The importance of a clean bottom cannot be denied...especially when it comes to a boat.
Racing sailors know this all too well, and cruising sailors usually learn it the hard way; like when they're slogging along the Northern coast of the Dominican Republic pounding into head seas going 2.5 knots after spending ten days in the cesspool that is Luperon wondering "Why are we so damn slow?!?" Well, I'll tell you why you're slow. You've got a virtual aquarium living on the bottom of your boat. Barnacles, algae, sea grass and mollusks will all be found living and clinging for dear life to your underhull and believe me, it will slow you down. A lot.
Sailboats aren't known for being the zippiest form of transportation around in the first place, so when you lose a knot or two of boat speed - it makes a big difference. Therefore, bottom cleaning should be a part of every cruising sailor's routinely scheduled maintenance. Tropical waters are famous for breeding sea life aplenty and if you don't move regularly (like sitting at anchor for a week or more), the speed at which life will grow will be much faster. Usually, Scott and I would dive our boat every couple of weeks in a nice anchorage somewhere with some scotch brite pads and give our boat a scrub. However, here in the harbor - it would take a pretty lucrative ($$$) dare to get either of us to get in the water and do this (we've seen everything from hypodermic needles to dead rats float by our boat).
Enter our buddy Martin!!
Not only does he not mind getting in the water, but he's got a scuba set up which means he can do a much more thorough job, much faster than we could. For a $100 even - we get a pristinely scrubbed bottom (we've checked his work before and he does a great job) and the peace of mind that we have potentially managed to escape nasty case of giardiasis. Sometimes, money spent is well worth it and in this case, we're happy to hand over a Ben Franklin, thankyouverymuch.
We should enjoy a nice, fast ride to Trinidad now. Here's hoping!!
Brittany & Scott