A little gem of wisdom coming from Mark Schooling - owner of
Gondola Paradiso in Oxnard, California:
"Gondoliers stay on top of the gondola.
Gondola owners go IN the gondola"
Truer words were never spoken.
At first you think there might one day be a single reason to crawl up into the bow or stern of a gondola, but sooner or later you begin to realize that there are innumerable instances where you must perform this contortion.
They often present themselves when it's hot,
and the sun has turned the space you're entering into an oven.
The other day Mark sent me these photos - taken during a seam-filling adventure he'd undertaken.
Here's a shot from under the deck:
I think the roll of blue masking tape on the chest is a nice touch.
The next day, sure enough, I found myself needing to repair a running light in the bow of one of my gondolas.
It's times like these where I question the placement of running lights.
I wonder why the idiot who installed them, placed them so far forward.
Then I remember that the idiot who installed them...was me.
When you find yourself jammed up into the narrow tip of a gondola,
Sometimes you can get grouchy.
You're squirming uncomfortably,
and discovering that if you drop one shoulder behind you,
then you'll be able to wiggle up even further... but then,
you'll have to perform your task with only one hand.
Even on the sunniest day, if you go far enough into the boat,
your body will effectively block the light from getting into the space
where you need to perform your task.
Trust me - bring a light.
You're sweaty, there's a hull frame jamming into your rib cage,
and right about then someone stomps down the float-dock - shaking and rocking your gondola all over the place.
In this "perfect storm of frustration", it's important to keep your cool.
Oh sure, you can get angry, just do your best to channel that anger.
Grab your crimping tool, reach way the heck up there,
and pinch the living daylights out of whatever it is you crawled your sorry self up there to pinch.
It should look something like this:
In case you were wondering,
Yes, I just described my "IN the boat" experience from the other day.
I sincerely hope that Mark's was less painful.
Cheers to Mark in Oxnard, and all the other gondola owners out there,
who have put themselves in painful positions to serve their beloved boats.