Hauling out Itchy Foot, and getting back in the water where we belong

Written by Mia:

We had many logistics talks about what to do when we would be away in the UK in the summer. Leaving Itchy Foot on her own is expensive and makes us nervous, especially in the summer in the Med. Jon did research, I did research, and even Jon’s dad did research. A few of the options were a marina in Valencia (good price, but far to go), subletting a spot in Palma (didn’t pan out), a mooring buoy in Andratx (not on the sheltered side and still expensive), we even thought about lending it to some sea worthy friends, but if turned out to be too much to plan with bad internet. In the end we decided to kill two birds with one stone and to have some work done at the same time which meant hauling her out in Puerto de Addaia. We met a handful of people with boats in the marina who have recommended the yard so while we were here last time Jon talked to Sebastian, their chief boat dude about the work.

We wrote about our TO DO list in a previous post: you might remember it was separated into tasks to complete before getting out of the water and stuff that needs to be done on land. The subcategories were also prioritised as we are learning that everything takes longer than we think it will. So, the priorities become important because some things NEED to be done and some stuff would just be nice to have done. Creating the list was stressful in itself because there are all kinds of questions, some examples: what do we do with the dinghy? where do we store the outboard? should we leave the water tanks empty or full? should be treat them with bleach? if we do, should we do that before we leave it empty or should we rather do it when we get back?

It was a solid two weeks of chores before we got to haul out day, with an additional two full days on land. We did some Spring cleaning and inventory work as well which would give us piece of mind while we are away. This is Spain after all and there is no room on the boat for both our family and cockroaches. We decided to get on the land a day early to give ourselves a little extra time to complete part of the second list.

When the time came, we were nervous! It was close quarters coming in, with just a narrow lane and no room to turn around. We could reverse but we have a strong prop-walk which really pulls starboard, which means we turn a lot to the left (the bow goes left, the stern goes right) before gaining steering. This means that it is really hard to manoeuvre if you need to turn the boat ‘the wrong way’. As we were pulling up to the dock where they would attach the crane, no one was there to meet us! Hearts in our throats, we waited and the guy came running, they work very hard here, and he must have been called away! We had had radio contact with him throughout the morning. They attached the belly bands and started to pick Itchy Foot our of the water. It was nerve wracking! And to make matters worse, the guys had to make about seven attempts to get up the incline. The guy working the crane is a bit of jokester and was just so cool about it all and the other guy was dropping treaded metal plates in front of the wheels of the crane to give it more traction. I was worried about Itchy Foot and his feet, too! They managed to get up the incline just to have a little of traffic crises with cars wanting to leave the parking lot, a delivery van and the crane hauling Itchy Foot in the middle of it all. We breathed big sigh of relief when she was all snuggled into her space on the hard.

It was a few hours before we could go back onboard and we sat in the marina cafe catching our breath and calming our nerves. They pressure cleaned the bottom, bye bye barnacles! Maybe this will make us a little quicker in the water… And found us a very long ladder so we could climb onboard. Because it is very high up, this is one of the things I list in the ‘outside my comfort zone’ column. We are happy that Teo has been using a climbing harness for security onboard because now we used it to get on and off the boat. It is a very strange feeling to stand on the deck and NOT have anything moving. It feels a bit like stepping onto an escalator which isn’t moving. Standing on our completely stationary deck gave the same lurching feeling. Once we got down below, we were happy that doors and lockers worked as they should. Sometimes, the hugs from the cranes are a little too tight!

Living on board while on land is hard. It’s hot, as there is no sea to keep you cool. There is no plumbing, so no sinks, water, toilets, nothing down the drains etc. Finally, our fridge is cooled by the sea water, so you can’t run it when on the land.

We had to carry water up and down a ladder, or haul it up on a line. We also bought ice to keep the fridge cool at least for a little while at a time and you also have to carefully plan bathroom trips because we didn’t want anyone rushing down a ladder that tall.  We also checked and double checked that we had all the things with us we would need for whatever we were doing to minimise those trips. All of this was eating into our finite pot of time.

And it is a lot warmer in a boat on land than when it is surrounded by water to cool it. And there are a LOT more mosquitos, so the first night we went to bed early to watch a movie under our mosquito net. We slept well and were ready for two intense days of working our way through the TO DO list. Teo helped a lot any time the hose could be used. We cleaned our fenders and cleaned and packed away Nemo (the dinghy) and the bimini. We checked the status of the seacocks, we cleaned out lockers to give access to the guys doing work while we are away, we wiped every surface in the boat with vinegar and water, twice probably. And we had extra stuff to do so the guys doing the work would have access. We had to empty lockers on deck so they would have access and room to work. But we also removed and stored all the clothes out of the lockers in the bedroom and dismantled the bed because we sleep above lots of important connections. Mucho trabajo.

The road to getting on the road was bumpy, for example:

To spice up the time line and to give you an idea of the stress. On the final day we got up early to make sure that the bedding was washed and dried so that we could store them. We got up early to make sure we got them done to find the door locked until 9am – that will be tight. I left a note and our laundry and was back at 8:45 to make sure I was first and there was a man who already jumped the queue. He had his laundry in the machine and had added detergent and I begged and pleaded and guilted him into letting us go first. Laundry wars are not something I thought would be high on my list of reasons to want to kill someone, but there you go.

We returned to Addaia on the 9th of August and on the 25th we were back in the water. In the mean time we have been borrowing a flat from some very generous new friends. We have been so lucky especially given that we looked for a place to live but everything is fully booked this time of the year. We have been so happy to stay in an adorable place with a separate bedroom for Teo and a pool. It has been a godsend to not have to climb that ladder every day and to allow Jon to leave things mid maintenance work and not have to put everything back together. So we raise a huge glass to Stuart and Anne, we don’t know what we would have done without them! As it turns out they will be crossing the atlantic on the same (later start) Rally that we a doing – so I’m sure we’ll see more of them.

Getting Itchy Foot back into the water went smoothly and we all felt immediately more at ease. It was still nerve wracking to see her up in that crane and the noises it makes…. crrrrrreeeeak crrrrrreeeeeeeeaaaaak  just don’t seem right, but we were well looked after. Martin, the man driving the crane in the marina, is cool as a cucumber. The lovely ladies in the office are great, including Mari who organised us a space in the marina and looked after Teo while we got tied up. Now, we’re back in the water and we can continue the work but live onboard more easily.

The final steps of our work is going to happen in the next few days and we’ll be very glad when it is all said and done. Mostly we just want to slip our lines and get back on the water – next stop mainland Spain and west as quick as the winds will carry us.

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