It was never going to be an easy day, especially compounded by the unknown. Would Beyzano be sold whilst we are in the UK or would we return in late April or early May to see her again, launch and sail north? No answer to that question yet and it’s a matter of waiting. Our broker is very enthusiastic and optimistic, which is good but we would ideally like very special new owners for our boat as she has been so brilliant and deserves a good future, romping through the waves and visiting lovely anchorages! OK, so she’s not alive and not our child but she has sure felt like she is!!
Although I’m already dreading stepping off her on Monday, it is still a few days away and we have the last tasks ahead, mainly clearing and cleaning out cupboards and sorting out the lockup. That is at least a day’s work as initially we dumped everything straight in it, so now have to examine each box and bag and make some brutal decisions about what to keep. What is going with the boat has to be at the front so if she sells it can be easily picked up by the new owner but we also need to keep a lot of things we may want in case we return, including our diving gear, as its not beyond the realms of possibility that we will be in Bonaire again one day! Plans are written in sand and this time in the hands of others too.
We’ve kept busy, going through the project plan and ordering a new membrane for the watermaker (very expensive bit of kit at nearly 900 dollars), a new Outland hatch cover and more cleartone Semco to treat the teak deck. Looking around at other boats for sale, we are doing far too much but on the plus side, she can be launched in May with barely anything to do. The weather has been wonderful, warm, still and dry for weeks, so it is very easy to work. Having a stern view of pine trees, filled with squirrels and birds, is a pleasant change to the concrete yards we’ve been used to and this yard is also small and quiet, with few people around. A lot of boats at the far end of the yard are totally abandoned, due to be cut up after several decades of neglect. Always sad to see them, once someone’s brand new pride and joy but now utterly unloved.
For the first time we’ve had to winterise the boat. In the UK winters we carried on sailing, so there was no need but this time we’ve flushed out the sea water from engines, drained the fuel out of the outboard, sucked potable antifreeze through the fresh water pipes, emptied the 3 tanks and tried to empty every little hose and pump and filter we could think of or filled them with coolant. Bound to have forgotten something though and a split hose will show us what that was after winter.
We still escape the yard regularly, mostly to go to Hurd’s Hardware, the very best store I’ve been in for ages. We get everything there and at better prices than West Marine. For instance, we started trying to source some heating duct for our air heating system but it was nearly 200 dollars with shipping etc. and just as much from the UK. As a last resort Rob asked in Hurd’s, where the owner, Mr Hurd, still works at 101 years of age. Sure enough they got us some for 20 dollars! We also got window trim, another items we’ve looked high and low for. There is a local saying; if Hurd’s don’t have it, you don’t need it. I even bought some waterproof ankle boots there last week, in preparation for spending winter in the UK again. One sign puzzled me though, as shown in the photograph. Apparently they are just Chrysanthemums or fall flower as the assistant informed me. I had to ask! Mr Hurd started the store at the end of the Second World War and it is wonderful to see him still proudly surveying his empire and offering to assist customers. I asked if he knew where every item was but he admitted that he found it difficult when things get moved around, such as now in preparation for the Christmas stock but I guess it keeps him alert and focused.
Familiar friends and new local friends have also kept us entertained and we spent a lovely evening with Jonathan and Anne at their home, along with others of Irish and Scottish descent. They lent us their car to enable us to get there too and cooked a delicious meal. Another evening Steve and Margaret hosted us at their waterside home, kindly ferrying us to and fro and serving up another tasty meal. Steve and Linda, from ‘Moondancer’ stopped in the bay for one night to see us too, on their way south. As they are returning to the Eastern Caribbean with the Salty Dawg Rally next month, it could be a few more years until we meet them again. We played a final Mexican Train dominoes game, interrupted by a BBQ and it was sad to say farewell but we promised them a stay on our canal boat in the UK, if we manage to develop that dream to fruition.
So, just 4 days left on Beyzano. Hard to believe after all these years and all the miles we’ve done together and I do hope Lydia or Bill are ready for some tears, as one of them is picking us up to take us to their house in Richmond on Monday, ready for our flight the following day. I’m hoping I can either convince myself she’ll still be here in the spring or have my mind taken off the parting by chat in the car but at the moment, I can’t say I’m looking forward to Monday afternoon in the slightest. I am really excited about being in the UK for Christmas again though, seeing friends and family and spending 3 months in the Lake District with a border collie, 2 cats, chickens and doves to care for. Hoping for snow already!