We have to get up early on Monday morning. At 9 o'clock we have the appointment to slip the boat. The nautical map does not explain the way to Varadero, it simply shows a non-mapped area under which large stones are supposed to be hidden. The others make it to Varadero too, so we give it a try and are almost never less than three meters deep. That calms you down. The heavy rain that suddenly set in and completely soaked us both is less reassuring.
A clean buoy line greets us at the direct access to the marina. The employee who looks after us at the radio gives us precise instructions when and where to enter the buoyed area and emphasizes several times that we should never leave the center. We don’t. We'll bring Sissi safely to the slipway.
When the rain stops, a couple of shipyard workers appear, who first maneuver Sissi onto the wagon. When it rains, Aruba generally does not work, at least not if the worker could get wet. They work routinely and make sure that the ship is raised straight.
Then the load slowly starts to move and more and more of the underside becomes visible. The boat looks better than you would expect after nine months in port.
A large part of the growth can be removed with the high-pressure cleaner. The old paint is also partly washed off. It looks like Sissi is bleeding.
While Sissi is being pushed to her future parking lot, I am delighted to see who our neighbors are - Jo and Stewart from the Patronus. We chat briefly, they've been here for two weeks, waiting for their paint job to be finished. Since both are over 70 years old, they don't do the work themselves, but let the shipyard do it. This takes a while.
It's raining heavily again, we're still waiting for the car that will take us to the Donkey Sanctuary. We live there while we work. I realize that we are totally dependent on the weather. If it rains while painting, the paint ends up where we don't want it.
Upon arrival at Donkey Sanctuary, Desiree informs us that we have to share the apartment and car with Lucas and Marcin. They come from Sweden and Poland, are a little older than 20 and work as volunteers in various parts of the island. An EU program brought them to Aruba that European solidarity corps. It belongs to Erasmus and was completely unknown to me.
In the next few days we always drive Marcin and Lucas to their place of work before we go to the boat ourselves. This way we have the car available the whole day, otherwise it would just be standing around.
Grinding is a dirty job. The old antifouling is a very soft color that on the one hand generates an incredible amount of toxic dust and on the other hand sticks the sanding sheets after a few minutes. I have already written about the immense consumption of grinding wheels.
We were lucky enough to finish this dirty job in three days. After several discussions with Stewart, we decide to paint the new antifouling a few centimeters higher and let it stick out of the water. This is where it is most needed because the heaviest vegetation is always on the waterline.
Tuesday to Thursday we were busy with the sanding, on Friday we could then paint the first coat. The strip that will later look out of the water is given a barrier coat. We use the trolley as a mobile work platform. The marina forbids us to do this later. I feel very Aruban. Sitting at the wheel and Jens every now and then rolling a meter further. So we are ready very early on Friday and can go to our donkeys. We take the weekend off for tourist purposes.