Monday we had a fairly slow start. Sunday evening we’d had John, Sandra and Miles over for pasta and drinks- many drinks. Usually it’s Sandra weaving her way back down the pontoon (I don’t think she’ll mind me saying!) but apparently that night it was John who was a little unsteady on his feet. Nick and I also woke the next morning feeling a little fragile.
Sandra and I had plans to do a recce down the market that morning, so after a very strong coffee, a large glass of water, a carby breakfast and some paracetamol, I finally roused myself at about 10am to brush my hair and teeth, and change out of my pyjamas. And not a minute too soon: as soon as I’d made myself presentable, a knock came on the hull. It wasn’t Sandra. It was the media. Suddenly, Nick and I were in the cockpit with a guy videoing us and a woman recording us, being interviewed by the World Cruising Club. I could barely string a coherent sentence together. I was just glad we were outside so I had a good excuse to cover half my face with sunglasses, and I spent most of the interview trying to remember the last time I’d had a shower, and thanking the powers that be that I’d managed to clear the cockpit of the evidence of our previous night of boozing only minutes earlier.
That said, I must have turned in a reasonable performance because it was only at the end of the interview that she asked me how long I’d been the skipper for!
So, here’s a link to the interview. I don’t know how long it will stay up for, though!
Sandra popped by a couple of minutes after the two media crew had left, and we cycled to the market. This is where is pays to be part of an organised rally. All we had to do was pick up a form from one of several stalls at the marketplace, write down what we wanted, and they’ll deliver it to the boat the day before we leave. They give you green bananas and tomatoes, and make sure it’s all got a reasonable used by date. Plus- it’s delivered! I know I’ve already said that, but speaking as a woman who is mightily sick of lugging groceries all over town, that’s a big plus. And the guy who owns the stall we went to gave us a bag of bananas and mandarins for free!
Anyway, I get back to the boat only to find it literally turned inside out. All the floor panels were up, toolkits were out, and Nick was pacing around looking worried while some bloke who had clearly just arrived from the airport- his suitcase was in our cockpit, opened to reveal his washbag, some t-shirts, and a large metallic piece of equipment that I wouldn’t be able to identify if my life depended on it- lay face down on the floor with his head in a floor locker.
So, this was Jim, the watermaker guy. We’d had an issue with our watermaker off the Moroccan coast, as it kept cutting out randomly. Nick called the manufacturer who agreed to bring out a new engine for it when they came out to Las Palmas for the ARC. So we’ve been waiting for this part ever since. Unfortunately, when the guy replaced the engine, things still weren’t rosy. When we turned the watermaker on, it sounded like I do when I go for a run: on the verge of death. Even I could tell something was wrong.
However, Jim had to pick someone up from the airport or something, so he had to bail. The next morning Jim returned saying that he’d been kept awake all night trying to figure out what the problem was (bless), and he thought he had the answer.
It turns out that the fan Nick installed to cool down the watermaker was causing the 10 amp circuit breaker to trip out. So Nick uprated the wiring and changed to a larger circuit breaker, and voila! It works.
So, that done, we were free to go about the rest of our day. I rode down to the market and put in my order forms for our meat and fruit and veg. The guy who owns the stall gave me another big bag of mandarins for free, so now we have two big bags of fruit that we really need to eat before Saturday to make room for all the fresh food I’ve ordered! Oh, the irony.
I then went to the provisioning seminar, where I learned that broccoli only lasts for 2-3 days unrefrigerated. Bugger. Wish I knew that before I ordered, like, 2kg of broccoli. I thought that stuff lasted ages?!
So, guess what we’ll be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner for days 1-3?
I also learned that we’ll be using a quarter of a roll of toilet paper per person per day (how much toilet roll we’d need was causing a lot of head scratching between Nick and me… not the type of thing we want to run out of). And if you wrap your carrots in foil, they will last weeks. Excellent.
Thomas the Parasailor man also came to visit our boat to give us some tips on flying the Parasailor across the Atlantic. He gave us some good advice, and even though we ended up spending another few hundred euros and it meant another trip up the mast for Nick, we’ll do anything for a safe and comfortable (and fast, if that’s not too much to ask!) crossing. Essentially, we should be flying the Parasailor asymmetrically, which we’ve never really done before, and we had to install a spinnaker crane to avoid chafe, apparently without which it wouldn’t have lasted more than a few days.
Right, almost there! Stay with me!
Last night we went to the crew supper, which was ever so slightly tedious to begin with (you know, lots of milling around drinking free booze, trying to find someone to talk to in a room full of strangers), but we ended up sitting opposite the same Aussies I’d borrowed the flag from at the welcome parade. They said they couldn’t work out why I wanted it. I informed my fellow compatriots that I am, in fact, an Aussie.
“Oh, no way?! I did not pick up on that at all.”
“Yeah, I get that a lot.”
“You sound English!”
“Yeah, I get that a lot.”
“Too long spent in London, eh?”
“Actually, I’m from Adelaide. We all speak like this.”
“Ahhh. Adelaide, eh? No wonder you moved to London!”
For the record, Adelaide is a fantastic place, and was this year voted 5th best city in the world to live in. So, there.
Anyway, so we had a nice night chatting to these two Australians who are crewing for a friend before flying home after Christmas. But Nick was still under the weather from a virus, so we bailed as soon as dessert was finished and came home. We’re both pretty knackered.
And today our friends Neil and John flew out! They’re crewing for us for the crossing, so now they’re here, shit’s getting real! They seem really pleased and excited to be here, but then again, they haven’t seen the cleaning rota yet…