Purgatory begins


Purgatory: (n) a condition of temporary suffering; in Catholic doctrine, a place to purify your sins before going to heaven.

Heaven is a sailboat anchored in a beautiful cove. Hell is a sailboat blown into the rocks. Then there’s purgatory– which is a sailboat undergoing repairs in the boatyard.


We began our first day of purgatory at the Hiva Oa boatyard on June 29, southern Marquesas, chiseling away the delaminated fiberglass under Aldebaran, and ripping away great chunks of its protective skin. 

Wet areas on the wood were now exposed for drying, which we hoped would take three days or less – if the sun was shining. 


Then we pulled out the heavy machinery: 5 inch and 7 inch grinders. The grinders are used to smooth out the fiberglass edges so that new layers have a smooth area for attachment. 

Using grinders on fiberglass is like going skiing in a blizzard. Except the snow falling is terrible plastic dust. We breath heavily through protective face masks in the tropical heat, sweating in full jumpsuits covering every inch of our body, shielding vulnerable parts with gloves, googles, and big ear muffs to tone down the unbearable noise of the grinders. (Yep, we carry all these power tools on Aldebaran… she’s a veritable work-in-progress)


At the very least, the view was inspiring. When it was time to rest the exhausted arms from the heavy machinery, held overhead to sand the roof of the trimaran’s wing, and get a breath of fresh air outside the sweaty face mask, at least we could gaze at an astounding mountain peak that split thick clouds rolling by in dramatic formations. 

  Aldebaran was no longer a boat, but a construction zone, albeit in a scenic spot. Would we have problems finishing the repairs? Would we run out of epoxy resin; would torrential rains prevent us from fiberglassing; would we get stuck here, like so many others in the boatyard reported (due to insufficient expertise, tools, or materials)?? 


The stressful uncertainty hung over us like a dark cloud… and so we embraced the 14 hour workdays with a necessary vengeance, if we were to finish the job in the allocated two weeks. 

P.S. Update… Since we have some wi-fi access at present, we were able to upload more photos for the “Famous Big Tikis” and “Hello Haul Out” posts… check them out and enjoy! (We’re normally only able to upload one photo per post with our satellite internet). 


One thought on “Purgatory begins

  1. This is an extraordinary undertaking and the photographs do wonders conveying the enormous amount of work this necessitates. The dust, the noise, the mess, the temperature must surely collectively be a living hell. I can’t wait to learn of Aldebaran being launched again and underway. There will be cause for great celebration. Until then…my thoughts are with you.

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