Once again I find that I am catching up on a span of time for my blog. I like writing but it seems that the time just whizzes past. I am not sure what happened to the cruising life I imagined of lazy days in the sun, reading or making jewellery!
I think you sail as you are and we are very goal orientated busy people and we are constantly setting ourselves lists of tasks and working to get them all done.
As I write this time I am sitting on deck as the sun goes down in Gibraltar – I have a very intriguing view of the airport runway to the stern and forward is The Rock – we are in Ocean Village having a long list of work done – steel work, Generator, Water maker, Satellite phone…I am enjoying the project management and the technical challenges of knitting the boat full of wires and working out where to fit the new digital panels. I know that means more to go wrong …but it also means we can cruise oceans with more confidence and that is our aim. Back to the blog!
We arrived in Mahon a day early to meet Claire and more lessons were learned! Mark is excellent at handling Magic and parking is one of his special skills – however with wind and tight spaces and long lazy lines out in front of other yachts we should have refused the place offered. We lined up with the space offered and it was clear that there was not enough room for Magic’s Beam (width) so the Marinaros UN helpfully suggested that we “wait!” until they move the other boats. On Magic in the wind there is no “wait” there is ‘in’ or there is ‘out’ so we decided that as we could not go ‘in’ we had to go ‘out’ only now we were on the lazy lines and the bow thruster and the prop were in danger of getting fouled – it was tense but Mark manouverued Magic carefully out – lesson learned ‘don’t take what you are given be discerning and ask for a space that works for your boat.’ Miricaously even though there were previously no other available spaces one was found for us and our mooring was easy!
The visit with my dear friend of 37 years, Claire from Belfast was glorious – it is wonderful when friends can come and share our adventure. We went from Mahon and around the south coast. We anchored in idyllic Calas (sheltered bays) with crystal clear water and swam.
We also visited the perfect little town of Cuitdella which is a gem – beautiful, old, great bars and great shopping! The Marina was achingly expensive but we still decided to indulge and stay two nights – two nights is so much better than one! It means you can really relax. Claire and I had a ball.
Sadly Claire’s visit was over too soon and as she left for the airport we prepared Magic to leave for Formenterra.
Wind – again meant that mooring up at the fuel dock was a challenge – even the fuel doc manager commented that it was a difficult day but again Mark was a star. When we have docked well in ‘interesting’ conditions we ‘high five’ each other – corny but it feels right!
Full of fuel, water and food we set sail for Formenterra – It was to be a 24-hour journey and we were looking forward to it. Mark and I love night sailing. We love the team work and the challenge – the planning and the adventure.
Something I have found that I have always done in my life is to imagine the perfect scenario of a future situation and then – as my imagination is especially good – the reality inevitably falls short of the dream. I have tried to curb my ambitions of how situations should be – to avoid the ache of disappointment but it seems I am an eternal optimist! So it was with our trip from Mahon to Formenterra. I had imagined the perfect winds in the right direction, a gentle sea state, stars, dolphins and arriving at noon to drop anchor in a crystal bay to swim and then eat lunch.
Well – there were stars and dolphins and a gentle sea state – a magical combination but no wind so we had to motor all the way – always disappointing when you love to sail. Then as we got closer we got strong wind but right on our nose and in the totally wrong direction so slowing us down quite a bit. (That seems to happen if you decide in advance you particularly need to be somewhere!)
As a result we didn’t get in at noon – it was 5pm and there was a lot of haze and a strong wind. We picked a spot in a sheltered horseshoe bay in the lee of the island and dropped the anchor only to be woken in the night as the wind had moved around and it was really choppy. So following a 28 hour sail (motor) to have a sleepless night was not what the dream had promised! And the swim – well I did get a swim but that was at 7am the following morning with a rope around me to swim in the choppy waves with a mask and snorkel to check on the hull as there was some antifoul that had come away and we were monitoring it. I thought – how very Lara Croft of me! And all before breakfast…. I do have fantasies of being Lara Croft which is hilarious as if I made a list of all her attributes I have all the opposite!! It makes me chuckle in my head …
So, the reality was very different from the dream and on we pressed – we wanted to be in Gibraltar for the 1st August (goals again!) and we had to press on – So we set a course for Cartagena – another 24-hour journey..
Up to this point I had been enjoying the catering – I love to have good food on Magic – I enjoy treating people and it is lovely to hand a perfect bacon sandwich to Mark when he has completed his 4am – 6am Watch. We even dressed for dinner on the crossing from Mahon to Formenterra!! But as we had battled all night with wind and wave I couldn’t face making the ‘perfect’ breakfast and opted for the remaining 15 Pringles and a can of Redbull – Mark made his own toast! I could feel the standards slipping! We arrived following another 27 hours sailing into Cartagena – exhausted we went straight off the boat ate in the nearest café and went back to Magic to sleep. What we didn’t know was that friends from Lagos were in the same Marina – they saw Magic but when they noticed that the sails had not been stowed and the boat not washed down ..they knew we had sailed thought the night and must have gone straight to sleep – that’s sailors – they knew!
I said to Mark “Squeeeek Bump”, “What’s that?” he said
“Oh, that’s just the sound of the three of us sliding down Maslov’s Pyramid and landing at the bottom pride not intact!” Hot, exhausted, dirty, hungry , thirsty– washing hanging out on the boat!
I guess we have fully embraced this sailing thing!
Now all we have to do is get to Gibralta