The Mexican Navy, besides being the country's maritime military, also serves the same function as the US Coast Guard, rescuing distressed vessels, pursuing drug traffickers at sea, and protecting offshore oil wells.
Helicopters are thundering over San Carlos, the resort 'burb of Guaymas, and a big townwide cleanup is planned for the day before, to impress Calderon with our civic pride.
The Capt sports a paper suit, head stocking and gloves, plus a respirator mask when he's painting, in 95+ degree heat. Note the dinghy behind him: that's going to need painting, too.
Pride and desperation is what's keeping us at the boat painting project, eight weeks after we started, eons after we lost enthusiasm for the project. It doesn't usually take this long to paint a boat, even a 33-footer, but we have never done this before, we haven't hired Mexican labor, and we're going by trial and error, with the expected mishaps. Gale-force winds most afternoons have slowed us down a little, too.
My responsibilities have been masking, a little sanding, and mixing paint. The masking often feels like giftwrapping, minus the fancy ribbon, and now that I've finished it does look a little giftwrapped, in a funky way. The gale-force winds managed to rip away about a quarter of my work, so the Capt invented a roller device so I could press the tape down more firmly.
Mixing is required because we're using white gelcoat, half-and-half with monomer (a purple liquid that always makes me think of Jim Jones' grape Koolaid), with a few drops of catalyst added just before it's poured into the sprayer. The morning sun is merciless in May, but in my paint-smeared shorts and tank-top, I can catch an occasional breeze. In his paper suit and a full face mask, the Capt feels like he's wearing a portable sauna. Since we're paying the boatyard by the day, he hasn't missed a day on the job since the beginning of April. He gets tired and cranky, but he perseveres.
This week we might actually finish, at least enough to put her back in the anchorage where she belongs. I can't wait to take photos of her, gleaming white in the water. Carlos Slim and the whole Mexican navy couldn't be any prouder.