Written by Mia:
We have been preparing a blog post about maintenance and haven’t posted it because we thought it sounded an awful lot like complaining. Along the way, we have worked on the water pump, the decks, the fridge and freezer and all the annual stuff you do to keep the boat happy. We wrote a lot about the arch and solar panel installation as well. But nothing really prepared us for the three weeks of preparation we are wrapping up for this Atlantic crossing.
We started with our own list of things that need doing, for example checking what sails we have and the state of each, also getting preventers working so that we are ready for our down-wind sailing. Itchy Foot needed a few extra safety installations including new navigation lights (including the ones up the mast) and upgrades for the life raft and grab bag. We now have AIS to tracking boats and being tracked as well as a satellite phone and a solution to get weather forecasts. All of these things are time consuming to source and often turn into drawn out projects to install and get up and running, especially where cables are involved. The generator was acting funny on the way to Lanzarote and that needed some attention, and we wanted someone to give us an expert opinion on the state of the rigging.
Then there were all the things to do to make sure the boat is a comfy home for our little family and the crew joining us. It took a few days to juggle our things and find creative storing solutions so that everyone has some space of their own. A place for everything and everything in its place is definitely the way on a boat. Now I understand how important it is that the tupperware nests inside other tupperware! Also, nothing should be stored anywhere it can do damage to the boat, for example near a sea cock or anything with electrical wiring.
We have been going to seminars packed with helpful tips for sailing and preparation. You could feel the excitement and tension and everyone went through their own mental check lists. It has been really intense and there is a palpable sense of activity as we near the date of departure. It feels like everyone has had moments of ”Are we ready?”, “Will we be ready in time?” and “Oh my God, how on Earth will we ever get it all done!?”
But luckily in amongst it all, we have had the pleasure of amazing company. Jon’s parents visited for a week and we got to see some of this beautiful place, like our trip up El Teide not to mention all wonderful meals we shared. It is always a treat to spend time together and of course they spent time with Teo so we could get some things checked off our list. It was lovely and very helpful. We were all in tears when they left. And the same when Michael and David came for the weekend. It was SO lovely of them to come and see us and of course Teo was over the moon, too. The visit was short but sweet and we miss them so!
The sense of community has been incredible! Not only have their been really lovely casual chats over a cup of tea or glass of wine, but there have been great events arranged by the rally organisers like a craft session and a potluck, and trips to a museum and up El Teide. And other stuff organised on the side like a Ladies night, Yoga for kids and a session to learn from a professional cartoonist. All this has been giving us a great opportunity to spend time with friends and make new ones. The kids are getting along so well (it takes them about 5 minutes to find something in common and become friends ). You see them running around together visiting each others’ boats and it makes everyone smile.
There is so much to write and so little time so I will have to be brief, but of course our most rewarding time is the time we spend with our friends. A few days after we got here J-Squared got here too and we love spending time with them, it is always such a pleasure! We came home from dinner with Jon’s parents and there was a note “Hello! End of Dock” and we figured it out and all bounced down there to say hello! StaVast are here too and the kids are like the three muskateers, going from one boat to the other and we bigs are loving the time we spend together too! And Bright Eyes got here a few nights ago and are here on the same pontoon and we have been catching up. Itchy Foot also welcomed some new family members, too. Kevin and Tina joined us on Saturday. There have been so many things to do and they have just jumped right in! Kevin and Jon have been doing boat jobs like checking sails and securing water and diesel cans on the deck. Tina and I have been provisioning and cooking, we even borrowed a kitchen and cooked NINE meals for the passage. They have been working SO hard. I don’t know what we would do without these wonderfu people in our lives, we are so very, very lucky!
We are leaving on Saturday and you can track us. My plan is to write some more along the way and see if there is internet to share it with you over there 🙂
We have also enjoyed spending time with friends.