Now That’s the Old Black Bottom Dance

Big day at the boatyard.

Otis, marine biologist at OIST, comes down to help.


He has the right gear, like a boiler suit.

We spend the morning sanding the bottom of the boat. We hear the thunder of the Harley and Kiyano san arrives.

He explains that during the night! he has looked at my center plate locking pin problem. I had imagined this pin to be a big steel bolt thing, but Kiyano san, who is so far above me in all things mechanical, identifies it as a big split pin.


This is a split pin.

He explains that the split pin’s reluctance to being withdrawn is not because of corrosion but because of bent-ness. As the boat was lowered onto the original trailer in January, the whole weight of the boat came onto the center plate, forcing it upwards and so bending the retaining pin.

I have worked alongside many amazing people, including lots of Nobelists, but Kiyano san stands shoulder to shoulder with these.

He says, ” Dai Jo bou, Neil san, I will make special tool and pull out pin . Tomorrow center plate come down.”

Friends are good.

Anyway, Otis and I finish the sanding and overall preparation of the boat’s bottom. This has been a long and hard job.

Of course the, ‘why bother’ question  comes back. Why bother scraping and sanding the bottom of a boat that nobody will ever see? I blame my parents.


Otis paints, as Mike, one of the boatyard buddies, looks on.

Anti fouling paint in Okinawa is black. I have scraped and sanded off multiple coats of red and blue paint from early lives, but if you want to fit in in Okinawa, then it is the black bottom.



So, what a great day! Kiyano san can fix the center plate and Otis and I paint the bottom of the boat black.

IMG_0722 (1).jpg

Hop down front then doodle back [doodle means “slide”]
Mooch to your left then mooch to the right
Hands on your hips and do the mess around,
Break a leg until you’re near the ground [break a leg is a hobbling step]
Now that’s the old black bottom dance

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