Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Atlantis

I'm now living and working on a 100 year old wooden sailboat named the Atlantis. We're tucked away in a wooded cove on the other side of Baltimore Bay. Baltimore is a gorgeous semiposh seaside sailing village at the very southwest tip of Ireland's coast. The Atlantis set sail 18 years ago on a voyage from a commune in Donegal Ireland to a commune in Columbia South America but was caught in a horrific storm off Fastnet Rock and was saved and brought to the quiet cove of Church Strand, Baltimore, where she's laid ever since. We're in the process of restoring the massive 50ft wooden boat and having it seaworthy within a year. Lots to be done but all is going well. If any of you remember from my blog about 2 months ago I was actually planning on joining the boat back then. I just wasn't ready to leave the farm yet.
Living on the boat is good life. We have an old iron wood-oven in the main cabin with a chimney out the top, I go out everyday and collect wood along the beach for the cold evenings. I wake up in the morning, climb out of my bunk, put more wood in the furnace, climb up on deck and have a cup of tea while the salty sea breeze and wood smoke blows through me and throughout the cove.
The field down to the cove


Baltimore

I've spent my days hammering the rust off a massive old anchor then scraping it down with a wire brush, polishing it and painting it with iron paint. Grease all the gears of the anchor winch, helm, steering mechanism, clean and pump the bilges down in the belly, scrubbing the deck, and oiling down the wood planks. Sometimes after a long day of work in the sun we go swimming at Loch Hyne. It's a fresh water lake that connects to the sea so it's nice and cold and salty. Its absolutely freezing but numbingly refreshing.

The owner has been out of town alot so it's just been me and the boat, we've gotten to know eachother pretty well. I love the seclusion, the sea breeze, sounds of the seagulls and sparrows, fish splashing in the water beside the boat. It's a peaceful place to live and half the time it doesn't even seem like work.
Made a friend on the way home the other night. I was walking back from the village and was about half way when I heard small quick footsteps behind me. I stopped and turned around to see a big golden Lab following behind me. She's wagging her tail and comes right up to me. It had been raining all evening and she was soaked. I said hello, scratched her head and went on my way down the trail, over the electric fences and through the field down to the boat. I was just about to the boat when I hear some excited barking at the top of the hill but think nothing of it. It's a really dark night so I carefully slip onto the boat and down the hatch. I put down my sack of firewood and start preparing for bed when I hear panting and thumping against an oil drum outside. I pop my head out of the hatch to see my friend the golden Lab with her two paws perched on the starboard side, smiling and waiting for permission to come aboard. I immediately wondered how the hell she found her way down here, then realized that barking I heard was her verses the electric fence. Poor girl. She came aboard, I pet her and we hung out for a bit while I brushed my teeth on deck. I said goodnight and jump into my bunk in the aftcabin. She sat down just outside the hatch looking down at me and wined. I could hear her walk around on deck for a while then sit down and howl like a coyote. It was a long soft howl that faded into the late night fog of the cove. I fell fast asleep.
Woke up the next morning to see her looking down the hatch smiling at me. I snapped this shot of her.

She stayed and kept me company all day. There she is in the top photo hanging out with me on deck.

Sometimes I gather my breakfast, toss it in the dingy and row out into the cove and drift around the shipwrecked boats while I lounge in the sun and sea breeze. My lovely host Anne is an all organic vegetarian with a great taste in food. Loads of fresh fruit, hard cheeses, heavy homemade brown breads, an array of fruit and veg juices and homemade herbal teas. I've been eating incredibly well, it's funny how something so simple can make you so satisfied with life. That, and there's nothing like going to sleep with the sounds of the cove and waking up to a sea breeze coming down the hatch.

3 comments:

SEECOY said...

inspiration - truly

Nino said...

Arthur, I am so proud of you! You're living your dream!!!


Come sail over to the Mediterranean, where I will be on the 22nd! I'm in Georgia now, and from the 22nd through the 30th I'll be in Antalya, Turkey, and then from the 30th to the 2nd I'll be on the Black Sea in Georgia.

COME VISIT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

i miss you more than you'd believe!

Arthur Anchors said...

Thanks Nino! Thats so great that youre back in Georgia! I'd love to see you! How long are you going to be in the East? Hope to see you. MISS YOU TOO!