I’d like to say that I’ve been alone, cut off from the world valiantly battling heavy seas for weeks at a time, tempering my physique whilst exercising my mental mettle, but the reality is that I’ve been tremendously busy making unplanned social detours at every opportunity.
Following a night of pontoon festivities, [where alcohol refreshments were enthusiastically consumed by sailors young (that’s me) and old (i.e. everyone else… OK, not you either Marta…) and gathered for one last bash under the twinkle of party lights and thrum of music emanating from the little blue boat], the majority of southerly migrating yachts (three out of five) left Cascais on the 2nd of November bound for the Canary Islands, (Madeira had become a no-go zone due to forecast heavy seas).
After a teary goodbye by the throngs of well wishers gathered to witness Eileen of Avoca’s departure [(that would be the crew of Angel of Rio and Apodis), and enthusiastic (if somewhat imaginary) jostling by hoards of fans crowding the shoreline (now I’m harboring illusions of fame and grandeur but do bear with me, the phenomenon is generally transient…), eager for just one last glimpse of number 9 putting to sea], I spent a thoroughly undignified and sleepless night dodging all manner of royal annoyances including cruise liners from the Duchess and Empress, to the Princess and you-name-it-ness, all apparently intent on running me down.
Despite managing a respectable 100 nautical miles in just 24 hours under just tri-sail and stay-sail, I quickly satisfied my quota for ‘hours logged in a confused swell’ (yes, I’m ready to accept the label of wimp!), and took a left hand turn round Cape Vincent, setting course for Lagos to satisfy a newly devised theorem on mollifying seasickness with ice cold larger ashore. After promising initial trials at the marina cafe, I managed to significantly expand on my basic proof, concluding that the miracle cure for nausea at sea is to be found in hot vindaloo at an Indian restaurant, courtesy of old 3-day friends, (oh… and only after a foundation of several refreshing pints).
The official version of my story reads: faulty wiring with Eileen’s tri-light forced me to put to shore on safety grounds, but upon exhaustive testing and intense scrutinizing (I flicked the switch back and forth a couple of times), the mysterious intermittent problem resolved itself. There, you see! Having a technical background specializing in troubleshooting does pay off!
Determined to make the most of this unscheduled stopover, I went hunting for the crew of Riviera Magic (wintering afloat), to pay homage to the resident feline deity “Lupin”. Those of you who have been diligently reading all my updates (ah… dear mum), will recall that I met the high priest and priestess (Brad & Diane), serving yea almighty Lupin, on Riviera Magic in May while sheltering at La Coruna. I am pleased to report that Lupin is well and may consider an extended public tour after sufficient rest this winter.
At dawn I made my second attempt to reach the Canary Islands… For the moment, lets just say I didn’t quite make it.