They are the most tenacious, toxic, cuss-inspiring, skin-tight bottom huggers in existence. We care a lot about this old gal, and we want her to stick around for a while, so we decided to buy her some new, very fancy, pants*.
*PANTS: noun, plural, consisting of two parts: 1. two-part epoxy barrier coat in four pricey layers; essentially an enormous condom sealing her fiberglass hide from any water penetration. 2. two outer layers of even more pricey anti-fouling pants; a very special kind of pants designed to fall off (no kidding!) when barnacles and sea algae attempt to colonize upon them. Usually these pants are made with copper, but we care about the oceans goddammit, so we sprung for the modern eco pants with who knows what (angel tears and starfish sperm, probably) instead of copper.
Her old trousers were hanging in there, but epoxy pants provide super protection against nasty blisters that apparently occur especially in warm waters, which is where we hope to voyage. Or so our surveyor, Barnaby (I did not make up that name), informed us. Would you not trust a distinguished fellow with an English accent named Barnaby Blatch? Exactly.
Before putting on new pants, guess what? Yeah. We had to take off her old ones. There are a few ways to do this: 1. Have a dragon burn them off with flame-breath. 2. Pay a magician. 3. The old-fashioned way: muscles, tools, and GOOP*. Being able-bodied youngsters, and also being on a budget tighter than those aforementioned pants, we figured we could opt for #3. Her old pants were chunky layers of ablative paint. Parts of it chip off like a breeze. The rest comes off like the devil from his pitchfork. We thought it would take a few days. We did not think it would take three weeks and years off of our lives. DON'T EVER DO THIS. Pay the magician. They're called soda blasters.
Now we know.
C & I arrived with an arsenal of scrapers, youtube tutorials, chemical goop and snowy white tyvek suits. Mine fit like a glove, being a svelte size XL, and with my respirator let me tell you I was walking hot sauce. We went to town, really throwing our backs into it, and soon came to realize what we were up against. Had it not been for our naive and jubilant love, six-packs of semi-cold beer, and a blessed visit from my little brother along with his muscles and good attitude, we probably would be dead, and you'd be mourning our loss instead of perusing this riveting blog post.
*GOOP: Sticky slug guts designed to be thickly applied in drippy droopy gobs in order to gnaw their chemically way through old paint, turning it into sloppy, putrid, vividly pigmented paint slime.
Persevere we did, racing the impending rain to apply her new pants in all their technicolor dreamcoat layers, finishing at a rather scanty last hour, plopping our butts back into Tortuga*, and driving blearily back to Rockaway.
*TORTUGA: noun: our truck: A '94 Ford Ranger. He's slow and steady, with a shell on his back and a bench-seated interior the color of dried Mexican salsa.
Next up: Her new tail arrives from Florida!