Shop Sitting

Having space to lay out our projects is a rare opportunity for us. When you live aboard, your home is your workshop until you turn it back into your home and vice versa. It’s a dynamic we’ve long since learned to live with, but it does mean that set-up time and clean-up time eat into project time pretty intensely. Our friends Nancy and Glen are ex-pats living here on Ilha Terceira, Azores, Portugal. They are in the process of shutting down their lives in the US after six years of establishing residency and building a house with an incredible workshop here on the island. They had a whole bunch of family and property to deal with back in the states, so we’re house-sitting–or rather, shop-sitting–while they wrap things up back there on the crazy continent. I (James) say shop-sitting because, well… We’re taking care of the house and checking the mail as well, but it’s not even tempting to sleep over. My (Dena’s) dad came to visit and he did the cleanup when a northerly bearing torrential rain flooded under the old front door and the living room became a shallow lake. It is good to have someone looking in on things, if not staying full time. The place is absolutely beautiful with a breathtaking view but Glen and Nancy are boat people. So of course we fell in love with that workshop! We made a list, like you do, of all the priority project that we absolutely had to get done while we had this totally awesome opportunity. What requires shelter from the almost-incessant winter rains and benefits from easy use of power tools? At the top of the long term wish-list was the dinghy sailing rig. …and let me (James) tell you, that shit was fucked up! We[…]

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The seasons

One of my most profound memories about Hawaii is the absolute lack of seasons the year we were there. I mean, I (James) understand that “season” might mean a different thing in the middle of the Pacific flow at 18 degrees north, and I might not have been particularly attuned to Hawaiian seasonal change given the fact that I was all involved in survival of the wage-slave fittest the entire time I was there. It was 80 degrees Fahrenheit every day we were there and seventy-something every night. I stopped giving a shit about the weather after a while which (I know) is a little weird for a sailor. It’s not like that here on the other side of Earth in the Atlantic flow. We have some serious season-age here in the Azores for sure! Change is dramatic and obvious on every level. The ocean rolls in with a vengeance some days like it was actually pissed off at you. The banshees in the marina cry and mourn with the modulation of the cyclonic winds spinning off into the Atlantic flow like a pair of googly-eyes. The island of Terceira is an incredible environment with obvious active change going on around us constantly. It’s tiny and grand at the same time. It’s completely exposed to the angry winds from the northeast and the protection we get from the southwest is restricted to the shadow cast by a volcano (Pico) about 96km from us. That huge mountain shatters the winds that come over the Atlantic so by the time they get to us here in Praia da Vitoria they’re kicked up with a kind of confused fury. And then there’s the fact that this is an active volcanic zone. Yeah, that means earthquakes sometimes like the 5.6 quake we got the[…]

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