Updated: Oct 8
Noun A marine crustacean with an external shell, which attaches itself permanently to a variety of surfaces. Barnacles feed by filtering particles from the water using their modified feathery legs.
Attach to a ‘variety of surfaces’ such as Kuma Too! Depending on location/geography and temperature of the water, the amount of growth on the hulls vary, but every month we suit up and clean Kuma Too’s bottom.
The Intracoastal outside of Dunedin, where Kuma lives, can be too rough with tide changes or boat wake and poor visibility, so the first step to cleaning the hulls is to move the boat. We move to the basin outside of Clearwater Yacht Club or off Caladesi Island depending on tides, current, and wind. It’s always a weekday because there is less wake from boat traffic; wake can be dangerous when we’re under the hulls of a 60-ton vessel.
We motor Kuma to our chosen location of the day and hoist the divers down flags. I use plural, flags, because we raise the US red and white flag and the international code Alpha flag which is blue and white. It takes another hour to get our gear set up. A tub full of scrapers, scotch bright pads, brushes, and screwdrivers is unloaded on deck. Depending on the time of year, we may or may not wear wetsuits, but we always have on rash guards. Joe dons scuba diving gear while I grab my mask and snorkel. Barnacles are like little bugs/worms that swim free once we scrape the shells off the hull, so we put on gloves to prevent scratching our hands on the shells and earplugs to keep the worms out of our ears. Then we jump in!
With a snorkel, I swim along the waterline brushing and scraping as deep as I can reach. The bottom paint is designed to brush off, so it releases a blue cloud into the water as we go. Joe starts at the bottom chipping away the barnacle shells from the keels and props while cleaning the transducers and thru-hulls. The bridle (line that connects to the anchor chain) also gets freed of any growth.
After about 3-hours, we emerge for a refreshing freshwater shower, as we rinse the gear. Both Joe and I are COVERED in barnacle worms! We take turns brushing and hosing each other off. All the equipment is laid out to dry, and we head back to Dunedin.
After an 8-hour day like this, we reflect on our prior office jobs and know we've made the right life choice for us. ️To learn about charters on board Kuma Too, visit www.SailingKumaToo.com
Until next week, Happy Sailing!