Haulout in Shelter Bay Marina

On the Hard, Shelter Bay Marina

With the advice we were given from cruisers who have had experience hauling out here in Shelter Bay, we approached the haulout with a firm game plan – in on Monday the 26th, out on Friday the 30th. We came prepared with our own paint, supplies, drop cloths, rollers, masking tape, spare parts, sandpaper and what-all, needing virtually nothing from the yard. We asked if help was available for hire, thinking if I was going to take a trip to Seattle for the family, Ole would be faced with a mountain of a boat to scrape, sand and paint. We were assured help is available for hire, just not very available, as they are the same guys that operate the travelift and pressure washer.

We left the slip at 9:00 am, and were up on the blocks by 10:30 on Monday, as planned. Boy, were we overdue for bottom paint! The pressure washer plus the monthly cleaning we’ve had done since we arrived in Panama pretty much took off all that was necessary, leaving just a few patches of stubborn barnacles to hand-sand or grind off with the machine. The running gear looked fair to good, requiring a couple of days of serious machine grinding to tame the calcium. The yard guys were not available to help on Monday, so while Ole did the majority of the grinding work, I moved us and the cats into the hotel rooms above the marina offices. Note – while there is nothing in the literature that forbids pets from living in the hotel, they weren’t too happy. However I’m a believer in “don’t ask, don’t tell” when it comes to animals…begging forgiveness is easier than getting permission.

Tuesday opened with rain squalls, so the yard guys were not available. We needed a couple of things (zincs) from Colon, so I was able to catch a ride in with one of the guys here, get escorted round to the grocery, hardware, marine, and battery stores and pick up what we needed. We decided it was best for me to go on up home to Bremerton and be with the family, which was in retrospect the only decision to have been made.

Tuesday night, we realized that if we had relied on the yard’s help to prep and paint the boat, we would have been out two days with none. Luckily, the guy I caught a ride in with had been using independent help on the two boats he had here, and wasn’t using them Wednesday or Thursday, so for the exorbitant rate of $40 A DAY plus $10 per guy per day to the yard, Ole hired them to scrape and paint, and polish stainless. He opted to stay out one more day, getting back into the water smoothly on Saturday, finding no major surprises.

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