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In a Bahamian Boatyard After the Storm and During the Pandemic T By John Herlig
he roosters start early, around perhaps four, first a faint call from far away followed by responses closer by until they reach a cacophonous peak from which they fade away. I know that soon they will start again. From the east I can hear the Atlantic Ocean thumping rhythmically on the beach, slow and gentle rolling waves that add a soft percussion to the sounds of the dawn. It takes a good 15 or 20 minutes of turning this way and that before I decide
that nothing hurts badly enough to merit staying in bed, that the dull thumping in my shoulders and the foggy process in my head will fade with movement and coffee, so I pull on the pair of work shorts that live nightly at the foot of my yoga mat, unzip the tent door, and greet the day.
My tent is under the graceful sheer of a Pearson Invicta that holds, also, half of the tarp that is my shade, and shade is important
on this island. It hasn’t rained in three weeks, and the midday sun is beautifully brutal. In a pitiful attempt to keep sand out, my flip flops are on the rug outside the tent door, beaten and stained from wear during weeks of boat work in the yard. But they are what I have, and I wear them for the short walk to the ladder that is tied off to the gallows on Ave Del Mar, a 1967 Rawson 30 cutter, my home, where they are kicked off again on a rug at the ladder’s base. Morning coffee in the cockpit of the boat is a particular luxury. Three weeks ago, when I first arrived together with my friend Benjamin to attempt repairs to the damage inflicted to my boat by hurricane Dorian, we plucked the galley stove from its brackets and dragged it outside to live atop the lazarette in order to gain access to the gaping hole that loomed behind it in Ave’s hull. Snack foods became meals, and coffee happened thanks only to an SpinSheet.com May 2020 47