A special place

"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, it is a special place where I spend my afternoon."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hat's off to Noah!

 Back in October, the Maritime Museum, in Apalachicola, was offering a class on how to build a boat. You would learn how to build it, and then take your boat home when you
finished. It sounded interesting. So, after finding out a little more about it, like what kind of boat they were going to teach you how to build,  I signed up.

The Maritime Museum
    The Maritime Museum has been a part of Apalachicola for years, but with poor maintenance and a lack of funds, it had to close it's doors in 2004.  Quietly existing down on Water Street, the museum shows off antique outboard motors, some nautical artifacts, a large board displaying  different  knots used by sailors, and information about ships that have sunk or gotten lost at sea. And now that the museum has reopened, it's offering more than just things to look at. Now, people have a chance to get actively involved with Apalachicola's maritime history.

George Floyd and his first mate
   The museum was established in 1995 with the goal being to allow people to learn about the richness of Apalachicola's nautical past by displaying artifacts that were generously donated. Now, because of the dedication, and financial generosity of a hometown boy, the museum has reopened  it's doors and is quickly becoming a main attraction in Apalachicola. Not only is the museum a place people can visit, but it's offering activities that visitors and residents alike can get involved in.   

    The man with the vision is George Floyd. George's family has been a part of the area for over 100 years. So after traveling around the world, he's come home to give back to the community and make the museum something special.

"Let's build a boat"
   George is passionate about the area's history and rich nautical past and he's dedicated to making the museum a historical treasure for Apalachicola. Building boats will be at the top of the list of  projects the museum will have. (John and I were in the first boat building class that was  offered) Kayaks, sail boats, and paddle boards are a few of the boats they'll teach you how to build. Eco-tours, seminars about the area's past, camping trips on the rivers, and restoring historic sea vessels, are some of the other programs getting people interested in the museum again.  

   The boat we have built is called a pirogue.(pronounced peero) Otherwise known as the "six hour canoe". Now, if you're a boat builder and have experience building this particular boat, you might be able to put one together in six hours. But as it turned out, not even the two days they had planned for some landlubbers to build it, was enough! It wasn't just our inexperience that slowed us down, but a couple days of bad weather set us back as well.
Ron and Ann
   There were two groups of us building this boat. Ann and her sons were in one group. John and I were in the other. With his experience in carpentry, John was a great partner.to have.
   Ron Dierolf is the instructor. Building boats has always been his passion, and he feels fortunate to be doing what he loves. Ron's assistant, Jep, works at the museum too, and lent a hand with constructing both boats.

John and Jep measuring the sides of the frame


     There were no kits for these boats. We started with two pieces of plywood.  We measured, marked, cut, and assembled every piece.

    Day two was the longest day. That was the day to assemble all the pieces and watch it become a three dimensional boat. The hulls were joined at the bow and the stern, the bottom was installed, the stems and the frame were trimmed. We had a boat that looked ready for the water but was not nearly finished.
   The final steps involved  filling any voids in the wood with epoxy and a lot of sanding. We then covered the entire boat with epoxy and after more sanding was ready to be painted. 
   In order to keep your attention, I tried to shorten the process of building this boat. It wasn't nearly as easy as it may have sounded. But if I were to talk about installing the chine logs, or bonding the stems to the hull sides, all the sanding, nailing, epoxying, and every other step in between, I'd be writing this for another week.
   We covered the whole boat with a thick layer of  epoxy, and we brought it home yesterday. Now all it needs is an artistic paint job. ( I'd love some ideas. No earth tones and no pastels. Something wild and crazy!)
   This has been a great experience. And since I'm living on the water, it's good to know more about a boat than the bow's in the front, the stern's in the back.
   The next class the museum is offering is how to build a sailboat. We had a lot of people stop by to see how we were  progressing on the pirogue. I'll be one of those people stopping by while they're building the sailboat.
   I'll be sure to post an update when the pirogue is painted and floating on the bay with my two friends and me on board. With Woody at the bow, showing us the way and Ray at the stern making sure we didn't miss anything, in the words of Jimmy Buffet, "It'll be a lovely cruise".              

The "pirogue"
All that's needed now is a coat of paint



1 comment: