Val was busy all morning, finishing off sewing a patch to the sail. Heavy, hard work. Dave gave me another painting commission to do, Maltese Crosses (my 4th + 5th) on either side of the canoe. I’ve become fairly proficient at them by now. When I finished, I took a trip into town, to buy a 2nd pair of tennis shoes – a best pair – to post some cards, and buy some knives for Dave. He is endlessly fascinated by weapons of any kind, even tho’ he already has a stack of them.
Lunch, and then the big project of the day. At last, we were going to put the mast up. Bill, a black guy at the club, and Buddy, and Roberto, were all coming along with us, so we had plenty of manpower. Plus Ed Kirby – our next door neighbour – was taking his boat down at the same time, so additional help there. They left first, and we followed close behind. Not a long journey – just a couple of hundred yards along to the industrial division of the Canal Commission, where Dave and Ed had worked out some sort of deal for an hour or two’s use of a crane + labour. First problem tho’ was a distinct lack of space to tie up, but we managed it pretty well (tho’ I did get mildly bawled out for not reacting fast enough when we pulled in next to Ed – the trouble being I haven’t been on boats enough to know instinctively what to do.) Erecting the mast was relatively easy – a huge crane came along, picked up one end of our mast, and we used all our available manpower to walk the other end down to its hole, where it was dropped in, and then wiggled some. It was tied down then, as best as possible (Bill climbed the mast to tie on the ropes) then a smooth sail home to start the celebrations – champagne, then a shrimp supper. (I didn’t think much of it – ever since my Seattle experience, seafood leaves me cold.)
Real progress today, with the hope that it pushes us that much closer to a departure date. Interesting comment on the seafood – I have long thought (and claimed) that my seafood allergy began in Seattle, and that since then I have not been able to encounter it without throwing up. But we have come across numerous examples since Seattle – Zipolite, here – where I have managed it without serious reaction. Maybe I’m not allergic after all… though I do seem to be.