Buenas dias, you guys!

Lynx, Xavier & Graham completing the metal cage walls of the woodshop.

My name's Xavier and I'm an engineer officer in the merchant navy, currently working on yachts.

Having disembarked in Florida, I was looking for a volunteer work on the west side of the Atlantic part of the Ocean to leave as light a carbon foot print as possible. For some reason, just after I've disembarked and when I was wandering in Dominican Republic still looking for my volunteer job, a post talking about the Ceiba/SailCargo Inc. popped up on my Facebook page. Danielle & Lynx's project is exactly what I wanted to do but didn't for lacking wood work knowledge, relationships and mainly... guts! So I've contacted Dani via e-mail and after sending my CV and a few other mails, I got hired! 2 days later, I was at the shipyard.

Xavier digging the keel foundation holes.

Getting there took me some time but Dani's adjusted her volunteer's instructions and the people who arrived after me got here in way lesser time that I needed with no communication, just by following Dani's instructions. Good job, Dani! After Dani picked me up at the bus stop and Lynx has asked me whether I could use a weed-wacker, we proceeded to the introductions and visit of the shipyard.

This still is an early stage of the project. Not a single ship in this shipyard! But by the end of my stay, the shipyard itself was pretty much set up. We've secured the wood workshop, built a “crew house” and last but not least, the shore where the ship is going to be built.

Xavier & Lynx unloading river rocks for the keel foundation.

I got to Punta Morales just after a huge sawing campaign, so my first job (after weed-wacking) has been to clean up the off-cuts. To do this, you have to sort out these off-cuts in different piles: the ones that can be used for the boat or for some subsidiary construction in the shipyard; the ones that can be used as fire wood for the stove and the bark. All the sawdust is saved too; either for the dry toilets or the one that the termites have no interest in for a smooth floor in the huts (crew houses).

My second job – when I really thought I'd participate in the laying of the keel – consisted in building up the shore on which Ceiba will be built and from where she'll be launched. The floor here is constituted of a layer of rock, topped by a layer of clay and a thin top layer of dirt. With the help of a local backhoe loader following Lynx's marks, we dug 16 holes with strong clay foundation in which we've laid 2 to 3 poles making the foundation of Ceiba's shore. Unfortunately, it appears now that I won't assist to the laying of the keel as some other more important tasks have squeezed in our schedule. Luckily Pipa la Gata came in our shipyard life to cheer me up!

Keel foundation posts complete in the ground!! Still to be cut level. You can see the water entrance in the distance.

Third job was to secure and electrify the wood workshop. Nothing too exciting about this, so I'll make it short. With the help of a short-term volunteer, we've closed the workshop with wire mesh attached to the structure of the shed, adding a few sliding and hinged wire-meshed doors. We then leveled the floor with rocks, sand and the reaming clay from the excavation of the shore.

After receiving last moment confirmation of some female volunteers coming, we had to build in hurry a new hut for the male volunteers – fourth job here. Dani and Lynx went to one of their friends' place who needed a clean-up of his garden in Monteverde involving the cutting of a few trees. At their return on Saturday morning, we started to build up the structure. Sunday off. Next shipment on Monday morning brought us enough to finish the structure. We started tin roofing. On Tuesday, all was done! Building a house in 3 days... that's the Lynx's way!! After a little bug chase and leveling, hot-ashing (to scare the ants and other spiders) and soft saw-dusting (the one of no interest to termites to save our beds) of the floor, the boys are spending their first night in the “hut”.

If I had to recap my whole experience with Canadian wooden ship building, I would say it's all done with picks, shovels, dirt and distorted logs... but that was an early stage. I'll sure come later when the shipyard is all up n' runnin' and Ceiba is really under construction and I'll give y'all a more accurate point of view!

Thanks for your project and all hopes and good adventures and encounters it carries with it!

Xavier (foreground) and Graham load river rocks into the foundation holes. In the background you can see the posts of Spanish Cedar, which are all now securley in the ground, awaiting keel blocks. 

Xavier has been a key part of our team, having joined us just before Christmas when we were quite a small number of people. We truly appreciate his ability to complete all the tasks he's written about, and our entire shipyard is much farther along due to his varied skills and capabilities. We look forward to welcoming him back in the fall when Ceiba is being built!

This project is funded entirely by people like you investing in shares. Help #SeaShippingChange by becoming a shipowner today!

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