So here it is; nearly 4pm on Wednesday the 19th of July and we’ve just passed Barcelona on our way to Gibraltar. So far so normal; we left La Ciotat at about 6.30 last night and if this is a fine Med crossing I’m on the wrong boat. Well actually we always knew that; Aquarius as a day charter cat is seaworthy in the extreme but ummm not exactly your comfortable cruising yacht. She’s pretty wet in anything but a flat sea and even though this sea is flat it’s the Med so it’s damn choppy and we are beautifully salty on deck.
The boys are below replacing the impeller in port engine and Betrave is kneading dough for bread. So I figured it was time to start writing. We are, after all, headed for an Atlantic crossing and all journeys have to start somewhere.
I guess this one did when we left la Ciotat in France at about 630 last evening; a bit later than planned because by the time the boys did everything that they needed to do it was bloody late. And of course there’s no question of leaving till the morning so that I could start my blog with a romantic dawn departure … those factors don’t cut much ice with the GC. But we did see a large pod of dolphins; big black ones … a good luck omen to send us on our way.
So here we are off the coast of Spain.. We’re making 10 knots which is pretty good considering one engine is out; we’ve swerved between 8.5 knots this morning and 12 knots at best just before noon; so we’re not doing too badly considering how heavy we are … we are loaded to the gills and will take on an extra ton of fuel in Gib so am not expecting to go fast right now. Aquarius is proving her reputation as a wet boat; this sea is flat with only about a one meter swell but as we are crossing the swell with our route and the wind is from port so we have taken quite a few waves on the deck. We are all fetchingly dressed in gumboots – thank god I insisted on that trip to Decathlon last Saturday. It’s not as warm as it was in France and has been a bit overcast all day.
Despite the water on deck and the few technical issues that were inevitable – this leg to Gib was always going to be a bit of a test for all our systems and equipment – most things seem to be working pretty much as I had thought they would. Last night’s dinner – Masaman Curry and rice – took forever to cook on the gas cooktop; I had to microwave the potatoes – and we can’t keep using gas at that rate. I’m very well rigged with the big gas cooktop & oven as well as an electric microwave cum convection oven but we can’t run the generator just to run the oven (and what if it stops working altogether?) I can’t count on this, much as I love it. So food for thought.
The new fridges are working brilliantly – well worth the three long days it took the boys to build them; they are more like two small coolrooms than regular fridges –and I also have a lot of backup space below where I’m storing veggies. Many thanks to the author of The Boat Galley website; lots of very useful info and tips there. Best thing though for us is that I could buy all our veggies from the Sunday market in La Ciotat; veggies that have never been refrigerated last much longer than supermarket veggies out of the fridge. Zucchinis; eggplant; peppers all individually wrapped in paper and in the net last well for a week.
Came on deck at 520 am to take my watch and the sky was light in the east; it just got lighter and lighter for a good hour before the sun actually rose. I’ve never seen that before; spending most of my life in the tropics or sub tropics, it’s either light or dark when the sun comes up and goes down; not this lovely long twilight and dawn hour of dove grey and soft pinks. Very beautiful.
Using the new radar is pretty cool too. For more than an hour this afternoon we were surrounded by around 30 – 50 whales; I could see their spouts all around and they appear and disappear on the radar screen as pulsating points of light; quite different from the way a boat looks so not at all unnerving.
I can’t believe the colour of the sea. It’s blue! We are used to an aquamarine sea; the blue of the water here is again the stuff of legend. Wish I had a copy of Homer … should try and find the Illiad at least …