Lagos to Barcelona
We did it! We left Lagos 15 minutes later than planned on Saturday 6th June.
It is hard to put into words the condensed actions and emotions of the past few weeks. Here is a flavor:
- The Mast was finished but the transport was not booked – we were then told it could be weeks before it could be delivered – then transport was found
- The Mast arrived a week late and all the parts were there
- The Paint was still not completed
- There were about 20 other jobs to do on Magic – companionway door, Lazerette door, prop, anode, and outboard crane….
The list of things to do was growing and the amount of time left was reducing – this is why cruising sailors say you should just go with the flow and not creates deadlines. But following our delay in Lagos we were determined to leave and travel to Barcelona so we could see Sara my daughter and Yvonne our friend.
Over the past seven months our experience of boat ownership has been mostly challenging, stressful and expensive. The people we have met have been the best bit. But we had come to sail – so we have to admit that we have thought about giving up and going home but NO! We came to sail and we are going to sail…
We booked Simon Philips our delivery skipper to come with us on the trip to Barcelona. He is sailing with us as a friend on the ARC with his girl friend Kate so we were delighted that she was coming with him to sail with us to Barcelona.
We thought that it would be good to have Simon on board to run though Marks Yacht Master Practical course and also to give us more confidence with Magic.
So, knowing that Simon and Kate were arriving on the evening of the 5th June we had to focus even harder on getting Magic ready:
Thursday 4th June
Our deck and stainless steel were being cleaned to a very high standard and just as this work was finished at 2pm Magic was taken out onto the Hard. But then no work was done on her for the rest of the day – weird! But at least we got to stay overnight in the air-conditioned luxury of Sopromar’s new accommodation. We all enjoyed the air con – particularly May. It is one of the many ironies that it is now over 30 degrees and our central heating has finally been fixed. Now that it is fixed we cannot see why or when we will use it again and all we want is aircon!
Friday 5th June
Every thing happened at once – every job on the list that we had been pushing to get done was done within 9 hours …It was intense and stressful the Mast was stepped*, the standing rigging was tensioned, the sails were put on the running rigging was moused, the Lazerette door was fixed, the paint was repaired, we went out for a test sail in the bay and got in at around 7pm and then went for good bye drinks with our Lagos friends at 7.15pm
At 10pm our companionway entrance door was delivered to Magic and at 11pm Simon and Kate arrived
What a day
We were exhausted
Bed at 1am
A short note about the mast stepping: As they moved the mast towards the crane we watched and held our breath – then we were open mouthed as we watched in slow mo the mast slipping off the supports and falling towards the concrete. No no no Please no don’t let our new mast get damaged aghhhhhhhh – I was standing with Jeff our surveyor and a friend _ Andrew and also Mark – the boys ran forward to help to support the mast and gently put her back on the supports – omg!
- All was well and the crane lifted her up and up and up into place and then down into her place to rest on top of the silver coin we had placed on her step – a coin that we had polished and made positive wishes over to keep Magic and all who sail on her safe and well.
What a day
Saturday 6th June
Up at 6am – head buzzing with excitement and anticipation and a long list of things to do:
Susan and Andrew came on Board with their gear and helped to get the dingy and outboard stowed
Then we had to
Shop for Water and Fresh Fruit and Veg
Pay the Marina
Drop the Hire Car off and
Prep the Boat for Departure at 9am
We called for the Bridge to be opened and as they have not rationalized their protocols for this procedure they said – ok we will open the bridge soon or in 1 minute!! We called back and asked for more specific clarification on when exactly the bridge would open as we could still see people walking over it!!! Incredible that the Lagos foot bridge is still unclear in its procedures!
We departed at 09.45am – friends cheered and fired ‘water cannons’ (a hose) as the bridge opened and we sailed through safely on our way to Barcelona.
As I write these reflections from 36.06.360N, 5.54.92W we have
Just entering the Strait of Gibraltar. We have motored all day with the Easterly on our nose and it has been almost complete cloud cover (8/8) – get me with the technical. We spent last night in Cadiz. A beautiful place with the most horrible marina. A dust bowl – concrete dust created by the construction on the new bridge. We had both the worst and the best Tapas I have ever had – we were hungry tired and disorientated and just needed food and drink. We rejected a few places and then eventually sat down and ordered – we should have realized that white plastic chairs and one euro Tapas in a main square was going to be low grade – it was funny – the Sangria came in Pint glasses and all the “Tapas” was beige – all small fried things that all looked and tasted exactly the same. We ate and drank and feeling a little better we then decided to look for the Tapas we had set out to find. Trip Advisor came to the rescue with the Café Royalty – if you go to Cadiz go there – an elegant place with guilt mirrors (not ones that make you feel guilty – ones that have gold on them!) and beautiful paintings of cherubs and exotic birds – The Tapas was the best we have ever had and the service was world class – first they handed us napkins with tongs! Then served up thin rare roast beef slices with horse radish cream and delicious stuffed red peppers and perfect beef stew with a sticky reduction – wow – 3 Tapas each with a glass of wine and a divine chocolate Cake and ice cream for only 16.95 Euro a head…. perfect! And May was made welcome which was a refreshing change from Portugal where dogs are strictly not allowed in Bars and restaurants.
I am finally allowing myself to reflect on what we have managed to get done on Magic in the last few days.
As I now write it is dark and we have watched the sunset over Malaga. We spent the night in Gibraltar and are now en route to Cartagena (only 4 months late!)
The Straights we windy but fun and Kate loved being on the Helm as did Andrew – a reefed main and tacking all the way with over 30 knots of wind on our nose – a challenge – The wind howling in the rigging and the white crests on the waves made me a little anxious but I should not have been – Magic is a strong and amazing yacht and we were a competent and happy crew.
It is wonderful to be sailing again (even if we have had the engine on since we left Lagos!) Perhaps we will get to sail and turn the engine off tomorrow.
Evening of the 12th June
We had thought that we would be in Barcelona this morning but we stopped in Javea overnight to refuel and fill with water. We had hoped to go to Formentera but the wind changed so we changed our plan and headed towards Benidorm – None of us really wanted to stay there so we made towards Javea a lovely town. I had to make some calls on the Morning of the 12th and needed Internet and phone signal
With our lovely crew settling in we sailed on with style – Sundowner cocktails Curry and Chips and Ice cream!!
Finally the wind came in the right direction and we made 11kn moving our ETA closer to us!!
On our watch system again we hope to arrive in Barcelona – Port Vell at c11am on Saturday 13th
On Sunday I am going into town with Susan for some well-earned girl time and on Monday I am going to Paris, on Tuesday I am meeting Coke in Paris and then I will be back home in Barcelona Tuesday afternoon. I am still working and have work in London on the 29th and 30th meaning that in June it will be Barcelona, Paris and London for me!!
What a fantastic life full of adventure, fun, challenge and interest! We are so fortunate and we recognize and appreciate it.
We are LOVING Barcelona and some of our neighbours ! like M/Y Auspicious if you must have a Motor Yacht have one that is bling