Happy on the Hard
A haulout in a family-run Guatemalan boatyard provides the antidote to marina insulation.
Most cruisers would be challenged to find a silver lining anywhere in the vicinity of a clogged commode. And the clog on Osprey, our 45-foot steel cutter, was epic, the kind of monster that can break a person after two days of wrestling with head hoses, which seem to wrap themselves around fittings like hungry anacondas.
Johnny, my husband, finally concluded that the only way to extract the offending hose was to remove the holding tank. That Vietnam War phrase about bombing the village to save it started to have real meaning. Then, with the tank out and the hose laid bare, bad plumbing was suddenly the least of our worries. Under the tank was a section of hull to which we’d never had access where water—probably just small splashes from people doing daily stuff like washing faces and taking showers—had trickled down and collected along a stringer. There it sat and did what water and steel do best together: produce rust.
The consequences of our haulout at Astillero Magdalena, located a few miles upriver from the marina where we were spending hurricane season on the Río Dulce, were startlingly immediate. As I watched Carlos, a young, skilled welder, cut an eight- by eight-inch hole out of the side of my home, I reflected on my love/hate relationship with steel as a boatbuilding material. In fact, I started entertaining notions of recreational vehicles and K.O.A. campgrounds. The ordeal sent our spirits plummeting.