And I think it’s illegal.
But before you rush to judgment, allow me to share with you some persuasive arguments in my defense, which are:
• I DIDN’T KNOW.
• IT’S NOT MY FAULT.
• And anyway, it’s just a LITTLE bit of old-growth rainforest.
Furthermore, like consumers of Persian rugs everywhere—many of which are made in caves by little blind slave children—I have to add: It may be wrong, but damn it looks good.
It’s all Ken’s fault. Ken is Peter’s crusty Kiwi friend, a madman, carpenter and shipwright who’s in charge of the compression post. He’s the one who picked out the kwila.
Which comes from Papua New Guinea, in one of the world’s last stands of old-growth forest. The trees take almost a century to mature, and at present logging rates, they'll be extinct in about 35 years.
Did I mention how good it looks? It looks really awesome.
Tropical deforestation aside, Sereia’s renovations are coming along rapidly. This is because Peter has finally achieved the perfect team for Maximum Boatyard Productivity, which is: Crazy Coot and Young Buck. Allow me to explain.
When he was working alone, Peter had a tendency to drown in his lists. He would anxiously examine the old compression post for awhile, imagining the cabin top crushing his family. Then he would wander over to the galley, and think about how our old propane regulator might blow us all up. Then he would fret about the rudder falling off, and the engine overheating, and the steering quadrant going limp and loose like an old sesame noodle, and then he would have to go lie down for awhile.
As a Crazy Coot, Ken doesn’t worry about these details. He’s built a fleet of sailboats over the years, and he’s probably mowed down a few acres of rainforest, and these things don’t faze him in the least. “They cut a tumour out the back of me head a few years back,” he explains. “Took out my hearing in that ear, and my sense of responsibility with it.”
Hence, the illegal compression post. Which, while evil, is also lovely and strong.
Then there’s Zack. Zack, as I may have mentioned, used to be a responsible citizen back in the US, with a clean shave and a job. Then something snapped inside him—something fragile and irreparable, like possibly his sanity—and he moved to New Zealand to farm tamarillos. And now, thanks to our corrupting influence, he wants to sail.
“I just want to live on a boat. For six months. With a crazy old guy. Who knows EVERYTHING. And have him teach me EVERYTHING. He can beat me every day. I don’t care. I just want to LEARN.”
It is precisely this kind of youthful enthusiasm that Peter is eager to exploit. So he puts Zack to work, in the most filthy and uncomfortable jobs. And then he pays the poor guy in pizza and beer.
Little by little, through slave labour and illegal logging, Sereia is getting to be safe and seaworthy. One of these days, we’ll run out of excuses. Then we might actually have to go sailing.