March 04 – March 25, 2020; 2899 nm and 369 days after departure from La Rochelle
It would have been soooo nice to leave! But sometimes things change just like this. That was a nice description of being annoyed about our chart plotter and not using swearwords. Our plotter was not willing to work anymore. We were ready to leave early Wednesday morning, March 4th to first get some fuel and then set off south. The plotter/navigation system did not show a single chart/route or sign of life anymore and after a short check it was clear we needed to stay. Sh…
That was what we thought beginning of March. Now in times of Covid 19 we’re thankful that we could not leave at that time. Who knows where we would have found shelter. So many sailors had trouble to find a marina or just an anchorage when the countries started to lock down towns and close boarders. Therefore we are relieved and very happy to be in a safe marina with power, water and the possibility to get groceries easily.
Only a few days later of feeling stuck due to our plotter, Corona started to increase significantly its spreading. A week later March 15th the lock down started in Spain and we were stuck because of Corona. There’s no need to explain how that feels as everybody by now is more or less in the same situation.
Before that all started, El capitano was busy with finding out a solution for our navigation/plotter problem. Internet research, reading and discussing with some sailor friends was the first obstacle. All in all it only took two days to decide what we/he would use as an exchange for the plotter. It took another couple of days to find and order all the items which were needed.
Meanwhile I did not have much to do. My first idea was to find a school where I could improve my poor Spanish. Definitely a good thought but in the end not possible as I could not find a course which was still available on short notice and only for a week or two. (At this time we still thought we might be able to leave in a certain time. 🤷♀️) A new idea was needed to make me feel useful as well.😉 That turned out to be easy as I remembered I still had some sunbrella like fabrics left (very strong canvas), which I could use for a new sewing project. For quite some time I was playing with the idea to make a weather cloth. (Weather cloths keep spreading waves away when travelling and give you a bit more privacy in the cockpit without being completely closed in.) To make it a bit more interesting/difficult, I wanted to include our logo on the fabrics. The difficult part was to find some useful strong fabrics, sun resistant, durable and in different colours for the waves and the letters. (See upper front picture.) Eventually I found a very nice sailmaker who was so kind to put in the grommets and wholes I needed for the cloth. But the best was, after whining about not being able to find fabrics for my logo, he offered me left overs from his own orders. I got a perfect blue sunbrella acrylic for the waves and he also had enough grey for the letters. 💪 That was absolutely super kind!
The next couple of days I cut out templates, copied those on the canvas, again cutting and after that I used a soldering iron to melt the edges to stop the letters and waves from fraying. I was swearing a lot! And I couldn’t even blame anybody as it was my own decision to do so. Sewing was tricky but fun and in the end I was very happy with the result.
That all seems very unimportant by now! The lockdown has changed the view at most of the things. Health and the questions about the future regarding jobs and just being able to survive is on top of every bodies mind. Sailors who’s interest was to get away and enjoy the beauty of remote islands now find themselves locked up. Indeed some of them in beautiful places, but with the hurricane season in their back. Not knowing when they’re allowed to leave and if, where to go. A lot of countries closed their borders. The insurances not covering damages in this area. It is a question of livelihood. Of course that is not only a matter for sailors but for lots of people – on the water, ashore and everywhere in the world.
Reading about all the trouble concerning Corona and the sad news about so many people dying, we do consider ourselves to be very lucky! The marina just extended our stay, we’re together and healthy and I’m not complaining anymore about the far away sanitaries. 😉 It’s the opposite! Now we are even enjoying the 6 min walk to relief our bowels. Being only allowed to walk to the supermarket, it gives us some extra exercise! Half a km to the bathroom, plus every other day a walk to take a shower and every 2/3 days walking to get some groceries (2,5 km one way), makes an average of maybe 3km a day walking. In times of Corona and living on a boat where walking is of course very limited it’s not a bad attempt, isn’t it?
And, as we’re used to live close together – exactly for one and half year on Altimate by now- we don’t feel such a big difference being locked down. There’s always something to repair or clean or tidy up on Altimate. We have a lot of books which are waiting to be read, the blog keeps at least me busy and El Capitano is still trying to perfect our new navigation system. One positive aspect of Corona shouldn’t be forgotten. In the last nine days of social distancing I did actually talk to so many friends and family members which I haven’t done for the last 5 years. At least it feels like it.😉 That is definitely a nice change. People do have more time, they look after each other and they come distantly closer together. Does that make sense?
Let’s stay strong and healthy!