Monday, October 15, 2012

Some assembly required; batteries not included

Virginia poses on the deck of Oceanus before another marathon painting session.

It was a few weeks between the time I told Keith I wanted Oceanus before he was able to contact the owner. Jason had a rare form of cancer, literally a one-in-a-million case, and went to Spokane, Wash., to receive treatment. The primary treatment was a 22-hour operation where the cancerous parts of gut were removed and the adjacent areas treated with chemo. Understandably, Keith didn't want to bother him until he felt better. I was content to wait.

While I waited, I took my vacuum to the boat and cleaned her from stem to stern. It needed to be done and was a good way to get to know the boat. I thought Jason would appreciate it whether I bought the boat or not. I also strapped on my scuba tank and dove on the boat with a scrub brush in hand. I came to know Oceanus' shapely bottom intimately as I knocked off barnacles, mussels and scrubbed away a thick coat of algae. Below the waterline the hull was smooth and looked good to me, especially considering it hadn't been hauled out in at least five years.

After an exchange of phone calls, the day finally came when my wife and I could meet Jason and buy Oceanus. I came with a check in my pocket and trepidation: After such a life-altering event with a prognosis that was uncertain at best, would Jason be sullen or clinically depressed? Would selling the boat he worked so hard on be a relief or a tragedy for him?
Oceanus with the Yaquina Bay Bridge in the background.

But the old adage was true for both of us; it was a happy day for the buyer and the seller. Jason seemed pleased to have one less thing to worry about. He also had a great attitude about his illness and future -- realistic, but confident. He answered all my questions about the boat and, best of all, assured me he would answer any questions in the future. A lifetime consultancy -- I couldn't have asked for better.

We then went to his home where four pickup loads of parts, pieces and wood awaited us. Some of the parts were things Jason removed from Oceanus, some were new and some he picked up on Craig's list. It was a treasure trove of fasteners and marine hardware. He also had copies of the original owner's manuals and boat documentation.

A few weeks later as my wife and I looked at the boxes and boxes of stuff, I said, "Columbia 43 -- some assembly required, batteries not included." We both laughed. This will be a lot of work.