, and it's now 8 in the morning Eastern Delight Time; you've been hunted down through the fog by a MASSIVE cruise ship (2000 - ah - souls a board) honking as it emerges from the gloom right up yer butt, played dodgem with the rocks, islands, darting fishing boats and zillions of lobster pot markers dancing colourfully over the limpid sea; you've rung the BH HM who tells you to go starboard side to, by the four-masted schooner; you're both feeling just a touch wearied. Under these circs, the last thing you need, frankly, is a short fat gofor telling you to bugger off, just as the alien crew, who hasn't been cleared by scary immigration, has jumped onto the pontoon, and is making the lines fast right where we assumed we had been told.

J stomped off in a rage, and I was left to the delights of two self-righteous boys on said schooner, again telling us what we now knew: 'This is a private wh..' - I KNOW, I KNOW!

The upshot is, we had mistaken the wharf for the next one up - dear oh dear, what crime to hover five minutes on a private wharf. Feeling like lepers, we slunk off. Though they might have had a point. We were definitely unclean...

But that wasn't all. Once moored at the public wharf, we were told to move again. To the next wharf. To make room for a 120 foot yacht due in. We were assured this new, and phew, final move, would give us a better place. I had wondered why the pontoon (slip) was in three pieces. I was soon to find out. The water/tide/current/wake swirled round and round eternally, tipping the pontoon pieces like a switchback ride, and forcing the boat lines and cleats to strain and heave continually, day and night. Hmm. AND we had to stump up $3 per foot for this peaceful mooring, with the only facility being water (provide your own hose), oh yes, and electricity, which we didn't need. So, no showers, no restrooms. So we used the sea toilet. So, good.

But that wasn't all. We decided to find the YMCA for showers and the nearby laundry for our by now incredibly filthy selves and clothes. The laundry was easy - in with everything, whites, coloureds, knickers and tea towels, into a giant industrial machine. And then off to the icecream shop for J to sink his teeth into an enormous frozen something. When I asked for a drink of tap water, the cheery girl behind the counter denied all knowledge of the English language and pointed to the fridge of bottled drinks - nothing for nothing, then, despite J helping to pay her wage. Then back to put the now-clean stuff into dryers. Then off to the Y to wash ourselves.

The Y was next door - and charged $9 for a shower - 'You might use the other facilities and we wouldnt know it, so we have to charge for a day ticket.' Outraged, we dug into our pockets.

'See you in three hours, J,' I said, disappearing into the ladies. I know it's a YMCA, so facilities are going to be limited, but a big white room of shower heads sticking out of the wall? (That's all J had.) But girlies do have a couple of cubicles, with curtains that aren't wide enough, that drain straight through the cubie, washing shoes on the way through, that have a shower head pointing directly at the user, still in her clothing? Surely a modicum of thought could have gone into this. Found better in fishermen's washrooms. Or, on second thoughts, maybe a modicum of rubbish thought had gone into this, to make it so unappealing. Never mind. Cool, Suse. Just have a shower - at least the water is hot. So, with clothes, shoes and glasses clinging to the hook on the wall, I run in and soak for a minute, shampoo for a minute, then the water goes cold. So I have to rinse double quick before I get hypothermia. Praise heaven for the Antarctic practice a couple of years ago - but at least I knew what I was getting into then.

Back at reception, through teeth gritted to prevent them chattering, I told the girl at the desk about the problem, said I hadnt had time to use the other facilities, and said I wasn't impressed. 'Can't give a refund,' she said, writing a small note about me as she spoke. I hadn't asked for a refund - did she think I was swinging it? When I asked to speak to the manager, she told me she was the manager. So why is she writing a note to herself? $9 for 9 minutes? Great rate of income. I decided to sit outside and wait for J, who is taking his time, thinking I am taking mine. When he eventually comes out, he tells me the manager had told him his wife was waiting outside. Tee hee. I tell him about my cold shower, which has made me overheated. 'So that was the piece of paper she threw into the bin while we were talking? says J. I can so believe it, too.

But that's not all. We stopped at the icecream parlor for J to refresh himself again. He waits at the end of the counter, next to his choice of flavors. He waits. He waits. Eventually, the cheery girl shouts from the other end of the counter that they dont serve down where he is; he has to come up to the end where they will deign to serve. I dont even bother to go inside this time.

But that's still not all. We spend a riotous night heaving and lunging at our place on the three-piece pontoon, but fortunely exhaustion overcomes most of that. Next morning, we leave to go to the fuel dock. There is someone there - no problemo, we'll just tie up and wait at the next jetty, next to the tourist boat (Whalewatching trips - what, no whales, folks? Never mind! Better luck - next time!). As we approach, a guy jumps off the tourist ripoff, er, whale watching, boat.

We should have known. 'You can't stay here. Security.' We back off. It's like the 'Health and Safety' refrain back in good ole Blighty. The excuse for everything. Feck off. Bugger off. When we got on to the fuel dock, right next door, how much of a security risk were we then? This is a town that likes to say 'NO!' loudly and frequently.

We fecked off. We buggered off. We were happy to do so.


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