We had our doubts. So much so, that we were lazing around on Monday morning drinking coffee and catching up with Andrew’s parents on FaceTime when suddenly we hear voices beneath Sonrisa’s hull and the sound of a loader firing up. As the yard growled to life, it could only mean one thing: they are putting us in the water…now!
We hang up on Andrew’s parents rather abruptly, scramble around to secure last night’s wine glasses, and try to figure out what the most important thing is to put where. Then we are beckoned outside because they can’t have us on the boat during this initial process.
“Guys, just get off! Go, GO! I’ll be fine. I know what I’m doing…come on, guys! GET OFF!” Sonrisa was raring to go. She was shivering with excitement.
So, we climbed down the ladder and stood by to watch. Sonrisa is perched on eight stands that look like almost like giant car jacks. Joe backs the giant trailer from the big yellow loader while Alan directs him back. Two men release two side stands at a time, and the trailer is backed a little further until it is in place. Straps are looped below Sonrisa’s keel. Joe relocates from the loader, and adjusts the trailer controls while sitting on the grass between the two beams of the trailer. He looks like he is playing a large, seventies vintage video game.
Pretty soon, Sonrisa is perched in the trailer and the crew pulls her out of the spot she has rested for the last six months. She lumbers over land, rocking erratically with the bumps, not at all like the rhythm of being at sea. She rides a two point turn to be settled in at the top of the ramp until high tide arrives.
“Grin! Grin! Hi! Can you see me, Grin! Look, Hi! I’m almost in!!!” If she had arms, she would be waiving them above her head to get his attention.
Grin and Kitty, who have been spending nights alone at the bottom of the ramp, perked up at hearing Grin’s name. Everyone is excited to get back to normal.
Andrew and I finish getting Sonrisa ready to sail away, with enough time to spare for me to take one last, cold yard shower. Soon, the second loader chugs through the yard and attaches itself to the first loader (Sonrisa needs two loaders to safely go down the ramp because she is “curvaceous”.)
As we slowly back down the ramp, Sonrisa can see Archie and Emmy (Captains for one of her catamaran friends) standing at the top of the ramp watching. We stop near the edge of the waterfor a few seconds. Tiny little waves lap onto the boat ramp, tantalizing Sonrisa who is now beside herself with anticipation.
We back into the water and the crew instruct us to fire up her engine. Now it’s time for my show. After a six months driving hiatus, I have to back her straight off the trailer without hitting any coral baumies. I try to predict how her bow will react to the current flowing out of the river to our port side while we turn on the engine and wait for Sonrisa’s cooling system to start spitting out sea water. As we lean over her side deck, we find a gecko looking up at us a bit unnerved that he is now over sea instead of over land. Soon, everything is ready and we give Joe and the crew the sign we are “all go”!
They release us, and I back us all away. Sonrirsa heads backward straight and true. We get to the deep part of the bay and she hovers easily in place while Andrew and Joe complete a swap with Grin. Then, we are off! Sonrisa throws a bow wake in her trail, and sea breeze rustles her rigging. We slip a mooring rope over her cleat without the least marital discord and settle in to confirm all systems are working properly in the water. Sonrisa sits with a contented smile, already knowing that they are.
That night, we finally feel completely at home. We are back to cooking in her galley. If I need to use the restroom at night, I don’t have to hike 500 yards anywhere, and best of all, I can enjoy my bucket shower in her cockpit, under the stars. Happy, happy, joy, joy.
P.S. As hoped, the movement of the halyards on our trip from the yard to the mooring field “inspired” the bees to evacuate the mast. Things were touch and go when they relocated to the open salon hatch, but as of this morning all of the stragglers have moved on. We are bee-free!