Hello Again Boatbloggers ®,
And huge apologies for the long radio silence. The truth is, there hasn’t been much to blog about, and I don’t want to risk boring our huge numbers of adoring fan with trivial nonsense. But I have been stung into action by Alan’s blog comment, which for those of you who haven’t seen it, I repeat it here in full.
Hi Julian and Lyn,
So I promised to write more in response to the fabulous Rabat Blues and since it is now over a month since I promised that, it seemed appropriate to get on with it!
Clearly there has been something of a radio silence of late and of course this leads of all your blog followers to become a little nervous and apprehensive on your behalf Julian. After all there are many examples of intrepid travellers losing radio contact and the like. One just has to think of those orbiting the moon for example, or trekking to the poles and one is immediately reminded of the tense wait in between communications. So imagine my pleasant surprise just a few weeks ago when I was contacted directly by Julian. It was a wonderful moment and I felt truly special, honoured to be singled out for what was, in my mind at least, quite a tricky procedure. I know that these days modern communications have improved enormously since the days of Morse code and the like, but nevertheless as I heard Julian’s voice on the phone, I was impressed with the quality of the line. As he spoke, I imagined him grappling with the sheets, whilst the wind whistled Domini across the ocean waves. I have some experience myself of ship to shore radio transmissions (more of that in a moment) and so I was both pleased and relieved to hear from Julian. Imagine my surprise then, when in response to my enquiry as to his whereabouts, rather than some kind of nautical co-ordinates involving degrees and longitude, he said that he was in Acton. I’ll just let that sink in for a moment. Acton. Now Geography is not my strong point, in fairness nothing is, but even I could more or less point to Acton on a map and understand the relation between it and the Atlantic. Rabat for example is clearly on a coastline, indeed a coastline suspiciously close to the Atlantic, but Acton is West London and not a drop of ocean in sight. The Rabat Blues, so beautifully performed, gave all of we humble readers some sense of the frustration of waiting for just the right weather conditions for departure. But whilst hanging around in harbours of the world sharing seafaring stories with other old salts is surely a regular pastime of the hardened sailor, wandering up and down Acton High Road in search of The Guardian, hardly constitutes the spirit of adventure – mind you, then again, it is Acton. But look, I don’t wish to pour cold water on your earnest endeavours and I am willing to suspend disbelief. It may be that you are not just hanging out at home, waiting for your next sailing holiday around the Algarve. You may well be studying detailed charts in the library and wrestling with fathoms and plumb lines, but I think it may be time for another missive so we can remain truly connected to your holiday, sorry, adventure and so we can set aside any creeping cynicism.
I did mention that I had some ship to shore radio experience and I think you may have heard the story before, but since it comes from a time when I was AT SEA, it seemed appropriate. I had been aboard the luxury yacht, Lambda Mar only for a few hours and was trying very hard to settle into the lifestyle and forget all of my land-based troubles. With a gin and tonic in hand, I was approached by one of the many immaculately liveried stewards and informed that the Captain wanted to see me right away on the bridge for an urgent ship-to-shore radio call. “Who can this be?” I thought to myself. “An urgent call from the Prime minister perhaps, obviously for such an important person as I must be, aboard a luxury yacht, or most likely, an injury to one of our children”. They were staying with their Grandma at our house. My worst fears looked like being confirmed as I took the communication device being proffered by the Captain and heard the voice of my Mother-in-Law. She said she was sorry but felt this was a big enough emergency to have contacted the luxury yacht’s telephone. So what was it? A broken leg perhaps, or a car accident? No, the reason for the call was to ask me what she ought to say to the angry and disappointed parents who had been let down by the breakdown of our Postman Pat van and subsequent lack of party for 4 year old Chantelle. It wasn’t so much being bothered by the seemingly trivial matter by Grandma that upset me, it was more the complete bursting of any kind of illusory bubble that I might actually belong on this super yacht, rather than be the kind of person who was running Postman Pat parties for a living. As I left the bridge I bravely tried to laugh it off, as if this was simply one of thousands of such events I organised around the globe, but the Captain’s smirk dampened any last vestiges of delusion.
So Julian and Lyn, when the right conditions arrive and you really do get cracking across the Atlantic, just know that not only will I be thinking about you constantly, but I will also be awaiting your call.
Love to you both,
Now clearly there are a number of issues with this scurrilous article that I simply must address. In particular the erroneous use of the term, “sailing holiday,” to describe our intrepid expedition into the unknown, as though it were some sort of Sunsail jolly, or a Channel Ferry booze cruise. And yes while technically it may be true that we did return to darkest Acton for a VERY brief period, may I remind our readers, lest they fear that our courage may be waning, that even Christopher Columbus had a break occasionally. (By the way, did you know that Columbus in Spanish is “Colon.” We found that out at The Colon Museum, right here in Las Palmas.)
So, what has happened since our time in Rabat? Or Acton, depending upon which version of the truth you prefer to believe. We sailed South – or more accurately motored as there was no wind – and ended up in Agadir, which is Morroco’s answer to Benidorm.
The people of Agadir are quite charming, but unfortunately it takes a long time to get anything done, and security is quite lax. (If you’re interested, they key to the pontoon is under the flowerpot by the gate.) The Capitaniere apologised for the state of the marina, but they’d had a storm four years ago.
And after a few days, we were ready to set sail, this time, across The Atlantic. Let me just repeat that incase Alan missed it.
ACROSS (a bit of) THE ATLANTIC
…to The Canary Islands. Gran Canaria in fact. We had good wind and sailed all the way, which surprisingly for a sailing expedition, doesn’t happen very often. It was largely uneventful, apart from the rudder getting snagged on some drifting old net.
Ju had to go over the side again to cut us free. Unfortunately, as he jumped in, he slightly cut his finger on the knife. Nothing too serious, except that this is shark country. And if I remember my David Attenborough documentaries correctly, sharks can smell blood from up to 48 miles away. Lyn didn’t helping by singing the Theme from Jaws.
So there was no time to lose, and soon we were free, and able to carry on our merry way. After about three days we arrived in Las Palmas.
Las Palmas is the home of the ARC – The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, which is the race that we will be taking part in, so we have been busy preparing the boat, kitting it out with safety gear, adding davits, provisioning and so on. As well as attending lectures telling us what to do if the boat goes upside down, or the mast falls off, or we get eaten by a whale.
RAISING THE FLAG
Other than that, we have just been tourists. Gran Canaria is a surprising place. While the north of the island is quite sophisticated, in the south you feel a bit out of place without a tattoo on your forehead. The centre is stunning; like The Grand Canyon. Well….I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, but it’s got lots of big mountains.
We’re just over a week away till we cast off our lines and start the crossing, so it’s all getting a bit hectic in Las Palmas.
and here is a gratuitous selfie
That’s all for now Boatbloggers ® . Or “Avast,” as we sailors say.
I will be in touch before the starting pistol is fired with a link to “Yellowbrick,” which is a kind of satellite tracking device so you can see us as we go across.
Bye for now
Cap’n Ju & Lyn the Cru