Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On Wasp Queens, 1970s Pharmaceuticals and Structural Moss

Hayden here...

I didn’t learn much about boating yesterday, despite spending several hours in and on an actual boat. I guess you could say that I’m far enough along in Cape Dory 101 to follow simple instructions like “put the FENDERS in the LAZARETTE,” but the mechanical and nautical terms still often escape me. Further, I’m simply not genetically programmed to be passionate about “torque.” But I’m trying.

Here’s how I earned my keep:

1. I successfully identified our new boat as a condominium development for the area’s wasp population. Not WASPs, mind you—those I understand. I’m talking about the insects. They love our boat, and their queen established herself in one of the STARBOARD (we’re nautical now, baby) storage areas. Thanks to a spray that apparently short-circuits wasp brainstems, I think we’ve rid ourselves of that particular queen and her colony.

2. I also rid the interior of a collection of cobwebs and detritus by commandeering a rag and a bucket full of boat soap from the V-BERTH to the GALLEY. Among the treasures I found in my cleansing pursuits? A container of mysterious white capsules, each with the imprint P42. These are clearly not Tylenol, but I fear that we’ll know neither the original prescription nor the current street value of said 1970s pharmaceuticals, since the whole batch wound up in one of the bags destined for Archie’s next dump-run.

3. In the process of unburdening the LIFE LINE of the eyesore that was its safety netting, I encountered organic material that appeared to be more structurally valuable to the boat than the mottled and decomposing epoxy that the manual claims keeps the whole thing afloat. GVB’s subsequent pressure-washing of the DECK (does it still count as “swabbing” when the mechanical advantage is so overwhelming??) revealed that the moss and decay had made its stand even in areas invisible to the naked eye… Now that it’s all washed away, I hope the HULL is intact when we make it back for our next visit!

A side note: In boat renovation, ladders are great, but stairs are better. The materials list for the spiral staircase has been generated, and the stairs themselves will probably miraculously appear by summer.


  1. After intensive research and inquiry (also known as using "The Google"), I am sorry to report that the mysterious P42 pills are nothing more than 200mg Ibuprofen. Generics, naturally. Street value very low.

  2. Well, that's a relief. Though it does evaporate some of Darvin's street cred.