The decks are scrubbed, the topsides are washed down, and the bootstripe is re-painted. But these are just the first three things on a list that is two pages long before we re-splash in two weeks. At least the guys in the yard can get back to work on the second coat of bottom paint while we work the rest of the list.
Below deck, we replaced the 25-year old diesel fuel tank over the winter. It was nice to return to the boat in Marmaris, Turkey and find that Demir Marine had done an outstanding job removing the old one and installing the new ones. We weren’t having any trouble with the original, mild steel version except that it was showing signs of its age, especially where the boat builder had fiberglassed the tank to the hull. We learned that this is the worst thing you can do to mild steel, which is otherwise a perfectly suitable material for the job, because it seals it off from the air. In Gyatso’s case, the 90 gallon tank was literally rusting underneath and along these fiberglass seams, from the outside in.
To say we touched the shores of five different countries on three continents during the 2009 cruising season sounds like a lot, but while we were underway, it just felt like we were slowly island hopping our way from Italy to Turkey. What was impressive is that this year’s cruising grounds happened to take us through the crossroads of the eastern and western basins of the Mediterranean Sea and across the cultural divide between Europe and Africa, and Christianity and Islam.