Kim and I have combed through a lot of wreckage in our time. We’ve found wrecks washed up on beaches and discovered them tangled in jungle vines. We’ve found them torn open and soaking on tropical reefs. We’re never anything, but completely amazed at the amount of heartache that’s left washed up on the shore.
It’s an emotional event encountering someone’s abandoned dream laid out on the rocks like a mutilated fairy tale. You’re immediately washed over by the horror of how the owners must have suffered. Just as fantastical are the emotions that follow as you’re left pondering what amounts to a pile of boat loot, forgotten and bleaching in the sun. Sparkling stainless, heavy bronze and graceful cuts of mahogany lay splayed out in the sand – waiting for your needful purchase.
When you mess up, or the shit hits the fan, or when you’ve had enough and all you can do is walk away, a trail of pain and treasure lingers in your wake. There is a lot of it out there. I remember reading on a boat building forum once that if a person was patient enough, they could collect enough equipment from castaway parts to outfit an entire boat. It’s probably not the most efficient way to go about building a boat, and according to the tired old lore, Neptune doesn’t approve. On a more practical level, however, it’s hard to turn away from free loot. So far, despite all that we’ve piled aboard, the Kraken hasn’t paid us a visit.
Back here in the so called First World, there are no shortage of wrecks either. When you come upon one, however, you can’t just grab your tools and tear into it. Usually, a long trail of invisible pain is bobbing in its wake. There are insurance adjusters busy dragging their feet toward mediation. Sometimes local townships are busy calculating environmental infractions. Occasionally the police are lurking – ready to hand anyone involved a ticket. The pickings are slim.
We haven’t been camping out on any remote reefs for longer than I care to admit, and yet the latest renovations we’ve taken on with our dream boat have driven an insatiable need for more boat treasure. New boat gear is expensive, and a lot of times it’s not even as good as the old stuff. Fortunately, despite the slim pickings, bargain solutions do exist.
Last year when we began the demolition and reconstruction of our boats interior – mainly to include an indoor shower and heat – we were determined to find a way to make it affordable. An affordable source of marine plywood, it turns out, does not exist. Well, not in our budget anyways. Thankfully, it was with perfect timing that a 36 foot Nonsuch sailboat arrived at our local resale shop fresh off the rocks from the St. Augustine Inlet. Steve, the owner of the shop, gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse on all of the teak finished bulkheads. The only catch was that we had to cut them out ourselves, so I brought some tools over and tore into it, just like if we had discovered the thing laying on a beach in some exotic locale.
Lately, the folks at Monkey’s Fist have been hard at work salvaging boats destroyed by Hurricane Matthew. In case you haven’t heard, the owner and some of his help have suffered a wicked boating ordeal of their own. There was a gasoline explosion on one of their own boats and it took three other boats with it. Steve and Randy were severely burned in the accident and as of this writing are both awaiting surgery in the burn center.
If you’d like to help, we’ve created a Gofundme campaign for Randy, who is our neighbor in our marina and you can contribute HERE. This is the busiest season for boating in Florida and Steve will certainly be faced with some serious challenges even after he recovers. If you would like to support Steve’s business, Monkey’s Fist sells new and used boating equipment online HERE.
It was nice to see that a lot of folks have come forward to help out where they can. Thanks for your support.
Scott & Kim