I woke the next morning to clear skies and a breeze strong enough to blow out the surf. After a strong cup of coffee, I lowered my bag of epoxy supplies, rollers and brushes, latex gloves, and acetone down to ground level. I was pleased to find my scaffolding from the day before hadn’t yet been seized. The first batch of epoxy was mixed, 5 to 1 ratio.
Starting at the bow I rolled on a thin coat and then smoothed out the bubbles with a dry brush, working my way down the waterline on the scaffolding, around the other side, and then around again from ground level to hit each blister patch, and finally the rudder. When the batch got too hot and thick, I’d pour the excess onto the funky fiberglass ‘wave’ that I’m building from any leftovers and scraps, and then go mix a new batch.
Up and down and around and around. After finishing a full coat, I’d start back at the beginning again, working my way like this through the day. I took a quick break at lunch, grabbing some food and ten minutes of shut-eye on a steel beam in the shade.
As the 4th coat went on, my right arm pained and weakened. I thought of the paddlers in the Havaikinui paddle race, a strenuous three-day ourigger paddle between the Society chain that was happening this week.
“This is my Havaikinui,” I thought, and kept on rolling…
The sun seared the back of my legs into the afternoon, but the 5th coat went on just before dusk. Cesar showed up to check my progress just as I rolled over the last patches.
“Five is sufficient,” he said, peeling an orange and handing me half.
I put down my roller with relief and sat next to him on the scaffolding, looking up at the shiny strip and blotches all over Swell.
“Technically”, I declared with a smile, “she’s water tight now!” And munched orange slivers from my epoxy-covered fingers.